Outgoing army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Nov 23 discussed the army’s performance and actions in Bangladesh during the 1971 civil war, which said were topics that most people avoided.
The army chief made these remarks on Wednesday during his speech at the Defence and Martyrs day ceremony, which is held annually at the General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi on September 6 to commemorate the sacrifices of fallen heroes of the 1965 war.
However, it was postponed this year in solidarity with flood victims across the country and rescheduled for today.
“I want to correct some facts here. Firstly, former East Pakistan was a political failure and not a military one,” he said.
He said the number of soldiers fighting was not 92,000 but 34,000 and the others were in different government departs. He added that these 34,000 soldiers were confronted by an Indian army of 250,000 soldiers and 200,000 members of the Mukti Bahini.
“Against these heavy odds, our army fought bravely and gave exemplary sacrifices which were acknowledged by Indian army chief field marshal Manekshaw.”
He said the nation had yet not owned up to these sacrifices which was a “great injustice”. “Taking advantage of this occasion I salute these martyrs and will continue to do so. They are our heroes and the nation should be proud of them,” Bajwa added.
Gen Bajwa will be retiring by the end of the month after commanding the army for six years. He was appointed army chief in 2016 for a three-year tenure, which was extended by another three years after parliament legislated on the tenures of services chiefs on the orders of the Supreme Court.