East Pakistan During Bangladesh Liberation war in 1971 Rare Photos. The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pittingWest Pakistan against East Pakistan (two halves of one country) and India, that resulted in thesecession of East Pakistan as the independent nation of Bangladesh.
The war broke out on 26 March 1971 as army units directed by West Pakistan launched a military operation in East Pakistan against Bengali civilians, students, intelligentsia, and armed personnel who were demanding separation from West Pakistan. Bengali military, paramilitary and civilians formed the Mukti Bahini (or liberation army) and used guerrilla warfare tactics to fight against the West Pakistan army. India provided economic, military and diplomatic support to the Mukti Bahini rebels leading Pakistan to launch Operation Chengiz Khan, a pre-emptive attack on the western border of India which started the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
On 16 December 1971, the allied forces of the Indian army and the Mukti Bahini decisively defeated the West Pakistani forces deployed in the East, resulting in the largest surrender, in terms of the number of prisoners of war, since World War II.
In August 1947, the Partition of British India gave rise to two new states; the Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan, the latter intended to be a homeland for the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent. The Dominion of Pakistan comprised two geographically and culturally separate areas to the east and the west of India. The western zone was popularly (and for a period of time, also officially) termed West Pakistan and the eastern zone (modern-day Bangladesh) was initially termed East Bengal and later, East Pakistan. Although the population of the two zones was close to equal, political power was concentrated in West Pakistan and it was widely perceived that East Pakistan was being exploited economically, leading to many grievances. Administration of two discontinuous territories was also seen as a challenge. On 25 March 1971, rising political discontent and cultural nationalism in East Pakistan was met by brutal suppressive force from the ruling elite of the West Pakistan establishment, in what came to be termedOperation Searchlight.
The violent crackdown by West Pakistan forces led to Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declaring East Pakistan’s independence as the state of Bangladesh on 26 March 1971.Pakistani President Agha Mohammed Yahya ordered the Pakistani military to restore the Pakistani government’s authority, beginning the civil war. The war led to a sea of refugees (estimated at the time to be about 10 million) flooding into theeastern provinces of India. Facing a mounting humanitarian and economic crisis, India started actively aiding and organising the Bangladeshi resistance army known as the Mukti Bahini.