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Biggest surrender publicly made in 1971

Updated on March 15, 2015

When Gen Niazi Surrendered

The Reasons of the War

  • Pakistan’s army was involved in an operation against such factors who were challenging the writ of the government due to this the sympathies of local people were not with the armed forces.
  • Due to the expenditure on the development of West wing the budget allocated to the East wing was affected.
  • People of East Pakistan had a minute share in government jobs, civil sector and in military forces too.
  • West Pakistan’s culture was always given priority over the Eastern wings culture and traditions.
  • There was a dispute over the national language.
  • Political instability and political interests also proved to be a massive factor.

Glimpse of Battle

Challenges for Pakistan Army

  • The eastern wing of Pakistan’s military was hugely outnumbered, they were clearly not up for the ground battle against the Indian army. Pakistan army on the other hand had only 1armoured unit, 4 infantry divisions and 2 service brigades.
  • Indian army had done their preparations across the border whereas Gen Niazi, even in his wildest dream was not anticipating an Indian invasion on the Eastern wing.
  • Pakistan’s military government under General Yahiya khan was facing political and economic crisis.
  • Supplies were cut down and it was impossible to supply the ammunition and required things to the military forces in the East Pakistan.
  • Pakistan’s higher military leadership was indulged in such ethical and moral issues which were never brought to justice.

Lack of Air Support

In the Eastern wing of the country, Pakistan had only one squadron. There was a single military base for the air force. Only12 fighter planes, Saber F-86 were available to the air force. On the other had Indian air force had installed 10 squadrons up against Pakistan’s single air force squadron. During the operation led by Pakistan army, Air force had provided effective support and in doing so 3 of 12 planes were down for service. In the mean time during the war Pakistan’s Air Force was left with only 9 planes to deal with 10 Indian squadrons.

Role of Yahiya Khan

Yahiya khan the chief martial law administrator at that time conducted free and fair elections in the country to shift the power from military dictators to the elected members of the country. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party had won 86 out of 88 seats of national assembly where as Sheikh Mujib’s Awami League had won 166 seats out of 168. Now Bhutto had his own political interest and he was not interested in formation of assembly with a Bengali Prime Minister. On the other hand Sheikh Mujib wanted to make the government as he had won the majority in the Eastern wing. Yahiya had already abolished the one unit system. Yahiya could have asked Sheikh Mujib to make the coalition government with Prime Minister from the Awami league, but sadly he did not.

The Deadly War of 1971

Indian armed forces in collaboration with the Hindu extremist and terrorist group Mukti Bahni started a guerilla strikes inside the Pakistani territory. On 3rd December they marched inside the Pakistani territory. Indian armed forces had realized that Dacca was the military hub of East Pakistan and if they are to break the back bone of Pakistani military they had to invade the city. Pakistan army was left helpless as General Niazi was hopeless. Pakistan’s military commander in chief had written to Gen Niazi that he should keep fighting as Pakistan’s case is in UNO. If he feels that there is great risk to keep the lives of soldiers at stake, he may go for the surrender. It is estimated that General A.k.Niazi had about 264,000 soldiers at his side. If he had not surrendered Indian army required at least two weeks to gather and assemble their forces around the city of Dacca and that could have given Pakistan enough time to plead their case in UNO but General Niazi was demoralized, he had given up he chose to flee away instead of fighting. Who knows he could have been a national hero if he had not surrendered.

Instrument of Surrender of the Pakistan Eastern Command to Bangladesh-India Allied Forces on December 16, 1971.


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