In the name of ‘Freedom of Speech’
By Syeda Qudsiya Mashhadi
A great Muslim Mujahid, pride of Pakistan, Air Commodore M. M. Alam departed from this corporeal life on 18th March 2013 at the age of 78. He was born on 6th July, 1935 in a well-educated family of Calcutta, British India. After completing his secondary education from Government High School, Dhaka, in 1951, M. M. Alam joined PAF in 1952 and was granted commission on 2nd of October, 1953. A hero of the 1965 Pakistan-India war, M.M. Alam, downed nine war planes in the aerial fighting. His record remains unbeaten. 7th September 1965 was the day when M. M. Alam rewrote the history of Air Warfare by setting new records while defending Pakistan’s Airspace against the aggressors. He shot down 5 Hawker Hunter fighters of Indian Air Force, in air-to-air combat by shooting down five Indian aircrafts in less than sixty seconds, the first four within a span of 30 seconds only. For such an awe inspiring feat of gallantry, M. M. Alam was awarded Sitara-e-Jurrat and also became the first and only “Jet Ace” in one mission. He retired in 1982 as an Air Commodore.
I never had the honour of meeting the great soul that M. M. Alam was, but what I learned about him from the people who had been close to him made me realize that he was not just a war hero as we have been brought up to believe. An acquaintance of M. M. Alam said about him, “M. M. Alam is a dervesh and a faqeer whose dua for Pakistan is accepted with Allah (swt).” This is the religious and spiritual dimension of M. M. Alam that we rarely see people writing about. Once M. M. Alam was asked about the secret of Allah’s special blessing on him; the reason he was given great respect and honour due to his monumental feats. M. M. Alam replied that for him PAF and Pakistan were his Ishq [true love]; it was not just a job for him. Even during Ramazan, in the scorching heat of the afternoon, he would sit inside his plane practicing aiming the guns so that he would not miss a single fire when the time came. It is a fact, that whoever has truly loved this Pak Sarzameen and done his duty to the utmost, Allah has given him glory here and in the hereafter. With the limited fire-power of his Sabre F-86, he shot down 5 planes in a minute. Such feats are only possible when you are zeroing your guns in unbearable heat, discarding all the comfort. This is true Ishq and Junoon which brings great honour and glory.
He was a humble person and he never let fame and success swell his head, if anything it increased his humility and faith in the Almighty. Once when a student [Aqib Khalique] asked him to explain to the young generation of today how he managed to shoot down five enemy aircraft during a dogfight in less than a minute, which is a world record to date, M. M. Alam sahib replied:
“I don’t like praising myself but I will just like to say that it was just the sheer motivation, determination and utmost courage in me and my fellows which gave us the power to tackle an enemy much larger than us in every proportion. In array of gunshots and thundering of bombs we just didn’t know how to stop. There was something pumping inside our hearts known as honour.”
When he was asked about the difference between today’s generation and the one that created this ideological state, he said:
“The difference is massive. At the time we and as an individual me too had an inspiration, an invisible belief, extreme determination and a sense of upheaval that whether we live or die we will create Pakistan. We had a vision for Pakistan and for us it was like something we dreamed of day in and night out, Pakistan was and is and will always remain the name of an ideology, a dream, a wish and an aspiration that drives and accelerated the thoughts of masses.
At that time me and my young fellows aspired to join the armed forces or the civil service of Pakistan unlike today’s youngsters who wish to be a part of some international firm situated outside this great land. Our youth as a whole is confused and divided today among ethical and social lines. The generation belonging to the elite class generally doesn’t think about this country and are more busy in improving their personal lives, furthermore those living under the poverty line fight a battle every day for a chunk of meal which they shouldn’t be blamed for. We are in need of a change like never before. A REVOLUTION!”
He believed that every single Pakistani was responsible for Pakistan’s destiny and had to work towards achieving that noble objective. He said:
“Revolutions and major changes across this globe have always been brought by those who had an empty belly or half-filled one, so I expect the middle class youth of today to bring that long awaited shift. But that doesn’t mean that young people of upper class and others can’t work or don’t possess the abilities to be a part of that. They have much more resources then those who are inferior to them in many ways. I am not against students going abroad for further studies as even our religion has ordained us to do whatever is takes to gain knowledge.
0.1 Million Chinese study in American universities but did that make them American? Did that cause them to stop thinking about their nation? The answer is surprisingly NO. They come back to their homeland to contribute in whatever way possible. Every single one of us should first try to be a better Pakistani and must pledge not to contribute in any action against morality. Be it voting for a corrupt leader on ethical grounds or compromising your national interest for the sake of your own interest in any way.
“There might be hundreds of innate leaders present in today’s society of ours but the only thing that’s lacking is the courage to speak against evil. We should have it, not having which might cause us to lose the freedom that we as a nation possess today.”
When the student asked him what message he would like to give to the young generation and what would he predict about the future of the great state, Pakistan, he replied:
“I will like to conclude by saying that our younger generation has more potential and the resources as compared to the youth of 1947 when Pakistan was created but the only thing lacking is sheer willpower to make a change. They must make a difference on every level possible. We only need the right intentions to make a difference and the political leadership which we could easily find in our own general populace.
How is that possible that we fail at finding a bunch of honest people? Pakistan was made for a reason; it consumed more than a million lives and countless loss of belongings in the creation of it. I just cannot believe that it will be destroyed or whatever the West’s propaganda is about its future.
It will survive and a revolution will come and this corrupt, ruthless and brutal elite will be overthrown by the masses. Justice will prevail InshaAllah, hopelessness is disbelief according to our religion. The younger generation should care about the country that has provided them with all the well-being and freedom of action that they have today. Our youth must rise as it’s now or never. It’s up to them to decide whether they select to be buried among those people who got demolished due to their hibernation.”
What beautiful words indeed! InshaAllah we will make Pakistan what M. M. Alam had envisioned it to be.
Pakistan Zindabaad! Pak Armed Forces Paindabaad!
Even after forty years, Bengalis in Muslim Bengal are going through the continuation of same civil war that the rest of country went through.
Even after four decades, the Awami League is still conducting programs against pro-Pakistan masses. Today all of Bangladesh is holding a country-wide “hartal” to protest the prosecution of those who the Awami League thinks supported Pakistan or still support Pakistan.
Indian Support of Mukti Bahini Guerrillas (Documents from the U.S. National Archives)
The National Archives support what Sarmila Bose and the Hamood Ur Rehman Commission have written:
See also The Report of the Commission of Inquiry – 1971 War declassified by the government of Pakistan. Paul Wolf, 2003-2004. No copyright to original government works. For educational use only.
Dead Reckoning by Sarmila Bose: This ground-breaking book chronicles the 1971 war in South Asia by reconstituting the memories of those on opposing sides of the conflict. 1971 was marked by a bitter civil war within Pakistan and war between India and Pakistan, backed respectively by the Soviet Union and the United States. It was fought over the territory of East Pakistan, which seceded to become Bangladesh. Through a detailed investigation of events on the ground, Sarmila Bose contextualises and humanises the war while analysing what the events reveal about the nature of the conflict itself. The story of 1971 has so far been dominated by the narrative of the victorious side. All parties to the war are still largely imprisoned by wartime partisan mythologies. Bose reconstructs events via interviews conducted in Bangladesh and Pakistan, published and unpublished reminiscences in Bengali and English of participants on all sides, official documents, foreign media reports and other sources. Her book challenges assumptions about the nature of the conflict, and exposes the ways in which the 1971 war is still playing out in the region.
Product code: 455601, ISBN13: 9781849040495, 288 pages, paperback, Published by C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd in 2011
SARMILA BOSE is Senior Research Fellow in the Politics of South Asia at the University of Oxford. She was a political journalist in India and combines academic and media work. She was educated at Bryn Mawr College and Harvard University.
Here is a dose of sanity from Sarmila Bose:
Ms. Sarmila Bose in her paper entitled “Losing the Victims: Problems of Using Women as Weapons in Recounting the Bangladesh War” paints a picture of the Pakistani military as a disciplined force that spared women and children. She writes:
During my field research on several incidents in East Pakistan during 1971, Bangladeshi participants and eyewitnesses described battles, raids, massacres and executions, but told me that women were not harmed by the army in these events except by chance such as in crossfire. The pattern that emerged from these incidents was that the Pakistan Army targeted adult males while sparing women and children.
She also quotes the passage from the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report that I cited above to support her assertion that so many rapes could not have occurred. 20,000-34,000 could not have raped 200,000 to 400,000 women in the space of nine months.
She states in the introduction:
That rape occurred in East Pakistan in 1971 has never been in any doubt. The question is what was the true extent of rape, who were the victims and who the perpetrators and was there any systematic policy of rape by any party, as opposed to opportunistic sexual crimes in times of war.
To try to bolster her argument that the Pakistani forces in Bangladesh could not have raped so many women, she claims:
The number of West Pakistani armed forces personnel in East Pakistan was about 20,000 at the beginning of the conflict, rising to 34,000 by December. Another 11,000 men — civil police and non-combat personnel — also held arms.
For an army of 34,000 to rape on this scale in eight or nine months (while fighting insurgency, guerrilla war and an invasion by India), each would-be perpetrator would have had to commit rape at an incredible rate.
There are numerous reports out there now which negates the well-established beliefs. The declassified US reports, Indian military officers’ account, Pakistan military officers’ account, General Niazi’s memoirs, Sharmila Bose, Hamoodurahman commission report.
Pakistan Military officers fought hard. Many foreign correspondents speak well of their bravery. It is the bravery of a Muslim soldier that Indian Military got tough fight. These Pakistani Mard-e-Momin fought so hard that they had almost regained the control of East Pakistan from the dirty hands of Mukti-Bahini. When India saw this, She then started the military action which resulted in the fall of Dhaka.
Then Mujib showed his true colors after the formation of Bangladesh with his BAKSAL party. How he became authoritative and usurped democracy is not a secret anymore. He was going to make Bangladesh part of India that he was killed timely by the Pakistani military officers (yes those Bengalis who never gave up allegiance to Pakistan. I stand in honour for them).
In the end, 1971 was an ephemeral event for Bharat. It forced Pakistan to go Nuclear, and the events of 1971 created parity between Bharat which is 9 times bigger than its neighbour, and Pakistan. It also focused Pakistan towards Central Asia, blocking trade of Bharat with the region north of the Amu Darya. The events of 1971 created turmoil in Afghanistan, and an overconfident USSR, encouraged by Bharati policy makers ventured into Afghanistan. Exactly 20 years after the events of December 16th, 1971, the USSR imploded. On 17th December 1971 the USSR ceased to exist. Pakistan had exacted its revenge on the Soviet Union for assisting Bharat. The events of 1971 also created a huge schism between Bharat and China which has not been bridged, despite the fact that China uses Bharat as a mining colony taking raw materials and exporting back shoddy Chinese goods which it cannot export to the West.
1971 was the worst form of terror in this century. The fact that the West tolerated the Bharati plan of sending 80,000 armed terrorists disguised as Pakistani soldiers into Bengal to create havoc with the local population is a fact that lives in ignominy. The West sanctified Bharati aggression and stood back and watched the disintegration of a state which the US had two Executive Defense pacts and was also tied into defense agreements in SEATO and CENTO.
1971 led to Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder and Nuclear and Missile programs which have created colossal headaches for Bharat and others that have supported it. Because of the nuclear weapons, the US could not invade Pakistan, like it invaded Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The American defeat in Afghanistan is a direct result of the events of 1971 and Pakistan’s nuclear status. As the US begins to leave the area before 2014, the inevitable union of Afghanistan and Pakistan will ensure robust trade with Central Asia and strategic depth for Pakistan and Afghanistan both.
1971 halted economic growth in South Asia. Bharat was a pariah nation for a decade after that–and the entire region has still to recover from the effects. Bangladesh has half the GDP of Pakistan. Bharat has been unable to convince Pakistan to allow it a land route to Iran and Europe. The economic cost of the barrier to Bharati trade is colossal.
1971 galvanized Kashmir and tied down 800,000 Bharati soldiers and the militancy rages on affecting the rest of Bharat. The entire region became radicalized, and Asama dn the Naxals control large swathes of Bharati territory where there is no writ of the Central Government.
1971 gave rise to fundamentalism in Bharat. With the rise of the BJP and RSS, the nature of the Bharati landscape has changed. Its clash with the West is inevitable and will bring tragic results to South Asia.
The events of 1971 brought about the Oil embargo on the West with a decade of recession and malaise which radicalized America and moved it to the right. The events of 1971 radicalized Arab youth, and created the OBLs of the world. The events of 971 brought about two Martial Laws in Pakistan which led to various issues in the society and for the region. It allowed the US claim a stake in the neighbourhood.
1971 radicalized Bharati society and created militant Muslim groups in Bharat. The Indian Mujahideen and SIMI and others will continue to grow in the slum infested waters of penury and poverty.
The events of 1971 galvanized the Naxal insurrection in Bharat and the Maoist insurgency in Nepal, deeply affecting Bharat.
The vents of 1971 forced Pakistan to look westward. It now thinks of South Asia as its past the Central and West Asia as its future.
1971 consolidated Pakistan as never before, and with the discovery of Coal and Gold reserves, the country is re-evaluating its political landscape and bringing in new leadership to deal with the new realities of prosperity and growth.
In the end Bangladesh also became a belligerent state for Bharat, deeply impacting the demographics of West Bengal, which is now headed towards Muslim majority status. Bangladesh itself is in a Civil war with itself. Right after 1971, Mujib, the Indian agent declared himself dictator for life and banned all the political parties that existed. On 14th August 1974 patriotic patriots killed Mujib and threw his body in the streets for days. They killed all members of the Mujib family. In a dramatic reversal of events, Bhart’s “Rakhi Bahni” which had planned to incorporate Bangladesh into an Indian province was thrown out of Bangladesh, the treaty of friendship was torn up and Delhi’s dream of taking over Muslim Bengal never materialized.
The events of 1971 laid bare the intentions of the US, and its lack of support. This has led to a colossal tide of anti-Americanism in Pakistan and the region which is detrimental to America and Europe. Eventually China and Russia were the beneficiaries of this sort of avoidable negativity.
The Bangladeshis resurrected the Two Nation Theory, and refused to join West Bengal. Despite persecution of the Islamic forces, Bangladesh remains a deeply religious nation and has better relations with Islamabad than it has with Delhi. The suppression of Islam in Bangladesh has created a time-bomb that will affect the entire Northeast region.
The events of 1971 have led to a large presence of Chinese forces and possibly bases in Pakistan. Islamabad constructed two new ports, an effort unparalleled in the history of the world.
During 1971 Indo-Pak war, the burden of Pakistan Navy’s offensive effort hinged on the small but effective submarine force. PN Submarine HANGOR sailed in the early hours of 22 November 1971 to patrol off the Indian Kathiawar coast under the command of Commander Ahmed Tasnim S.J.
On 9 Dec, in an effort to locate the evasive enemy, HANGOR extended her patrol northward to investigate some radio transmissions intercepted on her sensors. Two contacts were picked up on passive sonar and were identified as warships. The initial range was 6 to 8 miles. A pursuit of the enemy began but the first attempt to attack these ships failed due to speed disadvantage. The submarine however managed to forecast target ships movement and succeeded in taking up a tactically advantageous position on the path of the patrolling frigates by 1900. At 1957 the submarine fired a down the throat shot with a homing torpedo at the northerly ship from a depth of 40 meters.
Captain Ahmed Tasnim (later Vice Admiral)(a man standing), directing the final stages of the torpedo attack on INS Khukri Lieutenant Fasih Bokhari – Captain Ahmed Tasnim – Lieutenant A.U. Khan
The torpedo was tracked but no explosion was heard. The second torpedo was therefore fired immediately on the incomming southerly ship and this was followed by a tremendous explosion. The torpedo had found its mark. The other enemy frigate came straight for the submarine when a third torpedo was fired. A distant explosion was heard subsequently and the submarine turned west towards deeper waters for evasion.
In this spectacular action, INS KHUKRI, the ship of the Squadron Commander of Indian 14th Frigate Sqn was sunk within two minutes after receiving a hit in the magazine where explosives were held. This was the first submarine kill since World War II. 18 Officers and 176 sailors including the Commanding Officer lost their lives. This came as a shattering blow to the Indian Navy. HANGOR’s action demonstrated Pakistan Navy’s tactical superiority in sub-surface warfare and after the war even the BBC commentators praised Pakistan Naval effort. Considering the shape, size and age of the ships at its command, they said that the Pakistan Navy had acquitted itself well against the Indian Navy.
(The author, Hira Binte Asim is 15 years old girl, a student of Class 10th. She is a fond reader and a debater. She has won essay writing competitions at school level and debating competitions at school, college and division level. She has traveled overseas to six different countries. A fond domestic tourist, to travel through length and breadth of Pakistan from Chinese border to Afghan and Indian borders. )
Travlling on a carpeted double road towards Waziristan, enjoying the changing weather and terrain conditions, I was listening to my father while he replied to my questions about the tribal areas and the situation there. My younger brother was even more inquisitive, but my father replied most of our questions saying that “experience is different than perceptions”. Indeed we had developed perceptions about tribal areas through media programs, news and student gossip but today we were travlling to South Waziristan to spend our Eid holidays. Past few days flashed back while I was looking at a group of children waving at our vehicle and my father telling us that over 30,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) have returned back to their homes in South Waziristan, since December 2010 (including 16800 children). One day back we were sitting in Okara, prepared to spend lonely Eid holidays without our father, when we got a call from him that we were to celebrate Eid with him in South Waziristan. In spite of our perceptions about Tribal areas we were excited to travel to him. I knew it would be enjoyable, thrilling and surely educating. We have travelled and trekked with him across mountains, lakes and glaciers; there is nothing that we fear in his company. I remember being on his back during trekking and on horseback during ride outs. May it be Australian coastline, Malaysian forests, Thall desert, Karakorum ranges, Chinese, Afghan or Indian border; as long as we were together adventures would just get underway.
Most remarkable memory was seeing the high school. The building was newly renovated; the furniture was top of the line, comparable to any school of the country. The computer lab had brand new LCD screen on every desk, library was fairly rich and science lab equipped with everything that could be required for students of high school. Yet refreshing sight was of the green lawns with a functional canteen on a side. Stadium annexed to the school was large enough to house larger gathering than this village alone. Various sports events and celebrations were centrally organized here. Then came even a bigger surprise; in the shape of “Waziristan Institute of Technical education”. A well laid out institution which had just taken off with its first batch of students, all efforts spearheaded by the army. I felt so proud of myself and my army.
Amongst low clouds, cold breeze and soft pattering rain, we continued our journey back to Dera Ismail Khan, all lost in the thoughts and memories of Eid in tribal area; comparing my “perceptions” and my “experience”.
22 Nov 2011, one fine morning, performing my duty as Reserve QRF Comd. for Corp Comd’s visit, I got an sms. I thought it would be some forwarded sms. Yeah, it was a forwarded sms BUT that sms made me on fire, I was shocked, trembled, my heart.
I don’t have the words to explain my condition because that sms was about shahadat of one of my dear course-mate, my course being very large in number. 601 passed out. I didn’t have that much interaction with Lt. Adnan Shaheed, but being a course-mate, the news of his shahadat put me on fire. I just wanted and prayed to have wings and fly over to that place where he embraced shahadat, and tear apart those bastards who did this. I am now thinking what would be the condition of his parents, his family and if he had any beloved, what will be their condition.
Oh my Lord! Rest his soul in peace and please please please My Lord take me to that place and let me given a chance from Your side to take revenge of this buddy and other lucky ones who will be, I am dead sure, enjoying in the world not seen by us.
My Lord, I have one wish. Please bless me with the same blessings and let me die in Your name, let me have bullets on my chest, but first to kill those bastards who may become reason for so many other such incidents.
My Lord! Bless me with this blessing. Bless me with this blessing. Bless me with this blessing. Ilahi Ameen.