By Asraful Huq and Mahmudul Hasan Raju
DHAKA, Dec 15, 2016 (BSS) - Commander of Pakistani occupation forces in 1971 Lieutenant General AAK Niazi was near to tears as he signed the instrument of surrender conceding complete defeat, according to two foreign journalist who witnessed the event.
Journalist James P. Sterba of the New York Times and Peter O'Loughlin of the Times of London were two of the newsmen who covered the December 16, 1971 surrender of the Pakistani troops to allied forces on the then Race Course Maidan in Dhaka.
In his report titled "In Dacca, the Killings Persist Amid Revelry", Sterba wrote after signing the surrender papers "General Niazi stood up in tears and slowly unstrapped his pistol to hand it over to Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, commander of India's eastern forces, wearing a chartreuse turban".
"General Niazi, his face expressionless, was also cursed. General Aurora was smiling", he wrote.
Describing the period prior to sign the surrender document, the report also said West Pakistan's military adviser to the old civil government, Major General Rao Firman Al "stood isolated and silent as insult were barked at him by young Bengalis".
"Butcher" - One yelled at the man who had talked privately of the fruitlessness of attempting to stop the inevitable independence of East Pakistan," the report read.
All the while, Sterba wrote, a young Bengali held the flag of Bangladesh just above the Pakistani general's (Niazi) head soon after penning the surrender papers.
"A Bengali, searching for the Pakistani officers, shouted - Where are the killer bastards?," he wrote.
O'Loughlin's report headlined "Pakistani General, Near to Tears, Signs at Racecourse Ceremony" where he recalled shooting was still sounded in the background as in fading light. He said crowds surrounded a table set up in front of Dhaka Racecourse and "Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, looking grim, signed the terms of surrender".
"Hundreds of Bengalis shouting Joy Bangla were kept back by Indian troops who cordoned off the Racecourse. General Niazi was near to tears as he moved away, surrounded by cheering Bangladesh people" the report read.
Quoting Lieutenant Colonel BP Hikhye, an Indian officer who witnessed the surrender ceremony, he also wrote, "Then Aurora stripped Niazi's insignia of rank off his shoulders -- it is the custom".
"The Pakistan troops who had arms laid them down, Aurora was raised on the shoulders of the crowd and every Indian officer was mobbed by people throwing flowers," the report said.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)