Episode 136 – Military Intervention, Politics, and the Birth of Bangladesh

In this episode, Uzair talks to Shuja Nawaz about 1971 and the events leading up to the birth of Bangladesh. Shuja talks about the political, military, and economic crisis in what was then East Pakistan, the missed opportunities to politically settle the issue, and the disastrous military strategy deployed by Yahya and his cabal.

Shuja Nawaz, a native of Pakistan, was made the first director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council in January 2009. He is currently a distinguished fellow at the Center.

A political and strategic analyst, Mr. Nawaz writes for leading newspapers and websites and speaks on current topics before civic groups, at think tanks, and on radio and television worldwide.

He was a newscaster and news and current affairs producer for Pakistan Television from 1967 to 1972 and covered the western front of the 1971 war between Pakistan and India.

He is the author of The Battle for Pakistan: The Bitter US Friendship and a Tough Neighbourhood (Penguin Random House, 2019 and Rowman & Littlefield 2020), and Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within (Oxford University Press 2008 and 2017).

Reading Recommendations:

-The Transformation of War by Martin van Creveld

-War from the Ground Up by Emile Simpson


0:00 Introduction

1:20 Why is December 16 an important day?

6:20 Was 1971 the result of a political failure?

17:12 Bhutto, America, and Racism

36:50 Fallout of the surrender in Dhaka

44:16 Have we learnt anything from 1971?

48:27 What current crisis in Pakistan

57:38 Reading recommendations