Bangladesh War of Independence

War of Independence 1971

Bangladesh's great leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after ferociously spearheading the struggle for equality and human rights for the Bengali people in East Pakistan, had built an unprecedented momentum that finally culminated into a strong movement to unify a part of a divided nation (East Pakistan) that was politically and economically disadvantaged and in disarray, resulting in the struggle for independence. The war effort was undermined by India's restrained and weighed support right from its inception. Hamidullah being stationed in East Pakistan with the command of an independent unit, had the unique oppurtunity to join in the independence struggle. On March 26 1971 Bangladesh declared its Independence from Pakistan. March 30 1971 he turned a variable and fled along with his wife and family to make preparations for reporting to the Bangladesh government in exile in Calcutta, India.

He served until 1971 when (effective ) and joined the freedom struggle. Hamidullah under great stress managed to report to the interim Bangladesh Government and was soon assigned as Chief Training Coordinator to Chakulia Guerilla Training Camp. Shortly over a month later he was reassigned to the largest sector, Sector 11 as sub-sector commander at Mankarchar. On Nov 2nd 1971, Hamidullah took charge of the entire Sector 11. His command was official under orders effective November 3rd 1971. Hamidullah made an admission in his memoirs of that guerilla struggle, during which he had the distinguished experience of commanding and directing three different posts.

Contents of War of Independence

Reporting to Bangladesh Gov't-in-Exile

Prime Minister Taj Uddin Ahmed

Colonel Muhammad Ataul Gani Osmani, C-in-C Bangladesh Forces

Chakulia Guerilla Training Camp

Mukti BahiniFreedom Force

Major Ziaur Rahman

Creation and Establishment of Sector 11 and Z-Force

Sub Sector Commander (Mankarchar)

Bangladesh Sector Commanders Conference 1971

The Sector Commanders Conference 1971 during the Bangladesh War of Independence also referred by many as war of liberation was held in the week of July 11-July 17 1971. This conference was significant for shaping and organizing the freedom struggle. The official creation of Bangladesh Forces, its command structuring, sector reorganization, reinforcement and appointing war commanders was its principle focus. This conference was equally presided over by Bangladesh Prime Minister Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed and General Osmani, during which General Muhammad Ataul Gani Osmani received his promotion from Colonel and reinstated from retirement as active duty into the armed forces of Bangladesh as its senior most official. General M A G Osmani had thereby been appointed Commander in Chief of all Bangladesh Forces. Principal participants of this conference was Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan, Major Ziaur Rahman, Wing Commander Bashar, Major Jalil, Captain Haider, Lt. Col. Abdur Rab and Group Captain A.K.Khandaker. Lt.Col Rab was appointed as Chief of Bangladesh Army Staff and Group Captain Khandaker as Deputy Chief of Armed Forces. In this meeting, Bangladesh was divided into Eleven Sectors under Sector Commanders. Each sector was further structured into a combination of sub-sectors, each commanded by a Sub-Sector Commander.The 10th Sector was directly placed under Commander in Chief and included the Naval Commandos as C-in-C痴 special force. These commandos were later absorbed in to the [[Bangladesh Navy]]. Sector Commanders directed the guerrilla warfare against West Pakistani forces. For better efficiency in military operations each of the sectors were divided into a number of sub-sectors. The table below provides a list of the sectors along with the area under each of them, the names of the sector and sub-sectors commanders.

Guerilla Expeditions I

-Landings, Assaults, Ambushes and Raids

Sub-Sector Commander Major Abu Taher, Mahendraganj-Sector HQ

Banga Bir General M.A.G. Osmani - Inspection of Mankarchar and Secured Zones

Major Abu Taher's short tenure as Sector Commander

Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan - Sector Commander

Guerilla Expeditions II

-Landings, Assaults, Ambushes and Raids

P.O.W's and K.I.A's

Moulana Bhasani's Contribution to the Independence War

International Involvement in War of Independence

War Aftermath and India's eventual Exit

War of Independence 1971

List of Sectors and Subsectors - Bangladesh Forces

Sector 1 Area

Area - Chittagong District, Chittagong Hill Tracts, and the entire eastern area of the Noakhali District on the banks of the river Muhuri river.
Sector HQ - Harina.

Sector Commanders

1.Major Ziaur Rahman (April 10th '71 - Jun 25th '71)
2.Major Rafiqul Islam (28th Jun '71 - Feb 14th '72)

Sub Sectors (Commanders)

1.Rishimukh (Captain Shamsul Islam);
2.Sreenagar (Captain Matiur Rahman, Captain Mahfuzur Rahman);
3.Manughat (Captain Mahfuzur Rahman);
4.Tabalchhari (Sergeant Ali Hossain); and
5.Dimagiri (Army Sergreant, name unknown to date).

Sector 2 Area

Districts of Dhaka, Comilla, and Faridpur, and part of Noakhali District.

Sector Commanders

1.Major Khaled Mosharraf (April 10th '71 - Sep 22nd '71)
2.Major ATM Haider (Sector Commander Sept 22nd '71 - December 18th '72)

Sub - Sectors and Commanders

1.Gangasagar, Akhaura and Kasba (Mahbub, Lieutenant Farooq, and Lieutenant Humayun Kabir);
2.Mandabhav (Captain Gaffar); Shalda-nadi (Abdus Saleq Chowdhury);
3.Matinagar (Lieutenant Didarul Alam);
4.Nirbhoypur (Captain Akbar, Lieutant Mahbub);
5.and Rajnagar (Captain Jafar Imam, Captain Shahid, and Lieutenant Imamuzzaman)

Sector 3 Area

Between Churaman Kathi (near Sreemangal) and Sylhet District in the north and Singerbil of Brahmanbaria District

Sector Commanders

1.Major K M Shafiullah (April 10th '71 - July 21st '72)
2.Captain ANM Nuruzzaman (July 23rd '71 - Feb 14th '72)

Sub - Sectors and Commanders

1.Asrambari (Captain Aziz, Captain Ejaz);
2.Baghaibari (Captain Aziz, Captain Ejaz);
3.Hatkata (Captain Matiur Rahman);
4.Simla (Captain Matin);
5.Panchabati (Captain Nasim);
6.Mantala (Captain MSA Bhuyan);
7.Vijoynagar (Captain MSA Bhuyan);
8.Kalachhora (Lieutenant Majumdar);
9.Kalkalia (Lieutenant Golam Helal Morshed); and
10.Bamutia (Lieutenant Sayeed)

Sector 4 Area

From Habiganj District on the north to Kanaighat Police Station on the south along the 100 mile long border with India.
Sector HQ - Karimganj, later transferred to Masimpur

Sector Commanders

1.Major Chittarajan Datta (April 10th '71 - Feb 14th '72)
2.Captain A Rab;

Sub-Sector and Commanders

1.Jalalpur (Masudur Rab Sadi);
2.Barapunji (Captain A Rab);
3.Amlasid (Lieutenant Zahir);
4.Kukital (Flight Lieutenant Kader, Captain Shariful Haq);
5.Kailas Shahar (Lieutenant Wakiuzzaman); and
6.Kamalpur (Captain Enam)

Sector 5 Area

From Durgapur to Danki (Tamabil) of Sylhet District and the entire area up to the eastern borders of the Sylhet District.
Sector HQ - Banshtala.

Sector Commanders

1.Major Mir Shawkat Ali (April 10th '71 - Feb 14th '72)

Sub-Sector and Commanders

1.Muktapur (Sergeant Nazir Hossain, Freedom Fighter Faruq was second in command);
2.Dauki (Sergeant Major BR Chowdhury);
3.Shela (Captain Helal);
4.Bholajanj (Lieutenant Taheruddin Akhunji);
5.Balat (Sergeant Ghani, Captain Salahuddin and Enanmul Haq Chowdhury); and
6.Barachhara (Captain Muslim Uddin).

Sector 6 Area

Almost all of Rangpur District and part of Dinajpur District.
Sector HQ - Burimari near Patgram.

Sector Commanders

1.Wing Commander M Khademul Bashar (April '71 - Feb 14th '72)

Sub-Sector and Commanders

1.Bhajanpur (Captain Nazrul, Flight Lieutenant Sadruddin and Captain Shahriyar);
2.Patgram (initially divided between junior commissioned officers of the EPR and later taken hold by Captain Matiur Rahman);
3.Sahebganj (Captain Nawazesh Uddin);
4.Mogalhat (Captain Delwar); and
5.Chilahati (Flight Lieutenant Iqbal)

Sector 7 Area

Rajshahi District, Pabna District, Bogra District and part of Dinajpur District. Sector HQ - Taranngapur.

Sector Commanders

1.Major Nazmul Haq (April 10th - Aug 20th '71)
2.Major Kazi Nuruzzaman (Aug 21st - Feb 14th '72)
3.Subedar Major A Rab

Sub-Sector and Commanders

1.Malan (initially divided between junior commissioned officers and later taken hold by Captain Mohiuddin Jahangir);
2.Tapan (Major [[Nazmul Haq]], also commanded by commanding officers of the Bangladesh Rifles|EPR;
3.Mehdipur (Subedar Iliyas, Captain Mahiuddin Jahangir);
4.Hamzapur (Captain Idris);
5.Anginabad (unnamed freedom fighter);
6.Sheikhpara (Captain Rashid);
7.Thokrabari (Subedar Muazzam); and
8.Lalgola (Captain Gheyasuddin Chowdhury).

Sector 8 Area

In April 1971, the operational area of the sector comprised the districts of Kushtia District, Jessore District, Khulna District, Barisal District, Faridpur District and Patuakhali District. At the end of May the sector was reconstituted and comprised the districts of Kuhstia, Jessore, Khulna, [[Satkhira District|Satkhira]] and the northern part of Faridpur district.

Sector HQ - Benapole.

Sector Commanders

1.Major Abu Osman Chowdhury (April 10th - July 17th '71)
2.Major MA Manzur (Aug 14th '71 - Feb 14th '72)

Sub-Sector and Commanders

1.Boyra (Captain Khondakar Nazmul Huda);
2.Hakimpur (Captain Shafiq Ullah);
3.Bhomra (Captain Salahuddin, Captain Shahabuddin);
4.Lalbazar (Captain AR Azam Chowdhury);
5.Banpur (Captain Mostafizur Rahman);
6.Benapole (Captain Abdul Halim, Captain Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury); and
7.Shikarpur (Captain Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Lieutenant Jahangir).

Sector 9 Area

Barisal District, Patuakhali District, and parts of the district of Khulna District and Faridpur District.

Sector Commanders

1.Major M A Jalil (July 17th - Dec 24th 1971)
2.Major MA Manzur
3.Major Joynal Abedin

Sub-Sector and Commanders


Sector 10 Area

This sector was constituted with the naval commandos.

Commander HQ BD Forces (Dec 3rd - Dec 16th 1971)

Sector 11

Area - Mymensingh District and Tangail District along with parts of Rangpur District, Gaibandha District, Ulipur Upazila|Ulipur, Kamalpur and Chilmari Upazila.

Sector HQ - Teldhala, transferred to Mahendraganj October 10th 1971.

Sector Commanders

1.Major Ziaur Rahman (June 27th '71 - Oct 10th '71)
2* Major Abu Taher (Oct 10 - Nov 2nd '71) suffered a mine blast injury. Service discharged by medical board - Nov 14th '71 in Pune, India, due to leg amputation. Temporarily reinstated BD Army Spring 1972*
3.Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan (Nov 2nd '71 - Feb 14th '72)

Sub-Sectors and Commanders

1.Mankarchar (Squadron Leader M.Hamidullah Khan);
2.Mahendraganj (Major Abu Taher; Lieutenant Mannan);
3.Purakhasia (Lieutenant Hashem);
4.Dhalu (Lieutenant Taher; Lieutenant Kamal);
5.Rangra (Matiur Rahman)
6.Shivabari (divided between junior commissioned officers of the EPR);
7.Bagmara (divided between junior commissioned officers of the EPR); and
8.Maheshkhola (a member of the EPR).

Three Zonal Commands consisting of Regular Infantry Brigades

''Z Force'' - Commander - Lt.Col Ziaur Rahman, consisted of 1, 3 and 8 East Bengal Regiments.

1st East Bengal Regiment - Commanding Officer -

3rd East Bengal Regiment - Commanding Officer - Major Shafaat Jamil

8th East Bengal Regiment - Commanding Officer -

''K Force'' - Commander - Lt.Col Khaled Mosharraf, consisted of 4, 9 and 10 East Bengal Regiments.

4th East Bengal Regiment - Commanding Officer -

9th East Bengal Regiment - Commanding Officer -

10th East Bengal Regiment - Commanding Officer -

''S Force'' - auspices of BSF(Indian authorities) Represented by Lt.Col Shafiullah, was created end of October 1971 and consisted of 2 and 11 East Bengal Regiments.

2nd East Bengal Regiment - Commanding Officer -

11th East Bengal Regiment - Commanding Officer -

Bangladesh Sector Commanders Conference 1972

After the 9(nine) month bloody struggle for independence, the second and final Bangladesh Sector Commanders Conference was held on January the 29th 1972 at 27 Mintu Road chaired by Bangladesh Forces Commander-in-Chief General M.A.G. Osmani. This final conference began with General Osmani speech regarding range of issues and greivances. Furthermore he issued several directives and initiatives. The Commander-in-Chief directed that all camps, camp headquarters under all sectors and sub sectors be consolidated and dismanteled by effective 14th February, 1972. All types of captured waeponry and armament to be deposited to the relevant authorities and relevant certificates and awards to be drawn up for qualified recipients. Prior to this conference under General Osmani's authorised a small commission for creating and naming gallantry awards. Under this directive Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan with assistance from Dhaka University recommended the four names for gallantry awards to be Bir Shrestha, Bir Uttam, Bir Bikram and Bir Pratik. Subsequently, they were forwarded to General Osmani. He summoned Group Captain A.K.Khandakar and appointed him as Convenor. Rehabilitation of members of Bangladesh Armed Forces including civilian militia members(mukti bahini) were also discussed at this conference. Many qualified personnel were inducted into different service branches. It was at this conference General Osmani authorised the East Pakistan Rifles to be reformed and renamed Bangladesh Rifles. The famous group photograph of Bangladesh Forces War Commanders under the Bangladesh Flag with C-in-C General M.A.G. Osmani at the centre along with all Force and Sector Commanders was taken.

-Gallantry Award Committee

-Sector Dissolvement

International Involvement

Bangladesh Forces received measured logistical assistance from Indira's government, albeit heavily politicised. Mujib was interned in Pakistan, while senior members of his party having no experience in any field of governance whatsoever with the exception of a few, easily heeded to the wishes of the Indian government of Indira Gandhi. Representatives of the Bangladesh government had issued directives in conducting the war in accordance to many of Indira's political wishes. This had complicated the war effort in a number of fronts. Many of the schemes backfired on the ground. Ultimately, On November 21 1971, by the time all Bangladesh Forces had severely under-cut the strength of the West Pakistani Forces, under a complicated politico-military scenario, a demand of the Government of India was conceded to by the Bangladesh Government-in-exile. The Bangladesh government in exile had handed over the entire command and control of the war effort to the Indian army, which kept a keen eye on the war's developments. Once realising that Bangladesh Forces under General Osmani's command virtually brought the Pakistan forces to its knees in a guerilla struggle, on a terrain unknown and alien to West Pakistani troops, Indira's government in the first opening grasped the oppurtunity. Under the official guise of coalition forces, the Indian forces attacked several well formated attacks with all Bengali men in the front lines. Pakistan without choice reluctantly declared war on India 12 days later, perceived widely as a preemptive strike. The next day India landed a large number of troops into Bangladesh, sidelined Bangladesh Forces in the long planned and organised attack by Bangladesh Sector Forces of capturing Dhaka, and in a short span of over a week convinced Pakistan to peacefully surrender. Militarily Pakistan had nil options. The morally broken and militarily devastated by BD Forces, the Pakistani Army, on December 16 1971, without defiance in about week and a half, peacefully surrendered itself to the Indian army. Victory was declared by the Indian authorities and all 45,000 Pakistani were taken as prisoners of war including combat material to India, with the Indian army taking control of the entire capital and all other major military and civilian installations inside independent Bangladesh remaining until mid-March 1972. The Bangladesh government in exile with its Commander in Chief General Osmani and the entire Bangladesh Forces was barred from attending the ceremony of surrender of the Pakistan Army on December 16. While the end of the war was an ever ending triumph, it was however a sordid one in the historical context. The Indian army remained on Bangladesh soil as an occupying force until March 17 1972, a further two and a half months after Mujib set up his government when Indira Gandhi made a ceremonial visit, a painful final withdrawal was initiated. India's government of Indira Gandhi have gone unprecedented lengths in trying to internationalise Bangladesh's independence war as their struggle and gift to the people of Bangladesh, belittling years of remonstrance and difficult efforts undertaken by great Bengali leaders, like A.K Fazlul Haque, Suhrawardy, Moulana Bhasani and most significatly the fierce dissent and mass organisation and revolt of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. With the pure advantage of simplicity and all clarity the undeniable fact of India's behaviour and intentions are gradually exposing without even telling.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

To this day governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh have not signed a single document officially ending the war and recognising each other. Four years later however an international occasion of Islamic unity did spur that particular recognition only in declaration. In all sense of history and to all Bangladeshis these facts will remain insulting and linger mistrust as it certainly added much to sour relations between Bangladesh and India to this day. In the national interest of Bangladesh, its history and the future generations, Hamidullah Khan has reportedly requested Prime Minister Khaleda Zia during her 2001-2006 tenure for the urgent need of forming an independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission and tasking it with critically reviewing and revealing the results of events and activities including premature wrongdoings or misjudgements taken by members of the Bangladesh government-in-exile and inside Bangladesh since independence, and also by different political and armed factions during the war of independence in 1971, its immediate aftermath, and the ensuing years, in the hope of resolving conflict and serious misunderstandings left over from that past that has heavily contributed to the internal, political, social and media unrest that exists today.