Fridayday, December 11, 2015, Agrahayan 27, 1422 BS, Safar 28, 1437 Hijri

Liberation War spirit yet to be realised, says Hafiz
Al Amin
Published :Friday, 11 December, 2015,  Time : 2:02 AM  View Count : 31
Major (Retd) Hafizuddin Ahmed, a veteran freedom fighter and BNP Vice Chairman, has said that the ideals and spirit of 1971 War of Liberation are yet to be achieved in its true perspectives.
"However, I am not completely frustrated as the people who  fought to liberate the country will again fight for implementing the spirit of the Independence and will make the country rich and powerful," he told  the Daily Observer in an interview.
Hafiz ,  a former MP for sixth terms and minister twice , was a great freedom fighter who fought many prominent frontal wars against Pakistani occupation forces. He was decorated with the gallantry award of Bir Bikram for his contribution in the battle field.
Reminiscing the December '71, the BNP leader said, "People fought Liberation War with an earnest hope to attain a country where there would be no deprivation, hunger or exploitation.  Establish-ing democratic rights and fundamental freedom of the people were the other objectives of waging war against the Pakistani occupation forces", he said, lamenting that most of those objectives are yet to be established in the social and national life.
"There is no security of people's lives. The people, who have money, are being freed after committing hundreds of offences. But nobody is punished. Under the circumstances, we are attaining bad names for our nation," an unhappy Hafiz said. "Surely we had not fought liberation war for this", he added.
Hafiz urged the government to respect the opinion of the people and to bring back democracy in the country. 
While recollecting memories of those critical days of the nation when Pakistani occupation forces cracked down on the innocent unarmed people, Major (retd) Hafiz said, " I was at Jagdishpur in Jessore border district as part of a Pakistan military training but was barred from all types of communication. As such, I had no idea of Operation Searchlight by the Pakistan Army and the declaration of independence of Bangladesh".When he returned to the Jessore Cantonment on  March 29, he  came to know that there was an order for the Baloch Regiment to disarm the East Bengal Regiment, and that 25 Baloch Regiment and 3 Frontier Force had taken up positions in front of the cantonment.
The arsenal had been broken by East Bengal non-commissioned officers and soldiers in retaliation. Hafiz joined the Bangladesh Liberation War and asked his commanding officer, Colonel Jalil, to join the war. But Jalil, who maintained contact with MAG Osmani of the Bangladesh Awami League, refused to join the Liberation War.
During the subsequent battle, Hafiz fought with his troops, but realized that the ammunition they had with them would not be adequate to last for more than three hours. So, he started thinking about an exit plan. After fighting relentlessly for almost two hours, he finally escaped from the cantonment with 200 companions.
Later Hafiz crossed the Radcliffe Line, the border between India and the then Pakistan, and reached India. He asked for ammunition from India and learned that almost every unit of the East Bengal Regiment had defected from the Pakistan Army. He also learnt that all such former Pakistan Army units were under the command of General Osmani.
Later Hafiz, under continuous attack from the Pakistani occupation army , maintained a free zone at Jessore, including Benapole BOP, from April to mid-May.
During the second week of May, 1971, Hafiz was ordered to move to Tura in Meghalaya to join the Z Force. He was nominated as a company commander of 1st East Bengal Regiment in Jessore.
He was injured during the Battle of Kamalpur, one of the most significant battles fought by Bangladesh forces in 1971. Later he attacked Dholoi BOP and liberated Sylhet from the Pakistan Army.
The former minister said that the dreams for which they fought against Pakistani Army are yet to be realised due to criminalisation of politics in the country.
"The main objectives of the Liberation War-- democracy, rule of law and the voting rights--have to be ensured. Instead of remaining in power, bringing welfare of the people should be the cardinal motto of our politics", he added.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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