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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Agartala conspiracy and the creation of Bangladesh

Should the individuals involved in the Agartala Conspiracy Case be tried for treason and as traitors post-humously for the creation of Bangladesh

The sinister plot of Bangladesh’s making from East Pakistan had a first strong link with Agartala Conspiracy Case.

Agartala was the city of the Indian state of Tripura, West Bengal, from where all linkages converged for having the underpinning of cooking up a conspiracy that was famed with the name of Agartala Conspiracy.

According to historical records, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, along with 35 accomplices, were blamed for hatching a conspiracy for the separation of East Pakistan through revolt.

Now, going into the entire case is not possible because it can’t be squeezed into one piece of writing. In short, along with 35 other conspirators, Mujeeb Ur Rehman was apprehended in 1968. Tribunal was formed comprising Justice S.A. Rehman, M.R. Khan, and Maqsoom Ul Hakeem. Tribunal proceedings commenced in June 1968.

Justice S.A. Rehman wasn’t Bengali, whereas 2 others were Bengalis. Attorney General T.H. Khan was the prosecutor, whereas Ex Foreign Minister Manzoor Qadir and Thomas William(British) were the lawyers.

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Public protests and intrigues against the Ayub Khan government combined with the threat of boycotting roundtable conference by Mumtaz Doltana led Mujeeb Ur Rehman to be freed in Feb 1969.

Meanwhile, terming entire Conspiracy case as a threat to the sovereignty of Pakistan by the pseudo-intellectuals, endless hatching of blame game by them calling the Government of Pakistan as a backer of the Conspiracy; declared Mujeeb Ur Rehman as patriotic Pakistani(no wonder the style hasn’t changed now as well).

Traitors should be tried posthumously?

During the entire case proceedings, Mujeeb Ur Rehman not even once pleaded guilty; rather repeatedly said and submitted written testimony that he is in favor of a united Pakistan. Agartala case was always promoted and exploited as being ‘irresolvable and difference of opinion issue.’

One specific class of Pakistanis  (which is being rewarded/awarded by Hasina Wajid now) never paused from blaming the establishment for conspiring against the state.

On 22 Feb 2011, at the occasion of 42 anniversary of the Agartala Conspiracy case, Sakhawat Ali stated on the floor of the Bangladesh assembly that Action Committee (Sangum Pareshad) was established under the leadership of Sheikh Mujeeb Ur Rehman for the independence of East Pakistan.

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Sakhawat Ali was a Captain, and amongst 35 people who were arrested for hatching Agartala Conspiracy. Another Member of the Bangladesh Parliament, Tufail Ahmed, added by saying that had had this case not been prepared then, we would have succeeded in establishing Bangladesh without bloodshed in 1968.

The statement is a slap on the face of those who called Mujeeb Ur Rehman as “patriotic” Pakistani and called Agartala as baseless. Their children are still accorded state reception in Bangladesh besides giving awards.

Later on, after 16 December 1971, the crimes of Mukti Bahini, Indian attack on Pakistan, and creation of Al-Shams / Al-Badar, we’re given a historical twist, and only the Indo-Bangla narrative was given wider coverage even in Pakistani media.

Isn’t it time for Pakistan to conduct a treason trial of those pseudo-intellectuals called the Agartala Conspiracy Case baseless?

If Bangladesh can confer awards to their loyalists posthumously, why can’t Pakistan try them for treason after death?

Brig Basit Shuja SI(M)-Retd has done master’s in international relations from the University of Karachi. He has a vast and assorted experience of kinetic and non-kinetic operations during his over three decades of military service in the Pakistan Army.