The creation of Bangladesh and the role of Pakistani media

On December 16, 1971 the Pakistan army in Bangladesh unconditionally surrendered to the joint Indian and Bangladeshi forces. With the signing of the Instrument of Surrender, Bangladesh came into being and united Pakistan was at an end.

However, in Pakistan the state-controlled and censored media was in denial. The Dawn newspaper, published from Karachi, declared: “WAR TILL VICTORY”. The story of the Pakistani surrender was contained in one sentence of an article entitled “Fighting ends in East Wing: PAF hits in West”. The surrender was spun as follows:

“Latest reports indicate that following an arrangement between the local commanders of India and Pakistan in the Eastern theatre, fighting has ceased in East Pakistan and Indian troops have entered Dacca.”

Below are the front pages of the Dawn newspaper from December 4, 1971 to December 20, 1971. The headlines chronicle the unraveling of the false reality created by the military regime in the last days of united Pakistan

December 4, 1971

India enters the war on December 3, 1971 to stop the genocide in Bangladesh.

December 5, 1971

December 6, 1971

December 7, 1971

December 8, 1971

December 9, 1971

December 10, 1971

December 11, 1971

December 12, 1971

December 13, 1971

December 14, 1971

December 15, 1971

The tone of the reporting changes, indicating for the first time that the war is not going well.

December 16, 1971

December 17, 1971

Pakistan army in Bangladesh unconditionally surrenders.

December 18, 1971

December 19, 1971

December 20, 1971

Yahya Khan’s government collapses and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto takes over in Pakistan.



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