Here is a series of events, statements and conversations made during the fag end of the 1971 Liberation War when Bangladesh was winning the nine-month-long war against West Pakistan.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto makes an agitated speech
at the UN Security Council.
So what if Dacca falls? So what if the whole of East Pakistan falls? So what if the whole of West Pakistan falls? We will build a new Pakistan. We will build a better Pakistan … We will fight for a thousand years
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Bhutto walks out of UNSC meeting[/caption]
Afterwards, he tears up his notes and walks out.
Nixon, Kissinger discuss Soviet president's letter
Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev said in a letter: “The Soviet Union guarantees there will be no military action against West Pakistan.”
Telegram from the Consulate General in Dacca to the Department of State
“I have been informed by Governor Malik and General Farman Ali that President Yahya Khan strongly desires to put an end to hostilities in EP. For this purpose he wishes to arrange with the Indian Govt an immediate cease-fire period of at least two hours in which discussions for this purpose can take place between the military commanders concerned. The President desires honourable conditions for Pakistani troops and protection of civilians.”
Memo from Kissinger to Nixon
“Foreign Minister Bhutto declined to pass General Niazi’s cease-fire proposal to the Indians in New York, so our UN mission was instructed to communicate it to Foreign Minister Singh, and subsequently Ambassador Keating was instructed to pass its text to Mrs Gandhi’s secretary, Haksar. In this as in the negotiations on the Security Council resolution, Bhutto is apparently being careful to sidestep onus for the surrender of East Pakistan. Meanwhile, latest Indian reports indicate that Dacca is receiving heavy artillery fire, and three Indian columns have advanced to within a few miles of Dacca where they are preparing for attack.
Our carrier task force is transiting the Straits of Malacca and should arrive at a point near the centre of the base of the Bay of Bengal this [December 13] evening. Rumours about this move are already widespread in the area where they are being combined with stories that the US is considering military assistance to Pakistan.
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Richard Nixon (L) and Henry Kissinger (R)[/caption]
The Niazi Cease-fire Proposal
“In order to save future loss of innocent human lives which would inevitably result from further hostilities in the major cities like Dacca, I request you to arrange for an immediate cease-fire under the following conditions:
(a) Regrouping of Pakistan armed forces in designated areas to be mutually agreed upon between the commanders of the opposing forces;
(b) To guarantee the safety of all military and paramilitary forces;
(c) Safety of all those who had settled in East Pakistan since 1947;
(d) No reprisals against those who helped the administration since March 1971.
In those conditions, the Pakistan armed forces and paramilitary forces would immediately cease all military operations.
Response to Niazi cease-fire by General Manekshaw
“I had previously informed General Farman Ali in two messages that I would guarantee (a) the safety of all your military and paramilitary forces who surrender to me in Bangla Desh [sic]. (b) Complete protection to foreign nations, ethnic minorities and personnel of West Pakistan no matter who they may be. Since you have indicated your desire to stop fighting I expect you to issue orders to all forces under your command in Bangla Desh [sic] to cease-fire immediately and surrender to my advancing forces wherever they are located.
“Immediately I receive a positive response from you I shall direct General Aurorea [sic] the commander of Indian and Bangla Desh [sic] forces in the Eastern theatre to refrain from all air and ground action against your forces. As a token of my good faith I have ordered that no air action shall take place over Dacca from 1700 hours today.
“I assure you I have no desire to inflict unnecessary casualties on your troops as I abhor loss of human lives.”
Letter from Indian Ambassador to the UN Lakshmi Kant Jha to President Nixon
The tragic war, which is continuing, could have been averted if during the nine months prior to Pakistan’s attack on us on December 3, the great leaders of the world had paid some attention to the fact of revolt, tried to see the reality of the situation and searched for a genuine basis for reconciliation.
"Our earnest plea that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman should be released, or that, even if he were to be kept under detention, contact with him might be established, was not considered practical on the ground that the US could not urge policies which might lead to the overthrow of President Yahya Khan.
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Lakshmi Kant Jha[/caption]
“We are asked what we want. We seek nothing for ourselves. We do not want any territory of what was East Pakistan and now constitutes Bangla Desh [sic]. We do not want any territory of West Pakistan.”
Pakistani Commander Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi surrenders to Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, the commander of the Joint Forces, at the same Ramna Race Course where Sheikh Mujib had made his historic call for independence only nine months and nine days earlier. As a symbol of surrender, Niazi also handed over his revolver to Lt Gen Aurora.
More than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers are taken prisoner of war by Indian forces. The president of Bangladesh is Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is still in prison somewhere in West Pakistan where he is denied all information about the outside world. He knows nothing of the bloodshed that has preceded the creation of his state.
People begin their search for the remains of the missing ones at numerous execution grounds and massgrave sites around the country.
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi speaking at Lok Sabha hailed Dacca as “the free capital of a free country.” At the same time, the Indian Government announced a cease-fire on the front between India and West Pakistan to take effect the following day. In making the announcement a government spokesman stated that India had no territorial ambitions in the conflict.