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Tuesday, 3 October, 2000, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Pakistan to publish war report
Pakistan soldiers
The report is said to criticise the army's actions
Pakistan's military ruler, General Musharraf, says he will publish a version of a long-withheld report on the events of 1971 when Bangladesh broke away to become an independent state.

In comments late on Monday, General Musharraf said the report would be published except for sections dealing with international relations.


What happened in '71 was a disgrace to the nation... Why the hue and cry now?

General Pervez Musharraf
The report dates back to the 1970s when the then Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, appointed a commission under Supreme Court Chief Justice Hamoodur Rehman to look into the war.

The inquiry was completed in 1974 - but successive governments, citing national interest, did not make the report public.

'Disgrace'

However, its findings were recently published by the Indian magazine, India Today.

Their version showed the report heavily criticising several top-ranking Pakistani army personnel, calling for them to be court-martialled

The war ended in December 1971, with some 90,000 Pakistani personnel in Bangladesh surrendering after India intervened.

General Musharraf indicated that he did not believe action was called for against former senior officers.

"What happened in '71 was a disgrace to the nation. Should we remember such disgraces?" he asked.

"Why the hue and cry now when most of the people are not alive?"

Bangladesh row

The report was recently at the centre of a row between Pakistan and Bangladesh over calls from Dhaka for Pakistanis allegedly involved in war crimes in 1971 to be put on trial.

Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina: Demanded action over 1971
General Musharraf criticised the Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, for her comments on the matter, and remarks she made at the UN against military regimes.

Dhaka says at least three million Bengalis were killed in 1971 when Pakistani forces attempted to suppress Bengali nationalist agitation.

Pakistan has asked Bangladesh not revive memories of the war, saying they could damage future relations.

The BBC's Zafar Abbas in Islamabad says the decision to publish parts of the report has less to do with pressure from Bangladesh than with calls from politicians and intellectuals in Pakistan.

He says that ever since excerpts appeared in India Today, demands have grown in Pakistan for the report to be published, and pressure may now increase for its recommendations to be implemented.

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See also:

15 Sep 00 | South Asia
Musharraf criticises Bangladesh premier
12 Sep 00 | South Asia
Hasina surprised by Musharraf 'snub'
30 Aug 00 | South Asia
Bangladesh requests war report
31 Jul 00 | South Asia
Pakistan after the coup: Special report
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