Myth 1: In December 1971, Pakistan and India ‘fought a war’. Reality: War is a “state of armed conflict between two countries”. The reality is that Pakistan Army units in East Pakistan were not armed to fight a war. The reality is that Pakistan Army units were in East Pakistan on internal security duties. The reality is that Pakistan Army units were in East Pakistan to enforce the law.
Fact 1: Pakistan’s 9 Division had two 105mm guns and four 120mm mortars.
Fact 2: Pakistan’s 16 Division had eight tanks.
Fact 3: Pakistan Air Force in East Pakistan had a total of 12 F86Fs.
Fact 4: Pakistan Navy in East Pakistan comprised a few gunboats but no naval ship.
Myth 2: India entered the ‘war’ in December and India only provided some support to ‘liberation forces’.
Reality: In April 1971, Mrs Indira Gandhi ordered General Manekshaw to invade East Pakistan. General Manekshaw refused and said, “If you want me to go in now I can guarantee you 100 percent defeat, but if you give me some time I can guarantee you 100 percent success.”
Fact 5: In December 1971, India’s 4 Infantry Division, 9 Infantry Division, 20 Mountain Division, 6 Mountain Division, 8 Mountain Division, 57 Mountain Division and 23 Division invaded East Pakistan.
Fact 6: The total strength of Indian troops around East Pakistan stood at between 150,000 and 400,000 with an additional 100,000 Indian-trained Mukti Bahini.
Fact 7: The Indian air force deployed four Hunter Squadrons, one Sukhoi Squadron, three Gnat Squadrons and three MiG-21 Squadrons.
Fact 8: The Indian navy deployed Aircraft Carrier Vikrant comprising 47 aircraft, eight destroyers, two submarines and three landing ship tanks.
Myth 3: A total of ‘93,000 Pakistani soldiers’ were taken as prisoners.
Fact 9: As of March 1971, the total strength of Pakistani army troops posted in East Pakistan stood at 12,000. As of December 16, 1971, the total strength of the Pakistani army troops posted in East Pakistan stood at 34,000. Of the 34,000 troops only 23,000 were infantry.
Myth 4: Some ‘three million’ died or were killed.
Fact 10: In 1972, the Ministry of Home Affairs of Bangladesh reported that a total of “2,000 complaints of deaths were filed”. And of the 2,000 complaints filed at the Ministry of Home Affairs of Bangladesh dozens accused the Mukti Bahini. Imagine: killing three million in 262 days would mean killing 11,450 a day every day.
“A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.” – James Feibleman
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad.
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @saleemfarrukh
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