Friday, 26 March 2010

The War in Bangladesh

The Bengali Patriot

Flt Lt Mohammed Matiur Rahman went on annual leave in the last week of January 1971 after completing his Survival and Evasion course at Murree.

Back in East Pakistan Mati got caught up in the prevailing mood of the country at the time.

He attended the Shaheed Minar gathering on 21st February to pay homage to the Language Martyrs and also witnessed the historic speech by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 7th March 1971.

Following that speech Mati knew that war was imminent and so began instructing some of the local youth on guerrilla warfare.

Flt Lt Moti
QFI (Qualified Flying Instructor)

On 25th March 1971 the Infidels of West Pakistan attacked the 75 million Bengalis and 70 Muslims of East Pakistan.

The people who made Pakistan in 1947 were not going to sit back and take a beating from usurpers. They began fighting back and men like Matiur Rahman provided the leadership.

The Bengalis had made Pakistan in 1947 and now they were going to break Pakistan.

With the commencement of war Matiur left Dhaka with his wife and two young daughters for the villages.

With his family relatively safe, Mati gathered volunteer fighters and in one action blew up the old bridge over the Buriganga.

On 12 April 1971, Flt Lt Matiur Rahman led the Mukti Bahini unit that destroyed this rail-bridge over Old Buriganga River

During the conflict Matiur met up with Group Captain AK Khandaker, Wing Commander MK Bashar and Squadron Leader M Sadruddin.

All of them were preparing to leave for India to join up with the Liberation War.

Mati was training students at Haji Asmat Ali College grounds at Bhariab when Captain ASM Nasim (later Lt.General and COAS Bangladesh Army) of the 2nd Bengal Regiment turned up to take Mati to India.

In April Matiur witnessed the PAF F86 Sabres jets strafe and naplam innocent and helpless villagers. He saw young children cry out for help, and here he was a fighter pilot helpless and unable to do anything to counter these aircrafts.

The PAF pilots could have been students he trained, now they were bombing his own people.

This made Mati change his mind of crossing the border to regroup with the Mukti Bahini Mainforce.


Instead he decided to rejoin the Pakistan Air Force with the thought of escaping with a fighter bomber or doing serious damage to the enemy aircrafts.

Matiurs cousin Altaf Hussain recollects that their Uncle (Mama) Pir Syed Muzzamel Haque predicted that the Pakistanis cannot kill Sheikh Mujib and that he will return to become President, and that a small country will be the first to recognise Bangladesh and the Indian will join the war.

Upon inquiring about Matiur rejoining PAF, the Pir saw bad signs (snakes) in the Istikarra and warned that if Matiur re-joins PAF he will not come back alive. [Only Muslim of the subcontinent most likely can relate to all this]. Despite all these signs Matiur refused to heed the calls from family and relatives not to rejoin the PAF. He was determined to the end.

Explaining, that by going back to his posting in the heart of the enemy territory in West Pakistan and causing something spectacular, the victory would be much sweeter than just fighting in occupied Bangladesh.

It would also show the Pakistanis that they were not safe even a 1,000 miles away from the Mukti Bahini.

In May 1971 Mati went back to Karachi, there he managed to convince authorities that he was trapped in the villages due to the conflict in the country hence could not re-join his unit in time.

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