THIS is with reference to the article ‘From behind the barbed wire’ (Dec 16). Narrating the experiences of one retired major who spent time in an Indian prisoner of war camp in 1972-73, the article states that the Fall of Dhaka “… resulted in the surrender of almost 93,000 Pakistani army men stationed there …”

The figure of 93,000 army troops is repeated in the same article later on. It is most unfortunate that this figure of 93,000 ‘soldiers/troops’ is repeated and published frequently without verification of the actual record.

The incorrect figure builds a completely misleading impression. Even an advertisement published a few months ago in Dawn by the Sindh government gave the wrong figure.

The fact is that the total strength of the Pakistan army troops posted in East Pakistan as of December 16, 1971, was only about 34,000. With the addition of Rangers, scouts, militia and civil police, the total strength of personnel deployed to defend East Pakistan was only 45,000.

Whereas arrayed against this relatively small force dispersed across East Pakistan, was the much larger Indian deployment of over 150,000 troops/forces in different formations encircling East Pakistan from three sides with the additional support of about tens of thousands of Mukti Bahni. They outnumbered Pakistani troops by more than 5:1. Pakistani troops were over 2,000 miles distant by air and sea from supply sources in West Pakistan with India having banned overland flights in February 1971. Pakistani troops were severely under-equipped and under-supported by small units of the air force and navy. But the military mismatch dimension is another story altogether, requiring separate reflection.

While it is correct that the total number of Pakistani PoWs held by India after December 16, 1971, was about 90,000 plus, about 55,000 of these PoWs were civilians from West Pakistan, both official and non-official, and included families, businessmen and others, who were not armed and did not enter into combat with Indian troops.

The accuracy of the figures can be verified by the data cited in several books on the 1971 tragedy published by reputed foreign and Pakistani scholars and writers, including first-hand accounts by army officers.

JAVED JABBAR Karachi

More From This Section

Afghan election: a people’s victory

AFGHAN election, on April 5, was a day of triumph for all Afghans, including women, who played their due role with...

Ending power crisis

Energy resources are the backbone of economic development of any country. Pakistan has been facing the problem of...

Waste-to-energy

THIS is apropos Khunsha Khalid’s letter ‘Waste-to-energy’ (March 28) and mixed comments thereon by some...

CCI and Sindh

THE Chamber of Commerce and Industries’ meeting was recently held at which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried to...


Comments are closed.

Comments (1)

mukhtar
December 23, 2012 11:41 am
Thanks that someone cares to put the record straight. All of those who know the reality that there was no fault of Pakistan army officers and soldiers and they were helpless in front of conspiracies should reveal the truth.
Explore: Indian elections 2014
Explore: Indian elections 2014
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
How much do you know about Indian Elections?
Cartoons
E-PAPER
Front Page