The people of Bangladesh on Wednesday celebrated the 50th Victory Day. On December 16, 1971, Lt. Gen Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, the Chief Martial Law Administrator of East Pakistan and Commander of Pakistan Army forces located in East Pakistan had signed the Instrument of Surrender the led to the formation of Bangladesh.
Niazi had signed the Instrument and Surrender in the presence of Jagjit Singh Aurora, who was representing the Indian and Bangladesh Forces in Dhaka.
The country was liberated from the Pakistani occupation on the day after a nine-month-long bloodstained War of Liberation in 1971.
At the time of surrender only a few countries had provided diplomatic recognition to the new nation. Over 93,000 Pakistani troops surrendered to the Indian forces and Bangladesh Liberation forces, making it the largest surrender since World War II.
Bangladesh was born as an independent country under the leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the cost of supreme sacrifice of three million people and the honour of nearly half a million women.
Though the pandemic Covid-19 has almost paralysed the whole world barring the people from attending any public gathering in person, the celebration of the Victory Day got a different dimension.
The day is set to be celebrated as Mujib Borsho, on the occasion of the birth centenary of Bangabandhu from March 2020-March 2021, just ahead of the country’s golden jubilee year of Independence to be celebrated in 2021.
On behalf of President M. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina their representatives laid the wreath at the altar of the National Memorial around 6.30 a.m.
Both of them paid rich tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Memorial in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, marking the 50th Victory Day.
After placing the wreath, the representatives stood there in solemn silence for a while as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the martyrs of the Great War of Liberation in 1971.
Bangladesh’s first government was sworn in in front of local and foreign journalists officially and it began its duties. With the Declaration of Independence on March 6, the country was officially declared as an independent sovereign state.
Bangladesh sought admission to the UN with most voting in its favour, but China vetoed this as Pakistan was its key ally.
The US, also a key ally of Pakistan, was one of the last nations to accord Bangladesh recognition.
To ensure a smooth transition, in 1972 the Simla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan. The treaty ensured that Pakistan recognised the independence of Bangladesh in exchange for the return of the Pakistani PoWs.
India treated all the PoWs in strict accordance with the Geneva Convention, rule 1925 released more than 93,000 Pakistani PoWs in five months. Further, as a gesture of goodwill, nearly 200 soldiers who were sought for war crimes by Bengalis were also pardoned by India.
Bangladesh government has organised elaborate programs to celebrate the day at the national level, maintaining the health guidelines in face of the global pandemic Covid-19.
The programs include a 31-gun salute, placing of wreaths at the monuments to pay homage to martyrs, hoisting of the national flags atop all government, semi-government and private offices as well as offices of autonomous bodies across the country, decorating city streets with miniature national flags and colourful festoons, and illumination of important buildings and establishments, roads and street islands at night.
Improved diets will be served to inmates of jails, hospitals, orphanages, and vagrant homes across the country.