The Daily Star

Your Right To Know
Monday, November 25, 2013

Sample Header adiv

Friday, October 5, 2007

Reaz Rahman on Shehabuddin book

I am prompted to write this letter to tell some truths which Mr. Reaz Rahman in his letter published in The Daily Star on 24 September preferred to conceal. Rahman refers to his crossing over to Afghanistan when he was denied permission to join Bangladesh in 1971. The fact is that Rahman crossed into Afghanistan only in early 1973 with many thousands of other Bengalis who were following the same hazardous route of the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier and from there to Kabul and onward to New Delhi. These people after crossing the frontier to Afghanistan would make their way to the Indian embassy in Kabul and the Indian embassy would in its turn arrange air tickets from Kabul to New Delhi for them by Afghanistan's Aryana Airlines. The Bangladesh High Commission officials in New Delhi were receiving these Bengalis returning from Pakistan via Kabul at Delhi airport and arrange their onward journey to Calcutta and finally their home country.

I know these facts from my experience because I was then a first secretary at the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi. I was the official who received, among many others, Reaz Rahman and his family at Delhi Airport on a winter afternoon in 1973. So Reaz Rahman's crossing over to Afghanistan one full year after the liberation of Bangladesh cannot be considered an instance of credit, much less of patriotism.

Reaz Rahman defends his decision to return to Pakistan in early October of 1971 as he could not trust either Pakistan or India because they had their own games to play. Well, this is the very same defence of the Jamaatis for their hostile role against our liberation war in 1971. The Jamaatis say that they could not trust India. The difference here is that Rahman has added Pakistan with India but then, lo and behold, even then he returns to Pakistan which was a country he could not trust!

More importantly, when the Shehabuddins and the Amjadul Haques were joining the Bangladesh liberation war in Delhi, Calcutta, London, Washington and in many other places, Reaz Rahman could not trust India which was then our biggest partner! The Bengali drivers of the Pakistan High Commission also were deeply moved in 1971 to join the liberation war and Pakistan's then Deputy High Commissioner in Calcutta, Hossain Ali, took over the whole Deputy High Commission with his other 65 Bengali colleagues on 18 April 1971. In those days so many momentous and historical events were taking place every moment. But Reaz Rahman found nothing around him to encourage him to join the liberation war!

By not joining the most momentous event of our history, Reaz Rahman has not lost anything. He has been rather more than amply rewarded. He rose to the highest position in his foreign service career, the post of foreign secretary, and finally minister of state for foreign affairs. That is why he now has the 'courage' to defend his decision not to join the liberation war and maligns the historical role of K M Shehabuddin as the first diplomatic soldier in our liberation war.

Reaz Rahman refers to his father-in-law Hamidul Haque Chowdhury's non-involvement in his decision vis-à-vis 1971. But is it not a coincidence that none of the three sons-in-law of Chowdhury, all of them then in the Pakistan foreign service, opted to join the liberation war? And mind it, all three of them were serving in 1971 in Pakistani diplomatic missions in countries openly or quietly sympathetic to the Bangladesh cause.

Finally, I would request Reaz Rahman not to distort history and the facts of 1971, because it is not only Ambassador K M Shehabuddin who has exposed the role of Reaz Rahman in 1971 in his book 'There and Back Again'.

Mr. Rahman has been described in similar fashion in Major General Khalilur Rahman's book, "Purbapor 1971: Pakistan Shena-Gohbor Theke Dheka" (published by Shahitya Prakash in 2005). There is a chapter on him beginning at page 43 of the book.

I am sorry that this clarification has been rather long. But when someone deliberately decides to distort history, he definitely deserves a befitting reply.

Share on


Rate the story

Awaiting reader response.

Leave Comment

Comment Policy






The Daily Star

©, 1991-2013. All Rights Reserved