An informal account by Air Marshal Inam-ul-Haque Khan (Retd), HJ, Former Air Officer Commanding East Pakistan

last_encounter_dec5President Yahya Khan held fair and free elections in December, 1970 in which Awami League of Shaikh Mujibur Rahman won a majority largely due to his Six-Point manifesto. National Assembly was to hold its first session in Dacca on 2nd March, 1971. It was, however, sabotaged by vested interests of West Pakistani establishment and some leading politicians, who were not willing to accept a Bengali-led government. Postponement of National Assembly strengthened the secessionist movement in East Pakistan, duly supported by India. Violent civil disobedience ensued through out East Pakistan immediately, resulting in casualties including death of students in a Dacca hostel due to shelling.  Army was forced to retreat to cantonments for avoiding bloodshed. The situation was bad demanding careful and intelligent handling. After about a week, when the disobedience had simmered down, Yahya and advisors reached Dacca and held final talks with Mujib on around 20th March for a couple of days. It was then agreed that Yahya will retain the Presidency and, honouring the outcome of election, he will transfer power to Mujib. Yahya, vacillating as ever, swayed by the ill-advice of leading politicians of West Pakistan and his own military junta, to ‘sort out these bloody Bengalis’,  resorted to use force  in starting on 25th March, 1971, instead of  implementing  political solution as reached with Awami League – a complete betrayal of trust. Read more

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by Imran H. Khan

On October 13th. 2009, Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman of PAF participated in the rolling out ceremony of the first of the eighteen F-16C Block 52 aircraft. You can see the album of more images of the ceremony by clicking on the image below. Read more

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