By Asraful Huq, Mahmudul Hasan Raju
DHAKA, March 1, 2016 (BSS)- Having attacked innocent Bengalis with brutal military might and barbarically slaughtering them all throughout what was then Pakistan's former eastern wing, the Pakistan junta felt it needed to bolster its act by anteing up its propaganda
One international journalist summed up the situation, succinctly "Gen Yahya has thus lost the first round in the diplomatic battle over Bangladesh."
But as Islamabad's predicament became more and more serious, a handful of apologists and defenders of Pakistan were obliged to become active in performing the unenviable task of rationalizing their government policy towards East Bengal.
One such apologist was part-time writer and member, Pakistan Foreign Service, I Gondal. In an article published in the International Herald Tribune of July 19, 1971, this sycophant concluded that "the people of East Pakistan were never and are not now for an independent Bangla Desh."
Spat came the reply in the person of a Bengali journalist Rafique Anwar, then stationed in the Vietnamese city of Saigon.
In an article "A Bengali Viewpoint: Yahya Faces Bitter Choice" in the Paris-based Herald Tribune of August 9, 1971, Anwar wrote, "It seems he is more certain of what the people of East Bengal want than even his president who is still forced to keep as many as five divisions of his army to maintain law and order in the war-torn province, station West Pakistani civil servants to operate some kind of an administration, bring in laborers and porters from the Western wing to clear the cargo in the port of Chittagong and fail to run the train service between Dacca and Chittagong."
"There is, of course, a simple way of putting Mr. Gondal's claim to a test. Let Yahya Khan release Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other Awami League leaders, withdraw his troops from East Bengal and permit an internationally supervised referendum on the question of independence to be held in province," the article said.
"And let him, for God's sake, accept the verdict. I know for certain that the provincial government of Bangla Desh can be persuaded to accept this solution. But will Yahya Khan do the same? Or will he try to resurrect the myth that the East Bengal crisis is only an internal matter?" Anwar concluded.