< Personalities

General A.A.K Niazi

Articles sent in by some visitors of Mianwali Online for publishing on this site. These are being reproduced as below. Visitors are especially encouraged to write and send their own articles about Mianwali and its people.

Disclaimer: . Authors/Original Publishers/Senders of the text bear responsibility of the views expressed below .MOL may not be held responsible for any views expressed in the text on this page - MOL.

Lt. General A.A.K.Niazi

About Lieutenant-General A. A. K. Niazi (late)

Source:Wikipedia

Details

 

An Interview with Lt.Gen.A.A.K Niazi ( New )
Source:www.rediff.com

 

"I swear on oath that I was given clear-cut orders from Yahya to surrender, but still I was determined to fight till the end. I even sent a message that my decision to fight till the end stands. However, General Abdul Hamid Khan and Air Chief Marshal Rahim rang me up, ordering me to act on the GHQ signal of December 14, 1971 because West Pakistan was in danger." Lt.Gen.A.A.K. Niazi

 

Rediff.com reports an interview with Lt.Gen. A.A.K Niazi (February 02, 2004 ).The same is reproduced for visitors of Mianwali Online (MOL is not responsible for any information/facts provided therein) Details-->>

 

 

 

Lieutenant-General A. A. K. Niazi

Source: Times Online www.timesonline.co.uk
Pakistani general who fought the overwhelming might of India in Bengal in 1971 and was never forgiven by his country for losing .more....

 

TNN / The Daily Star

General Aurora said smart strategies were responsible for the Indian victory. "Pakistan did not have enough forces to defend its eastern wing. Secondly, most East Pakistanis opposed the west's rule. This helped us train the Mukti Bahini," said the General. more...

Op-ed: The courageous Pak army stand on the eastern front — By Sarmila Bose

There is much for Pakistan to come to terms with what happened in 1971. But the answers don’t lie in unthinking vilification of the fighting men who performed so well in the war against such heavy odds in defence of the national policy. more...

Gen.Yahya Khan ordered me to surrender to save West Pakistan-- Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi (Late)

His last voice in media - An interview by ARY Digital TV  more...

 

 

About Lieutenant-General A. A. K. Niazi 

Source: Wikipedia

Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi (1915 - February 2, 2004) was a Pakistani military commander who was notable for surrendering to Indian forces in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War.

Born to a Pathan family in the Punjab, Niazi enlisted in the British Indian Army as a junior officer, and fought well during World War II. During this conflict, the young Niazi would win a Military Cross and be given the nickname "Tiger" by his superior officer due to his prowess in battle against Japanese forces. His Military Cross was earned for actions along the border with Burma, in which he showed great leadership, judgement, quick-thinking, and calm under pressure.

He would join the newly-formed Pakistani Army after indepdence in 1947 and quickly rose through the ranks, earning various awards including the Hilal-e-Jurat twice. By 1971 he had reached the rank of Lieutenant-General. He was sent in that year to East Pakistan in April following a Pakistani military crack down on Bengali intellectuals. The army leader in East Pakistan at that time Tikka Khan was thought to be behind the implimentation of the crack down, and Niazi had condemned the action. Despite this, the situation in the East was difficult, as Bengali forces in the Pakistani Army had gone into mutiny, large segments fo the population were hostile, and an independence movement was gaining steam among the Bengalis. Despite this, Niazi was able to reaffirm Pakistani control over wide parts of East Pakistani territory, opening the window for a political solution to the turmoil - this would not come to fruition.

The crack-down against the Bengalis had gone too far, and the result saw Pakistani forces involved in a guerilla war with Bengali Mukti Bahini who were aided by India. This would lead to later Indian involvement in the conflict, and a full-scale invasion of the Eastern wing of Pakistan by India, resulting in isolation for Niazi's forces, and with the absence of external aid, eventual surrender.

On December 16, 1971, General Niazi surrendered all Pakistani forces in East Pakistan to Indian General Jagjit Singh Aurora. Niazi along with a sizeable number of Pakistani soldiers were taken prisoner, and many would not be freed until two years later, with Niazi symbolically being the last prisoner of war to cross back to Pakistan. Such actions symbolized his reputation as a "soldier's general" but did not shield him from the scorn he faced upon his return to Pakistan, where he was viewed as a scapegoat.

Niazi was stripped of his military rank, and the pension usually accorded to retired soldiers. In order to clear his name, Niazi sought a court martial, but it was never granted. The former general would try to take up politics in order to clear himself, but he was jailed in order to quell such actions. In 1998 he released The Betrayal of East Pakistan where he blamed Yahya Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for the seperation of East Pakistan. Niazi lived out his life in Lahore, his wife predeceasing him.

[Top]



Lieutenant-General A. A. K. Niazi
Pakistani general who fought the overwhelming might of India in Bengal in 1971 and was never forgiven by his country for losing

Times Online UK

March 11, 2004
Submitted to MOL by  Ms. Gul Rukh Khannum

A SINGLE day in the life of Lieutenant-General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi of Pakistan overshadowed a distinguished career and cast a pall over the rest of his life. On December 16, 1971, Niazi, as commander of the Eastern Command, signed the surrender document that ended the 1971 war between India and Pakistan in East Pakistan (Bangladesh). That moment made him a focus for India’s triumphalism, Bangladesh’s hatred for West Pakistan and Pakistan’s humiliation.

In the bitter break-up of Pakistan the public forgot that as a young officer in the British Indian Army, Niazi had won an on-the-spot Military Cross for exceptional bravery after action on June 11, 1944, in the Kekrima area of the Assam-Burma front.
That spring, the 14th Army under General Slim had halted the advance of the Japanese at the battle of Imphal and elsewhere in bitterly fought actions along the Burma front.

Describing Niazi’s gallantry in the citation for the MC, his commanding officers wrote at length of his judgment about the best course of action, which they accepted, his skill in taking the enemy completely by surprise, as well as his personal leadership of his men, coolness under fire, ability to change tactics, create diversions, extricate his wounded and withdraw his men. At the Bauthi-Daung tunnels, Niazi impressed his commanding officers so much that they wanted to award a DSO. He was, however, too junior. A “mention” had to suffice.

The nickname “Tiger” was given him by Brigadier D. F. W. Warren, commander of 161 Infantry Brigade, after a ferocious fight with the Japanese.

After independence Niazi became a highly decorated general in the Pakistan Army, twice receiving Pakistan’s highest military honour, the Hilal-e-Jurat. When he was sent to East Pakistan in April 1971, General Tikka Khan had already launched a brutal crackdown against Bengali rebels. Niazi condemned this but was saddled with the consequences: mutiny among Bengali regiments, a totally hostile population and Pakistan’s tarnished reputation.

Yet, in a couple of months under him the Eastern Command systematically regained the territory, creating the opportunity for a political settlement — though none was ever achieved.

Instead Niazi and his men found themselves fighting a protracted guerrilla war against Bengalis, aided by India and eventually involved in a full-scale war with India. The small, battle-weary Eastern Command, cut off from headquarters, with meagre resources, put up a valiant fight against India’s overwhelming might, but the outcome of such a contest was never in doubt. Pakistan’s failure to secure external assistance or UN intervention sealed its fate.

Niazi’s reputation as a “soldier’s general” lasted to the end. After spending two years as a prisoner of war in India, he was the last to cross the border after the repatriation of prisoners. He then found himself vilified in his own country for losing the war with India.

His requests for a court martial to clear his name were never granted. He was removed from the army and stripped of pensions, without trial. When he entered politics to try to be heard, he was jailed.

Niazi was born in a Pathan family in Punjab. He lived his last years quietly in Lahore. His memoir, The Betrayal of East Pakistan, was published in 1998.

His wife predeceased him. He is survived by their five children.

Lieutenant-General A. A. K. Niazi, HJ & Bar, MC, Pakistan commander, was born in 1915. He died on February 1, 2004, aged 89.

[Top]


 

TNN / The Daily Star

Wednesday May 04 2005 14:19:37 PM BDT

www.bangladesh-web.com/view.php?hidType=HIG&hidRecord=0000000000000000043446

URL/Link submitted by Gul Rukh Khannum

 

A resigned Niazi signed the instrument of surrender with General Aurora on December 16, 1971, at Dhaka.

"I was a happy man. I knew that I had him (Niazi) there. He asked for peace. West Pakistanis had also sent a message through the US that they want to surrender. I sent Niazi the surrender documents. The rest is history," said Lt J S Aurora.

The man who forced Pakistan to surrender in the 1971 Bangladesh War is no more. Lt Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Comma-nding (GOC), Eastern Command led the Indian forces and routed the Pakistani army in one of the swiftest operations ever and forced Lt Gen A A K Niazi, chief of Pakistan's Eastern Command, to surrender just within two weeks of the war starting.

Lt J S Aurora said later that the "turning point" came after Indian troops crossed the Meghna River even though the Pakistanis had blown up a strategic bridge.

"We knew the Pakistani forces would destroy bridges. They thought they had cut us off after they blew up a bridge over the Meghna River. But we took them by surprise and crossed it at night with the help of the local people. That was the turning point," Lt Gen Aurora would reminisce later on the war.

The war to liberate Bangladesh started after Indira Gandhi decided to help the Mukti Bahini , the Bangladesh freedom fighters, in their armed struggle against the excesses of the west Pakistan authorities.

Pakistan started attacking the Mukti Bahini camps inside Indian territory. It got bolder and on 3rd December 1971, around 5.40 pm, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) led coordinated air strikes against nine Indian airfields in the Western sector.

The air strikes were followed by a massive attack on the strategic Chhamb sector in the north while the Indian Army went on the offensive in the East. By late that night Pakistan and India were locked in a fierce combat.

Two weeks later on 16 December 1971, Dhaka fell to the Indian army and the war was over. India took 93,000 Prisoners of War and Bangladesh was born.

"We did not want to be the first to strike, so this suited us. When the Army Chief (Field Marshal Maneckshaw) called me up to break the news, I told him, 'Let us get going but keep a bottle of whiskey for me to drink to Yahya Khan when the war gets over'," said the General recollecting the first few moments after the war broke out.

Both armies were ready on the morning of 4th December 1971. Indian army outnumbered the Pakistani forces and the only plan General Niazi had was to delay the Indian advance.

And his proud claims that he would take the battle into India was shattered after the Indian army ran the Pakistani forces in just two weeks.

General Aurora said smart strategies were responsible for the Indian victory. "Pakistan did not have enough forces to defend its eastern wing. Secondly, most East Pakistanis opposed the west's rule. This helped us train the Mukti Bahini," said the General.

A resigned Niazi signed the instrument of surrender with General Aurora on December 16, 1971, at Dhaka.

"I was a happy man. I knew that I had him (Niazi) there. He asked for peace. West Pakistanis had also sent a message through the US that they want to surrender. I sent Niazi the surrender documents. The rest is history," said Lt J S Aurora.
[Top]


Gen.Yahya Khan ordered me to surrender to save West Pakistan-- Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi (Late)

The interview was given a few weeks before Lt.Gen. A.A.K. Niazi's death

In an interview  interview to ARYOne TV channel, Lt.Gen. A.A.K. Niazi strongly said that he was ordered by the then Chief of the Army Staff Gen.Yahya Khan to surrender in E.Pakistan or the W.Pakistan could be lost.He disagreed with the common belief that it was a local decision, and said, such decisions are not taken locally. He strongly condemned Gen.Yahya K. and Z.A Bhutto as those responsible for the breaking of Pakistan. He said ,these two could not stay in power in the united Pakistan so opted for the divide. The General disclosed that there were 34,000 Pakistani troops in Bangladesh and  the 90,000 figure was absolutely wrong. When asked to comment on Z.A Bhutto's achievement in getting the POWs released, he said, no country keeps POWs for ever, so they had to be released no matter who went to India for their release.

The General died in February 2004 ,with many questions un-answered, without a trial he always asked for. Was Hamood's report or the media trials a replacement for a  trial in the court, an open trial ? Everybody will have a  different view. For expressing you valuable views please click here .

[Top]


Op-ed: The courageous Pak army stand on the eastern front — By Sarmila Bose

Sent to MOL by  Ms. Gul Rukh Khanum

  There is much for Pakistan to come to terms with what happened in 1971. But the answers don’t lie in unthinking vilification of the fighting men who performed so well in the war against such heavy odds in defence of the national policy. Rather, in failing to honour them, the nation dishonours itself

 My introduction to international politics was 1971, as a schoolgirl in Calcutta. Many images from that year are still etched in my mind, but the culminating one was the photo on Ramna racecourse of two men sitting at a table — the smart, turbaned Sikh, ‘our’ war-hero, Jagjit Singh Aurora, and the large man in a beret, A A K Niazi, commander of the other side, signing the instrument of surrender.

Nearly a generation later, a chance interview for the BBC with Lt Gen. Aurora took me back to 1971. The interview was not about 1971, but about injustices suffered by Sikhs at the hands of the state General Aurora had served. I thought he was a bigger hero for what he had to say then. That view was reinforced as I read — with incredulity — the disparaging remarks by other Indian officers about him, and each other, in their books. If this is what happened to the winning commander, I wondered what had happened to the other man in the photo. The result was a revelation.

It turns out that General Niazi has been my ‘enemy’ since the Second World War. As Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army fought on the Burma front in 1943-45 in their quest for India’s freedom, Niazi was fighting on the other side, for the British Indian Army, under the overall command of General (later Field Marshal) William Joseph Slim. Slim and his 14th Army halted the advance of the INA and the Japanese at the Imphal campaign and turned the course of the war.

In the process of inflicting military defeat upon my ancestor, Niazi’s performance was so exceptional that the British awarded him an on-the-spot Military Cross for action on the Assam-Burma front in June 1944. On another occasion they wanted to award a DSO, but he was too junior, so a Mention in Despatches was recorded. In the original record of his MC signed by his commanding officers all the way up to Slim, which I obtained from the British Ministry of Defence, the British commanders describe Niazi’s gallantry in detail: “He organized the attack with such skill that his leading platoon succeeded in achieving complete surprise over the enemy.” They speak of how he personally led his men, the ‘great skill and coolness’ under fire with which he changed tactics with changing circumstances, created diversionary attacks, extricated his wounded, defeated the enemy and withdrew his men by section, remaining personally at the rear in every case.

The British honoured Niazi for “personal leadership, bravery and complete disregard for his own personal safety.” On 15 December 1944 the Viceroy Lord Wavell flew to Imphal and in the presence of Lord Mountbatten knighted Slim and his corps commanders Stopford, Scoones and Christison. Only two ‘Indian’ officers were chosen to be decorated by the Viceroy at that ceremony — ‘Tiger’ Niazi was one of them.

In 1971 Niazi was a highly decorated Pakistani general, twice receiving the Hilal-e-Jurat. He was sent to East Pakistan in April 1971 — part of a sorry tradition in South Asia of political rulers attempting to find military solutions to political problems. By then Tikka Khan had already launched the crackdown of 25 March for which he has been known to Bengalis as the ‘butcher of Bengal’ ever since. The population of East Bengal was completely hostile and Pakistan condemned around the world.

Authoritative scholarly analyses of 1971 are rare. The best work is Richard Sisson and Leo Rose’s War and Secession. Robert Jackson, fellow of All Soul’s College, Oxford, wrote an account shortly after the events. Most of the principal participants did not write about it, a notable exception being Gen. Niazi’s recent memoirs (1998). Some Indian officers have written books of uneven quality — they make for an embarrassing read for what the Indians have to say about one another.

However, a consistent picture emerges from the more objective accounts of the war. Sisson and Rose describe how India started assisting Bengali rebels since April, but “the Mukti Bahini had not been able to prevent the Pakistani army from regaining control over all the major urban centers on the East Pakistani-Indian border and even establishing a tenuous authority in most of the rural areas.” From July to October there was direct involvement of Indian military personnel. “...mid-October to 20 November... Indian artillery was used much more extensively in support ...and Indian military forces, including tanks and air power on a few occasions, were also used...Indian units were withdrawn to Indian territory once their objectives had been brought under the control of the Mukti Bahini — though at times this was only for short periods, as, to the irritation of the Indians, the Mukti Bahini forces rarely held their ground when the Pakistani army launched a counterattack.”

Clearly, the Pakistani army regained East Pakistan for their masters in Islamabad by April-May, creating an opportunity for a political settlement, and held off both Bengali guerrillas and their Indian supporters till November, buying more time — time and opportunity that Pakistan’s rulers and politicians failed to utilise.

Contrary to Indian reports, full-scale war between India and Pakistan started in East Bengal on 21 November, making it a four-week war rather than a ‘lightning campaign’. Sisson and Rose state bluntly: “After the night of 21 November...Indian forces did not withdraw. From 21 to 25 November several Indian army divisions...launched simultaneous military actions on all of the key border regions of East Pakistan, and from all directions, with both armored and air support.” Indian officers like Sukhwant Singh and Lachhman Singh write quite openly in their books about India invading East Pakistani territory in November, which they knew was ‘an act of war’.

None of the outside scholars expected the Eastern garrison to withstand a full Indian invasion. On the contrary, Pakistan’s longstanding strategy was “the defense of the east is in the west”. Jackson writes, “Pakistani forces had largely withdrawn from scattered border-protection duties into cleverly fortified defensive positions at the major centres inside the frontiers, where they held all the major ‘place names’ against Mukti Bahini attacks, and blocked the routes of entry from India...”

Sisson and Rose point out the incongruity of Islamabad tolerating India’s invasion of East Pakistani territory in November. On 30 November Niazi received a message from General Hamid stating, “The whole nation is proud of you and you have their full support.” The same day Islamabad decided to launch an attack in the West on 2 December, later postponed to 3 December, after a two-week wait, but did not inform the Eastern command about it. According to Jackson, the Western offensive was frustrated by 10 December.

Though futile, the Western offensive allowed India to openly invade the East, with overwhelming advantages. “ ...despite all these advantages, the war did not go as smoothly and easily for the Indian army...”, but Sisson and Rose come to the balanced judgment that “The Pakistanis fought hard and well; the Indian army won an impressive victory.” Even Indian officers concede the personal bravery of Niazi and the spirited fight put up by the Pakistanis in the East. That the troops fought so well against such overwhelming odds is a credit both to them, and to their commanders, for an army does not fight well in the absence of good leadership.

However, as Jackson put it, “...India’s success was inevitable from the moment the general war broke out — unless diplomatic intervention could frustrate it.” As is well known, Pakistan failed to secure military or diplomatic intervention. Sisson and Rose also say, “The outcome of the conflict on the eastern front after 6 December was not in doubt, as the Indian military had all the advantages.” On 14 December Niazi received the following message from Yahya Khan: “You have fought a heroic battle against overwhelming odds. The nation is proud of you ...You have now reached a stage where further resistance is no longer humanly possible nor will it serve any useful purpose... You should now take all necessary measures to stop the fighting and preserve the lives of armed forces personnel, all those from West Pakistan and all loyal elements...” Sisson and Rose naturally describe this message as “implying that the armed forces in East Pakistan should surrender”.

No matter how traumatic the outcome of 1971 for Pakistan, the Eastern command did not create the conflict, nor were they responsible for the failure of the political and diplomatic process. Sent to do the dirty work of the political manoeuvrers, the fighting men seem to have performed remarkably well against overwhelming odds. It is shocking therefore to discover that they were not received with honour by their nation on their return. Their commander, Niazi, appears to have been singled out, along with one aide, to be punished arbitrarily with dismissal and denial of pension, without being given the basic right to defend himself through a court-martial, which he asked for.

The commission set up allegedly to examine what had happened in 1971 was too flawed in its terms of reference and report to have any international credibility. However, even its recommendations of holding public trials and court-martials were ignored. There is much for Pakistan to come to terms with what happened in 1971. But the answers don’t lie in unthinking vilification of the fighting men who performed so well in the war against such heavy odds in defence of the national policy. Rather, in failing to honour them, the nation dishonours itself.

Sarmila Bose is Assistant Editor, Ananda Bazar Patrika, India & Visiting Scholar, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

[Top]


Disclaimer: . Authors/senders bear responsibility of the views expressed .MOL may not be held responsible for any views expressed in the text-MOL.