India's Finest Hour
The Times of India Mumbai|December 04, 2021
1971 liberation of Bangladesh saw Indira Gandhi and the military perfectly timing the intervention
Jayant Prasad

Pakistan ascribes its break-up and the creation of Bangladesh to India. This was not all. Bangladesh was the product of the ineptitude of Pakistan’s military establishment, the selfishness of West Pakistan’s political elite, the liberation struggle of the people of Bangladesh, and India’s brilliant military campaign.

India’s leadership was clear that the thrust of the effort in the liberation of Bangladesh had to be internal, even if the Indian army delivered the final coup de grace. The chief martial law administrator and commander of the eastern command of the Pakistan army, Lt Gen AAK ‘Tiger’ Niazi, surrendered to the joint command of the Indian army and the Mukti Bahini on the afternoon of December 16, 1971, almost to the hour on the 13th day of the War of Liberation of Bangladesh.

A year earlier, Pakistan’s first general election resulted in the Awami League winning 160 of the 300 seats in its National Assembly, compared to 81 of the Pakistan Peoples Party. President Yahya Khan called Sheikh Mujibur Rahman “the future prime minister of Pakistan” and ordered the convening of the National Assembly in Dhaka on March 3. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto promptly announced that the PPP would stay away from the National Assembly session. If any PPP parliamentarians did attend, Bhutto said he would see that their legs would be broken. Bhutto could not have become PM in a united Pakistan.

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