Atrocities in Bangladesh and Iraq, A One Sided Story. By Bishop Major (Retired) Timotheus Nasir, Pakistan Army Regular Reserve Officer,
10 May 2004
I read the article of Dr. Stephen Gill with great interest. However what all is narrated is only one side of the coin. With due respect to Dr. Stephen Gill, I dare say that I being a soldier do not agree with his story of so-called “Atrocities&
I shall take up the matter of various acts of “men in uniform” any where in the world during an ongoing armed struggle. First I shall take up the media role in situations like that. I am very positive that if such stories are not concocted no one will buy these “dramatic and sensational” stories. Ever since I started studying “war” back in November 1962, the Sino Indian war in NEFA (North East Frontier Agency) and in Ladakh on North Western mountainous area bordering with Kashmir, I am reading such one sided these stories by “print and electronic media. (In 1962 we had only “Radio” as electronic media). Media over the years has become a source of healthy income. In year 2002 the Wall Street Journal’s Mr. Daniel Pearl lost his life in search of a sensational story. Had he succeeded to interview some Al-Quiada people, reportedly hiding in Karachi, he would have been a millionaire. Only yesterday on 11th May the private T. V. channels of Pakistan painted such a bleak picture of Pakistan. They started with Mr. Shabaz Sharif from London to Lahore to find a story that could damage the image of Pakistan all over the world. Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad the Federal Minister for Information openly stated on “ARYOne” and “Geo T.V” have been bought by the Shareef family. Yet both the channels did not deny his statement. Media has always played a negative role even on very small issues. I don’t know about others but I do not trust any sort of Media.
What happened in East Pakistan from March 1971 to December 1971 was reported wrongly by Western Media. In March 1971 Pakistan army was deployed firstly to help rescue the great disaster of “cyclone” and on “Election Duty” along with Bengali Regiment, the “East Bengal Regiment”. In march 1971 it was “EBR” that started a rebellion. In Chitagong then Major Zia-ur-Rehamn (Later General Zia-ur-Rehman assassinated by General Manzor then Major, in May 1981 in the same rest house and in the same rest house where he picked up the gun against Pakistan. Few hours General Manzor was also killed the same day at the same plasce) and Major Manzor started killing of West Pakistani soldiers. Soon this spread all over East Pakistan and what happened with officers, JCOs and Jawans from West Pakistan and their families was “THE GENOCIDE”. These men women and children of Pakistan army were killed with without mercy and their blood was collected in “drums”. Women had their breast cut off. They were raped by Bengali gangs. Most of them never recovered from this shock and became permanently mentally ill. There were pictures and photographs of Bengali rebels with “cut off heads” of Pakistani soldiers. They carried them by holding them from their hair. Those who were captured were killed and who were captured by the infiltrated Indian Army were tortured. Capt Nawaz was captured by the “Mukti Bahni” (Salvation Army). He was beaten and was taken from village to village before killing him. However he escaped the death at the hands of “Mukti Bahni” when he was taken as “prisoner or War” before the war really broke out between India and Pakistan in last week of November 1971 in East Pakistan and 3rd of December 1971 in West. Capt Nawaz lost his hair and was completely “bold” when he was repatriated in 1973. Capt Mujahid was killed by his own old friend and his body was mutilated by Bengali miscreants. Havaldar Khadam Hussain’s limbs were cut off with an ax and his neck with a saw. There are hundreds and thousands Nawaz, Mujahid and Khadam Hussains and their families who never retuned alive from East Pakistan. In Dacca “Pultan Maidan” was full of West Pakistani soldiers and civilian bodies that were dumped there. The Bengali Mukti Bahni wrote such a tale of brutality that the Nazis might have felt ashamed. What I have written is from the reports that were released by the Bangladesh Army with photographs. Yes the Pakistani army also killed lot of Bengali miscreants, they might have been brutalized by Pakistan army. But I ask the “angels” of world press, did they ever report on brutalities against the Pakistan military and West Pakistani civilians in what is now Bangladesh? The situation that was in March and April 1971, it was the moral duty of Pakistan army to stop and crush such criminals. They did and they did the way it is done in every war any where in the world throughout human history.
The situation is in Iraq. I could not understand the American President and British Prime Minister what they have apologized for? It is not Republican Party Convention going on in Iraq, it is a war. Prisoners of War or POWs are taken and interrogated. This is normal course of action in any army. To extract useful information from the enemy, various methods are used. Prisoners are tortured and not treated as guests. Their weaknesses are “exploited” to achieve the goal of invasion or war. What is the big deal that the whole Western Press is making it such a big issue. These are the normalities of war. Geneva Convention comes in when the captures of a prisoner of war feel they can not find any useful information on enemy. Please ask American prisoners of war in WW I, WW II, Vietnam Cambodia and Korea if they are still alive. What about MIAs in Vietnam? Ask American and British prisoners of war the way they were treated by Japanese in Pacific war. Also I shall wait for a report on the American and British prisoners of war held in captivity by Iraqi fighters.
With due respect for Dr. Stephen Gill, war is an entirely different business and media earns its bread and butter from concocting such stories. If they don’t their News Papers, Radios and Television Channels will be closed. Let me warn the world that the media is painting a very bleak and horrible picture of their armies. It is a “Mafia” that blackmails every one for every thing. This will affect the moral of American and British soldiers fighting a difficult war away from their homes and families. They need moral support of the people of America and the United Kingdom. Disappointed by their own people and governments, facing “court martial” may take them to a point of disappointment where they might lay down their arms. A soldier fights and gives his life for the best interest of his country and people. If his people back off, they will not face death in desert and why should they? If they know that they are required to be models of decency and polity, why should they wear heavy uniforms. Why should they live in jungles and deserts and face all hardship to protect the far reaching interests of their people. I am sorry Dr. Stephen Gill Sahib, but I must say that a “Civilian” can not imagine the hardships of a soldier and his state of mind while at constant state of war. Where death is only a “bullet “away. That means in constant fear of death at the hands of his/her enemies what to talk of his/her friends back home. I have heard people saying, well the soldier is paid for it. Yes he/she is paid to die, yet would a civilian switch over his job with a soldier and see that no one gives his life for any amount of money, only a soldier does. I wish I could give the command of troops to Dr. Stephen Gill in tribal area here in Pakistan and after the operation is over ask him what did he feel and who should apologize to whom and for what?
I seek apology of all my friends who may be annoyed by the first hand experience that I have of soldiering. But this is a hard fact. Believe it or not.