Bhutto, Sheikh Mujib and Hamid Mir

Apr 21st, 2011 | By | Category: Jang

In Daily Jang of 18 April, Hamid Mir tells the tale of a recent trip to Dhaka for a journalism conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of English newspaper Daily Star. But the story is not about journalism rather it is about American conspiracies in which Hamid Mir claims that the assassinations of Bhutto and Sheikh Mujib both were plots masterminded by the USA.

Hamid Mir: Bhutto, Sheikh Mujib Aur America

Hamid Mir tells that “The mastermind behind the two murders appears to be America”, but he offers no evidence to support this claim. Actually, the sources that he does reference, specifically the research of American journalist Lawrence Lifschultz, suggest that the US intelligence agencies knew that Bangladeshi soldiers were plotting a coup, but not that the Americans organized or supported such acts. This should come as no surprise as it is the job of intelligence agencies to know secrets. But there is an important difference between knowing about a coup before it happens and orchestrating or supporting such an act.

More importantly, the report of Mr Lawrence LifschultzAnatomy of a Coup: A Journey of a Quarter Century” published in Daily Star in 2000 tells a much more complicated story of the killing of Sheikh Mujib than is admitted by Hamid Mir.

According to Mr Lifschultz, “the American Ambassador, Davis Eugene Booster, gave strict orders that all contacts with the group planning the coup be broken off. In January 1975, we came to an understanding in the embassy that we would stay out of it.” Sources of Mr Lifschultz 25 years later have said that even though the official policy of the USA was to “stay out of it”, some CIA officers have have had meetings with the coup plotters so that they would not be taken by surprise. But this is far different from being the “mastermind” as Hamid Mir claims.

Actually, the story is even more complicated which Hamid Mir would know if he had read Mr Lifschultz’s reporting. According to a declassified secret White House memorandum referred to by Mr Lifschultz the US was on the side of Pakistan and against India in 1971.

[The President] “holds no brief” for what President Yahya has done. The US “must not–cannot–allow” India to use the refugees as a pretext for breaking up Pakistan. The President said with a great deal of emphasis that he is “convinced” that that is what India wants to do.

The American President went on to tell his national security team that

If there is a war, I will go on national television and ask Congress to cut off all aid to India. They won’t get a dime.

Speaking of the political situation, the American President said the following:

It is not our job to determine the political future of Pakistan. The Pakistanis have to work out their own future.

The American President also made very clear that

“We can’t allow India to dictate the political future of East Pakistan.”

Throughout this top secret memorandum, the White House is very clear that they support Pakistan, not India, and that they do not want to see Pakistan divided and believe it is up to Pakistan to determine its own future. The only reference to a possible coup comes near the end of the memo when Under Secretary of State Mr John Irwin tells the president that

“We have had reports in recent days of the possibility that some Awami League leaders in Calcutta want to negotiate with Yahya on the basis of giving up their claim for the independence of East Pakistan.”

According to Mr Lifschultz report, the coup was masterminded not by CIA. Rather he states very clearly that

The coup itself was an inside job by right wing elements within Mujib’s own party, his own cabinet, his own secretariat, and his own national intelligence service, who viewed Mujib’s leadership as no longer capable of holding out against a left wing challenge to their interests.

But that is not what Hamid Mir tells his readers. According to Hamid Mir, “Sheikh Mujib and Bhutto had reached a settlement to share power” and the Americans masterminded the murder of Sheikh Mujib and Bhutto “because they appeared increasingly inclined towards China”. But this directly contradicts Mir’s source Mr Lawrence Lifschultz who notes that

Henry Kissinger [was] then working with Pakistan’s military junta, through whom he was simultaneously channelling the most sensitive negotiations of his career – those with China…

The Americans were not worried about Pakistan being inclined towards China. Actually the Americans required Pakistan’s relationship with China to facilitate secret talks between the US and China during the cold war. But that is not all. Hamid Mir’s claim of a US masterminded coup also directly contradicts his own source and the top secret White House memorandum of the time.


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