The Last Days Of United Pakistan

Mashuqur Rahman

Mashuqur Rahman

On December 16, 1971 the Pakistan army in Bangladesh unconditionally surrendered to the joint Indian and Bangladeshi forces. With the signing of the Instrument of Surrender, Bangladesh came into being and united Pakistan was at an end.

However, in Pakistan the state-controlled and censored media was in denial. The day after General Niazi of Pakistan had surrendered all 93,000 soldiers and paramilitary units under his command in Bangladesh and the guns had fallen silent in the East, the Dawn newspaper, published from Karachi, declared: “WAR TILL VICTORY”. The story of the Pakistani surrender was contained in one sentence of an article entitled “Fighting ends in East Wing: PAF hits in West”. The surrender was spun as follows:

Latest reports indicate that following an arrangement between the local commanders of India and Pakistan in the Eastern theatre, fighting has ceased in East Pakistan and Indian troops have entered Dacca.

While newspaper headlines around the world announced the surrender of the Pakistani army and the creation of Bangladesh, the Pakistani population were presented with an alternate reality. This alternate reality would continue for four more days until the collapse of the military regime of Yahya Khan. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the man who failed to win the prime ministership of a united Pakistan a year ago at the ballot box, would now take over as leader of the remaining wing of Pakistan.

Below are the front pages of the Dawn newspaper from December 4, 1971 to December 20, 1971. The headlines chronicle the unraveling of the false reality created by the military regime in the last days of united Pakistan. [Click the images for a PDF of the front page.]

December 4, 1971

India enters the war on December 3, 1971 to stop the genocide in Bangladesh.

December 5, 1971

December 6, 1971

December 7, 1971

December 8, 1971

December 9, 1971

December 10, 1971

December 11, 1971

December 12, 1971

December 13, 1971

December 14, 1971

December 15, 1971

The tone of the reporting changes, indicating for the first time that the war is not going well.

December 16, 1971

December 17, 1971

Pakistan army in Bangladesh unconditionally surrenders.

December 18, 1971

December 19, 1971

December 20, 1971

Yahya Khan’s government collapses and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto takes over in Pakistan.

Mashuqur Rahman [] is one of the highest read Bangladeshi-American bloggers. Critically acclaimed for his incisive analysis on Bangladesh, US foreign policy and dedicated advocacy of human rights.

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395 Responses to “The Last Days Of United Pakistan”

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    Shahidul Alam

    Thorough research and very important archive. Do you have the original documents? We have an archive which is maintained at low humidity and temperature for preserving valuable documents. Hopefully there will one day be a serious national archive where we can donate this material, without fear of things disappearing due to partisan histories being formed.

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    Shahidul bhai, thank you for doing the work of preserving our history. It is a shame we do not have a national archive – its a failure of government. As for the newspapers, I do not have the originals. The originals are stored at the Library of Congress. The Library has a wealth of documents relating to the Liberation War. These documents include East Pakistan and West Pakistan newspapers, political pamphlets, books, etc. I am slowly working my way through them in my research. I have a number of other newspaper articles and other documents that I am converting to PDF and uploading, but since I am a one-man team its taking some time. What I do have online can be viewed here. and at Genocide Bangladesh. Hopefully, in time, I should have a large set of researchable material online.

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    Tech bd

    I can not express my fellings.I hope if the Bangladeshi people become honest and aware.Our country will be more developed.

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    LOL at the Pakistani liars, just look at the increasingly crazy claims and then ends with a whimper. Ceasefire, yes, with Bangladesh and India (and the IAF) dominant everywhere. The Pakistani populace has been brainwashed into believing the most stupid lies about their incompetent services.

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    Einstein Wallah

    You should try to find out about whether or not Rahimuddin Khan passed a death sentence on Mujibur Rehman.

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