Wednesday, July 10, 2013

what pakistan must learn....,

Time | In 1971, Pakistan suffered its worst military defeat to India. The war led to the creation of an independent Bangladesh — what had been East Pakistan, separated from the western wing by a thousand miles of Indian territory, and home to half the country’s population. In what remained of Pakistan, the humiliation prompted furious questions about the cruelties inflicted on the local Bengali-speaking population, the intelligence failures and the abuses of power that had plunged the young country to its lowest point.

To answer these questions, a high-powered commission was established. It was led by the Chief Justice of the time, Hamoodur Rahman, a distinguished Bengali jurist. He and his colleagues produced a searing report that recommended, among other things, trials for “those who indulged in these atrocities” and visited “acts of wanton cruelty” on the local population. But the report was suppressed. It only emerged in portions decades later, in 2000, in leaks to the local media. (The full report was declassified later that year.)

The Pakistani surrender at Dhaka was seen as the moment of the country’s greatest shame until the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Navy SEALs had successfully managed to penetrate Pakistani airspace, land in the garrisoned town of Abbottabad, kill the al-Qaeda leader and leave barely noticed. Pakistanis were angered by a violation of their sovereignty by an ally. And they were appalled that the world’s most wanted man had been living among them undetected for years.

To find out what happened, Pakistan’s Parliament established another high-powered commission. It was partly inspired by the Hamoodur Rahman Commission that looked into the events of 1971. If it weren’t for a leak this week, their findings might also have remained suppressed for decades. On Monday, al-Jazeera published 336 pages of the “Abbottabad Commission” report. Like its predecessor, it is a searing document. Shortly after it was published, the news channel’s website was blocked in Pakistan.


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