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Date: Thu, 22 Oct 98 22:22:50 CDT
From: ndatta@aol.com
Subject: Bangladesh: Pinochet and Tikka: Birds of a Feather!
Organization: Deja News - The Leader in Internet Discussion
Article: 45946
Message-ID: <bulk.26276.19981024001635@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

News From Bangladesh
Daily Internet Edition

Pinochet and Tikka: Birds of same feather!

By A.H. Jaffor Ullah, <jhankar@bellsouth.net>
22 October 1998

It seems as if retired General Pinochet the infamous Chilean despot of the last two decades is in serious trouble now. He came to the island nation of UK to have a minor operation of some kind. After a brief convalescence, as he was getting ready to leave for Chile, the lawmen of the island nation converged on him and arrested him at the request of Spanish government.

You see General Augusto Pinochet has a checkered past even though he ruled the South American nation of Chile with an iron-grip from 1973 through 1990. He was so powerful and popular among army that he wanted to be the president of Chile for life. Too bad, a plebiscite held in 1988 had all but rejected his candidacy as president beyond 1990. He was, however, able to secure a position in the senate of his country. He is now Senator Pinochet.

In 1973, General Pinochet staged a violent coup to grab power from President Salvador Allende, a democratically elected socialist. In that violent coup, the military bombed the presidential palace from airplane and President Allende died in the palace. President Allende was the leader of the left-wing Unidad Popular coalition, which promised a ‘transition to socialism.’ The decade 1970s was mired with East-West Cold War tension throughout the globe. The news of socialist Allende’s ascension to power in the Western Hemisphere caused some commotion in the West. It was rumored that CIA had a direct hand in the removal of Allende. Chilean army executed the coup plan flawlessly and General Augusto Pinochet became a permanent fixture in Chilean politics. However, there was a price tag to keep the unpopular general as head of state in Chile. Pinochet and his army launched a reign of terror in the aftermath of coup, especially in the colleges and universities where Allende had grassroots support. Thousands of university-college students were forcibly taken from the campus. Most never returned alive. Their bodies were found scattered all over Santiago in shallow graves.

Octogenarian Pinochet thought the world had all but forgotten his misdeeds. In Chile, the powerful army provides him the needed protection, and there are some loyalists in the senate too. Thus, no one in Chile had ever lodged any protest against him in the court of law. The Spanish government, however, never gave up on Pinochet. Some Spanish citizens were murdered in Chile during the reign of terror while Pinochet was president. Now that Pinochet is recuperating in UK, the Spanish government has asked the UK authority to arrest Pinochet for committing crime against humanity. They want to extradite Pinochet to Spain so that the aging general can stand trial for his misdeeds. I sincerely hope General Pinochet will have a date with the Spanish court in Madrid soon.

Is there any lesson for us from Pinochet' present predicament?

Let me now turn to another sad chapter of human follies and misadventure. That misadventure took place just two years before the socialist president Allende was killed by the violent coup of General Pinochet. The year was 1971 and place was Bangladesh.

Pakistani army sought the help of some rouge army generals of West Pakistan to carry out a systematic genocide in Bangladesh. Among the rouge generals, the notables were Tikka Khan, Rao Farman Ali Khan, Niazi, etc. There were other military men in Islamabad who also participated in Bangladesh holocaust. Although they never stepped on Bangladesh during the period, nevertheless, they masterminded the whole operation siting in the comfort of their barracks. General Hameed Gul was one such conspirator.

These retired army generals are still alive in Pakistan and are respected citizens of the land. Indeed crime pays in Pakistan because some of these murderers occupied some important positions under various regimes. Tikka Khan became president of Pakistan People’s Party and later became the governor of Punjab. General Hameed Gul became the chief spy of Pakistan and became adviser to many Prime Ministers and president. I’m sure Rao Farman Ali also had risen through the ranks and files. All in all, these perpetrators of Bengali genocide were rewarded for their “services” by Pakistan. The truth to the matter is that Pakistan is yet to apologize for the misdeeds of these army generals. There was some talk about this apology issue in certain quarters of Pakistan. But the talk did not go too far. It was simply squished by army.

As a leader of Bangladesh, the Prime Minister should vociferously protest to Pakistani government to bring the goon squad of Tikka, Farman Ali, Niazi, Hameed Gul, and others to justice. Their hands are stained with the blood of murdered Bengalis. A crime of this magnitude should never go unpunished.

The Bengalis should start a campaign against these retired Pakistani generals. We can most certainly write articles depicting the crime they had perpetrated against innocent civilians. These are crime against humanity. We have international court in The Hague, The Netherlands. If Spanish government could persuade the British authorities to arrest Pinochet, why cannot we persuade the civilized nations to arrest the masterminds of Bangladesh genocide? Better yet, let us ask Pakistani government to arrest the high priests of Pakistani army responsible for Bangladesh genocide during 1971. Is it too much to ask?

I hope General Pinochet receives his deserving punishment from the Spanish court. Who says crime pays! Today it is General Pinochet who is making the headlines; tomorrow it may be Tikka Khan. I hope evil Tikka is paying attention to all of these.

A.H. Jaffor Ullah writes from New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
His e-mail address: jhankar@bellsouth.net

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