Thursday, 9 June 2016

Who was Responsible for Hate in Hearts of Bengalis?

From the creation of Pakistan to the separation of Bengal, not a single Punjabi was posted as Pakistan Army Chief. After completion of General Sir Douglas Gracey term on 16 January 1951, there were three senior general officers in the line of promotion for four-star assignment; first general officer being a Major-General Iftikhar Khan (Punjabi) while others were Major-Generals Akbar Khan Minhas (Punjabi) and N.A.M Raza (Punjabi). Initially, it was General Iftikhar Khan (Punjabi) who was promoted to four-star rank and appointed as first native chief of army staff, but he died in a plane crash en route to his senior officer training in the United Kingdom.

After the death of General Iftikhar Khan (Punjabi), the senior most officer of the Army was Major-General Ishfakul Majid (Bengali) and he was senior to Ayub Khan (Pathan) as well. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Major-General Iskandar Mirza (Bihari but a resident of Bengal) played an instrumental role in Ayub's promotion and convinced Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan (Urdu Speaking UP-ite Muhajir) to appoint Ayub Khan to four-star rank.

After creation of Pakistan, Major-General Iskandar Mirza (A Bihari but a resident of Bengal) was one of the highest senior ranking government officers in the Pakistan.

As Defense Secretary, Major-General Iskandar Mirza oversaw the 1947 war with India, as well as the Baluchistan conflict.

In 1950, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan (Urdu Speaking UP-ite Muhajir) approved the recommendation of his appointment as honorary active duty Major-General in Pakistan Army, commanding the Military Police as its second General Officer Commanding.

In 1951, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan appointed him as the director of the Department of Kashmir and Afghanistan Affairs (DKA).

His stint also saw the redeployment of Military Police in East-Pakistan in 1952 as a result of the Bengali Language Movement, during which the East Pakistan Army fatally shot four student activists. Within a short span of time, the Military Police had the control of the province.

Serious disorder and civil unrest again sparked in East Pakistan as a result of the Bengali Language Movement in 1954 therefore, prompting Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin (Bihari but a resident of Bengal) to appoint him as the Governor of the province. Major-General Iskandar Mirza arrived in East-Pakistan on May 1954.

After landing at the Dhaka Airport, Governor of East Pakistan Major-General Iskandar Mirza sharply announced in the Bengali language to the Pakistan media representatives, that he would not hesitate to use force in order to establish peace in the province. On the first day of his charge, Major-General Iskandar Mirza ordered the arrest of 319 persons, including Mujibur Rahman and Yousaf Ali Chaudhry to crush the Bengali Language Movement.

By mid-June 1954, the number of arrests reached 1,051, including 33 Assembly Members and two Dhaka University professors to crush the Bengali Language Movement. Although the peace was restored and law and order situation was improved, such actions had sawn a permanent seed of hatred for the West Pakistan in the hearts of Bengali people of East Pakistan.

Major-General Iskandar Mirza also oversaw the success of the One Unit program in East Pakistan in 1954 and succeeded Malik Ghulam Muhammad (Punjabi) as the Governor-General in 1955.

After successfully promulgating the 1956 constitution, Major-General Iskandar Mirza became the first President of Pakistan.

His presidency saw great political instability, challenges in foreign policy, and the ouster of four prime ministers in two years. Major-General Iskandar Mirza finally imposed martial law in 1958 after suspending the constitution and dissolving democratic institutions, including the Pakistan Parliament.

Major-General Iskandar Mirza has the distinction of being the first to bring in military influence in national politics after he appointed his Army Chief General Ayoub Khan as Chief Martial Law Administrator of the country.

Paternal great-grandfather of Iskander Mirza was Mir Jafar (popularly known to Indian and Pakistanis as Ghaddar-e-Abrar).