There is no parallel in contemporary history to the cataclysm which engulfed Pakistan in 1971. A tragic civil war, which rent asunder the people of the two parts of Pakistan, was seized by India as an opportunity for armed intervention. The country was dismembered, its economy shattered and the nation's self-confidence totally undermined. Ninety-three thousand prisoners of war were taken, including 15,000 civilian men, women and children. Considerable territory on the western front was overrun and occupied by India.
It was in this situation that, as the leader of the Pakistan People's Party, West Pakistan's largest political party in the National Assembly, I was called upon to assume the office of President. My foremost aim was to begin the task of reconstruction, economic, political and psychological, and to initiate processes which would produce the environment of peace in which alone such reconstruction could be successful. It was a formidable task.
Few observers abroad have any idea of the complex problems involved in Pakistan's regaining her sense of identity. If Pakistan had been dismembered by a civil war alone-tragic though that would have been-an adjustment to a new order would not have been so hard to achieve. But Pakistan had been the victim of unabashed aggression: her eastern part seized by Indian forces. It was this fact that made it difficult for our people to be reconciled to the fait accompli, more so because the invasion was not an isolated phenomenon. On the contrary, it was but the climax of a long series of hostile and aggressive acts by India against Pakistan since the establishment of the two as sovereign and independent states. Soon after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, India totally disregarded not only the principles on which partition had been effected but all norms of international conduct by sending her troops into Kashmir, a Muslim- majority area, in defense of a Hindu maharaja who had been ousted by his rebellious subjects. Subsequently, India refused to allow the people of Kashmir
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