Sat, 10 December 2022
The Daily Ittefaq

1971 was not military but political failure, says Pak army chief

Update : 24 Nov 2022, 12:16

Pakistan Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on November 23 that the country's defeat in 1971 war was a political failure and not a military one as is widely said.

In his Defence Day speech, General Qamar said that the army was targeted recently by some political forces with a "false and made-up narrative” and the institution, despite being in capacity to respond to it by all manner, stayed calm but “patience has a limit".

He also added that Pakistan must do enough to remember the soldiers who died in the 1971 war. 

While 'correcting some facts' about the military confrontation between India and Pakistan, he said, "The number of soldiers fighting was not 92,000 but 34,000 - the others were in different government departments. These 34,000 were heavily outnumbered by an Indian army of 2,50,000 soldiers and a 2,00,000-member Mukti Bahini." 

He lauded the army for fighting 'bravely' against the 'heavy' odds. According to Qamar, "The exemplary sacrifices were acknowledged by the Indian Army Chief, Field Marshal Manekshaw. But no one in Pakistan has yet owned up to these sacrifices. It is a great injustice." 

“I came to the conclusion that it is because of army’s involvement in politics (that it is criticised so much). So, in February last year, the institution decided that it will no longer interfere in politics,” he said. 

“Everyone has right to criticism, but the language (used) should be careful,” he added.

General Qamar said that victory and defeat are part of politics, and every party has to accept its defeat and victory. “Parties and people come and go, but only Pakistan remains important for us."

Pakistan's outgoing army chief further said that the politicians should avoid the attitude of denial mode as winning and losing is a part of politics.

General Qamar was appointed Army Chief for three years in November 2016 by Nawaz Sharif. He secured an extension for another three years from the Imran Khan government. 

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