To this day most Pakistani generals remain unconvinced that their attitudes toward the Bengali population of their country were wrong, and they offer various explanations for the military's excessive violence against the Bengalis. "Secessionist Awami Leaguers", "Hindu conspiration", "anti-Pakistani Bengalis", "anti-Islamic Bengalis", "separatist movement", "pre-emptive strikes on Pakistani supporters", etc. However, looking beyond the intention of the Bengalis, it is evidently clear - and even admitted by the staunchest Pakistani supporters and Bengali critics - that the attack on the Bengalis by the Pakistani militia was premeditated, grossly violent and large scale. Ample proof has been provided throughout this website of a countrywide genocide by Pakistani officers supported by anti-Bengali elements.
When the leader of the nation openly declares to "kill 3 million" so the rest can "live off their hand" and army generals motivate and encourage young men with blind, patriotic zeal to rape, loot, and kill "to teach those bastard Bengalis a lesson" the question remains - how difficult is it to kill 3 million when they have full license to kill?
We never treated Bengalis equally and let me say that even today we think we are superior to them. You might have heard people making fun of a weak and poor person by calling him Bengali. What we reaped in '71 was just what we had sown.
In 1981, on the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) stated that the genocide committed in Bangladesh in 1971 was the worst in history. According to the report an average of 6,000 - 12,000 people were killed every single day, making it the highest daily average in the history of genocide. This carnage took place over a period of 267 days (from the night of 25 March 1971 to the surrender on 16 December 1971).
This meant, according to the UN's estimates, that between 1.6 million (6,000 x 267) and 3.2 million (12,000 x 267) people were killed during the nine months. If we take an average of these two figures then we get 2.4 million.
A quick calculation based on population reveals some stark truths.
In 1971, there were 75 million people in Bangladesh. An average family size was around 5 at the time - thus there were approximately 15 million families (75/5).
Taking the UN's average killing figure of 2.4 million, this meant that the number of people killed in a family was 0.16 (2.4/15) - that is, at least one person was killed in a family.
The number of families affected with at least one family member killed was 6.4 million (15/75) - that is, approximately 43% of families had a member killed. However, during the Muktijuddho there were thousands of families who lost more than one member. In some instances, whole family was wiped out. If these facts are taken into consideration then the average percentage (43%) would change.
It may be appreciated that no Army in the world can mathematically regulate its firing, particularly when emotions are high and risk to life grave. No state machinery has ever dealt with secessionists gently. Rather, all secessionist movements, or even dissent, or terrorism, or so-called evil states were crushed ruthlessly with all the power at the command of the state. This goes for civilized world as well. Although this is not the best solution, but the sad part is that violence has always been and still is being dealt by force.
If instead of population we take Pakistani army personnel into count then the statistics are even more alarming.
During 1971 there were over 90,000 Pakistani soldiers in Bangladesh. Professionals who were trained and armed.
If again we take UN's average of 2.4 million killed in Bangladesh, then this meant on average one Pakistani soldier killed 26 people (2.4 million / 90,000) throughout the nine months (or 267 days) campaign - an average of 0.1 person a day. That is, one Pakistani soldier killed at least one Bengali every ten days.
This figure does not include the 110,000 Razakars who also participated in the mass killing along with the Pakistani army, and thus compensate for the fact that 90,000 Pakistani soldiers were not present from the start.
How impossible is it then for a professionally trained, highly armed Pakistani soldier to kill a Bengali equipped with basic armoury every 10 days? Does a figure of 3 million now become so 'bloated', 'mythological' and unbelievable?
The human death toll over only 267 days was incredible. Just to give for 5 out of 18 districts some incomplete statistics published in Bangladesh newspapers or by an Inquiry Committee, the Pakistani army killed 100,000 Bengalis in Dhaka, 150,000 in Khulna, 75,000 in Jessore, 95,000 in Comilla, and 100,000 in Chittagong. For 18 districts the total is 1,247,000 killed. This was an incomplete toll, and to this day no one really knows the final toll.
R. J. Rummel, author of "Death by Government" (1994)
In fact, the September 1972 issue of National Geographic clearly writes that more than 3 million people were killed in Bangladesh. This fact was revealed almost after a year of the carnage. Therefore, the records are surely more authentic and free from bias.
A quick scan of events post 1947's creation of Pakistan and analysis of political and social problems faced by the Bengalis provides plenty of evidence of West Pakistan-based central government's plot to rule East Pakistan by force. From the struggle and humiliation endured to recognise Bangla as a state language, given that it was spoken by the majority of Pakistanis, to the false and fictitious charges brought against Bengali politicians by the Pakistani authority at the end of the 1960s, to the callousness shown during a severe famine and finally culminating in the undemocratic and ruthless attitude by the Pakistani rulers after the general election of 1970, it is clear that Bengalis were subjugated and considered severely inferior. Bengali accusation of Pakistani colonialism therefore has merit.
The ongoing insurgency in Baluchistan region today and the treatment of Baluchis by the Pakistan army shows that Pakistani power elite have learnt very little from their 1971 rampage in Bangladesh. Even today with the great advancement in mass media and greater international scrutiny the Pakistani Army continue to suppress the provincial autonomy of the Baluchis with a cold menace. Just imagine then their ferocity in 1971 when they were totally free from such constraints and were even supported by two global powerhouses in the form of USA and China. Therefore, is it unfair to describe trained military men as demons and monsters when they suddenly attack unarmed civilians with machine guns and tanks at midnight?
Most of the leading figures in the Pakistan military during that period have written memoirs blaming each other for cowardice, lack of strategic thinking, or excessive use of force.
Using similar population data extraction technique as those employed by the researchers at Cholera Research Laboratory in Dhaka, Mofidul Hoque, a publisher, respected war crimes activist and trustee of Muktijudho Jadughar, estimated there was a high probability of 3 million Bengalis being killed. Mofidul Hoque pointed to the census data of June 1969 which estimated the population to have been 69.8 million with a growth rate of 2.8%. At this rate the population in 1974 should have been 80.1 million but the actual count was 76.4 million - a deficit of 3.7 million. According to Mofidul Hoque, the great number of missing persons indicate "the estimate of three million deaths in Bangladesh genocide was not an exaggerated figure". Pakistani army tried to bludgeon the citizens of its eastern province into renouncing their dreams of self-rule. Failing to do that, they have gone on charm offensive to portray themselves in the honourable, just-trying-to-do-our-duty image that they naturally prefer to convey.
However, there could've been a number of other factors which could explain the 3.7 million deficit - for example, migration abroad, death from illness, depressed fertility, death from famine and other natural disasters, etc.
They denied everything, the atrocity and everything. They kept on saying that they would not forget the humiliation and would take 'badla' (revenge).
[Bengali] Victims had to walk in head bowed position. In the heart of the heart they were like withered leaves, fallen on ground, lifeless - everyone could walk on them. Self pity and self-persecution has haunted all of them. They do not clearly understand why out of all they were the ones been targeted; what was their fault? Common people do not understand why some pay the price of freedom. Nobody understands the tragedy that extinguished the free air of a rape victim. They only understand that they are in an endless abyss.
As no remedy could be provided to the victims, restoration of normal social life for them was impossible. Opportunity for moral and democratic reconstruction of the society was also lost. In this way, by not delivering justice, the society has been plunged into disarray.
In essence, the impunity has turned the society relatively tolerant to crime and infected it with arrogance of power. Absorption of crime of the perpetrators has changed the mindset of the society. There is confusion in the concept of peace and there is permanent casualty of our values. As a nation, we have lost our pride and honor. People have lost confidence in justice and nation is suffering from identity crisis. When our conscience is traumatized, a defeated attitude has taken hold of the psyche of the nation.
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