The Splitting of East-Pakistan from West-Pakistan in 1971: The Role of India

After the termination of British government in the Indian sub-continent (200 long-years) marked the birth of two nations-Pakistan, and India. Pakistan celebrate their independence on 14 August, 1947, and India celebrate their independence on 15 August, 1947. Pakistan had two parts one was East-Pakistan ( now is Bangladesh ) and West-Pakistan ( the current Pakistan in which we are living ); it was Muslim majority areas, 65 million people  were in East-Pakistan and 58 million people in West-Pakistan, 147610 square kilometers and 881913 square kilometers respectfully. India was Hindu majority area that get independence from British reign on 15 August, 1947.  During the partition Pakistan received very low resources and facilities from the Indian due to the dishonest distribution of resources and facilities and especially of man-power (skillful and educated people) had also gone on the Indian account. So on the initial stages Pakistan roots remain weak (Mansergh, Winter, 1965/1966).

As we know that Pakistan had two parts East-Pakistan and West-Pakistan which were separated by about 1000 miles;

there is a lot of reasons  about the separation of East-Pakistan from West-Pakistan, first reason was that East-Pakistan was very far away from West-Pakistan and all surrounded by Indian territory. The second reason is that these people have different culture and language although have similar religion. The third reason, West-Pakistani leaders have humiliated East-Pakistani in every aspect either that are resources or facilities, they discriminated East-Pakistani every time, they don’t have serious concerns to solve their problems; in which one of them is the 1970 “Bhola Cyclone” had caused the death of 500,000 people. In that Cyclone, infrastructure, transport, and other serves were totally damaged and the central government of Pakistan had blamed for the slow response and misuse of funds. The fourth and most important reason was the “War of Power” between “Zulfiqar Ali Butto” and “Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”. The fourth reason was very problematic and very huge that escalated the Indo-Pak 1971 War(story of Pakistan, multimedia journey, n.d.).

Political instability in East-Pakistan and people response

In Decembers 1970 Awami league win the remarkable victory and get clear majority with 160 in the National Assembly and 298 of the 310 seats in the provincial Assembly of East-Pakistan. The PPP won only 81 seats in the National Assembly, but were the winning party in Punjab and Sindh. By this majority the next Prime Minister was Sheikh Mujeeb Rahman but that’s didn’t happened because Butto don’t want to share power with Mujeeb. General Yahya Khan tried to share power between Butto and Mujeeb and they didn’t success. Actually they were pro Butto(story of Pakistan, multimedia journey, n.d.).

Due high level of chaotic and instable situation in East-Pakistan civil insurgency started against Pak-Army. Mukti Bahini and other guerrilla groups incentivized and trained by Indian Army against Pak-Army. Most of the East-Bengali military fled to India and joined Mukti Bahini and other several guerrilla groups and labeled themselves Bengali liberation force. On 25 March 1971 “Operation search light” was started by Pak-Army against the Bengali Nationalist movement, to curb them and arrested Sheikh Mujeeb Rahman and transferred into secret place; so that’s created a more chaotic and dangerous situation. Due to this act Bengali military and civil people joined Mukti Bhini like guerilla groups and showed a hard resistance to Pak-Army.

India Propaganda against Pakistan Army

It was the time to tackle accounts with Pakistan with huge cost. When people of East-Pakistan started hatred from West-Pakistan that created an uncertain situation and that uncertain situation was utilized by Indian Government very properly. They started diplomatic, political and economical and logistical support to the people of Eest-Pakistan. Mukti Bhini (the guerillas resistance movement) and several other guerilla forces were trained and equipped by Indian Army. For the defamation of Pak-Army Indian forces were wearing Pak-Army uniforms and raped Bengali women and girls. That’s type of acts created a lot of hates in the hearts of East-Pakistan people. In Mukti Bhini a lot of Indian career military officers and soldiers, they perform atrocities and massacre in the East-Pakistan and then blamed Pak-Army.A thousands of Awami league miscreants were trained and backed by RAW and Indian military. The guerilla movements became the “liberation of Bangladesh” from West-Pakistan. A lot of atrocities and genocides were done by Mukti Bhini, and Awami league miscreants and blamed Pak-Army for this acts. These all things were politically hijacked by Sheikh Mujeeb Rahman and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for its own personal interests (Mohammad Zubair Iqbal ,Shabir Hussain, 2018).

1971 War

It was direct confrontation between Indian and Pakistani Army. It was a full scale war. Due to the Mukti Bhini and Awami league miscreants local insurgency were on the top in East-Pakistan and Pakistani forces were trying to eliminate the insurgents. The environment was very favorable to foreign forces to intervene on the name of violation of human rights by Pak-Army in East-Pakistan. The war lasted just for just 13 days, and one of the shortest war in history. The military confrontation between India and Pakistan occurred from 3 December 1971 to the fall of Dhaka on 16 December 1971. It is estimated that between 300,000 and 3, 00,000 civilian were killed in Bangladesh and about 3900 Indian soldiers died, 9851 wounded and 93,000 Pakistani were taken “Prisoners of the War” but this figure is very suspicious some reports says that this figure is round about 34000 soldiers were taken Prisoners of War. In this war Pakistan suffered a lot of damages because Indian military had cut up the logistic line and blockade seas and Air-ways; that is the backbone of any Army in any war. There was none supply chain of ammunition, military soldiers and foods, everything was under controlled of unified forces of Mukti Bhini and Indian military. The reason of the loose of war, that Pakistani Army were surrounded from all sides by Indian military and guerilla forces and second reason Pak-Army were less in numbers compare 200,000 Indian Army. Citizens and intellectuals were main target of this mass genocide by Mukti Bhini and Indian Military. The fall of the city to the Indian Army on 16 December 1971 marked the creation of the independent state of Bangladesh. Dhaka became the capital of Bangladesh (JENKINS, july, 1974).


In this whole article I have reached on two points; the first is that whenever you behave your most friendly and dearest friend discriminately and dislikely that will turn down you and will behave you in the same manner like you have towards them. The second thing is that foreigners will take advantage of the situation. Its mean that third party will properly utilize your hostility for its own interests. So thoroughly never underestimate the power of a common and weak people they can create very big problem in the future. That’s all were happened in East-Pakistan. The result was separation of East-Pakistan from West-Pakistan.

Asfandiyar Khan
Asfandiyar Khan
MS. Student of IR Comsats University, Islamabad