Population Control is no Shame – Pakistan has no oil and Electricity or Gas

fertility in check

-Photo by Fayyaz Ahmed
-Photo by Fayyaz Ahmed

While contraceptives do help with family planning, what really helps is preventing women from marrying very young.A survey in Pakistan revealed that women under 19 years of age at marriage were much more likely to give birth to five or more children than those who were at least 19 years old at marriage. The same survey also revealed that visit by family planning staff did not have a significant impact on reducing fertility rates. Instead, women who watched family planning commercials on TV were much less likely to have very large families.

Being the sixth most populous nation in the world, Pakistanis are also exposed to disease, violence, and natural disasters, which increase the odds of losing children to accidents or disease. At the same time, many consider the use of contraceptives to be un-Islamic. In addition, the preference for a male offspring is also widespread. As a result, Pakistani parents are inclined to have several children. The immediate task for the governments in Pakistan is to ensure that the rate of decline in fertility rates observed over the past two decades continues. At the same time, the governments in Pakistan should learn from Bangladesh that has made significant progress in stemming the population tide.

Source: The World Bank (2013) – Graph generated by Murtaza Haider.
Source: The World Bank (2013) – Graph generated by Murtaza Haider.

Getting down to two children per family may seem an elusive target, however, Pakistanis have made huge dents in the alarmingly high fertility rates, despite the widespread opposition to family planning. Since 1988, the fertility rate in Pakistan has declined from 6.2 births per woman to 3.5 in 2009. In a country where the religious and other conservatives oppose all forms of family planning, a decline of 44 per cent in fertility rate is nothing short of a miracle.

A recent paper explores the impact of family planning programs in Pakistan. The paper uses data from the 2006-07 Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey, which interviewed 10, 023 ever-married women between the ages of 15 and 49 years. The survey revealed that only 30 per cent women used contraceptives in Pakistan. Though the paper in its current draft has several shortcomings, yet it still offers several insights into what contributes to high fertility and what the effective strategies are to check high fertility rates in Pakistan.

The survey revealed that the use of contraceptives did not have any significant impact for women who had given birth to six or more children. While 24 per cent women who were not using any contraceptives reported six or more births, 37 per cent of those who used contraceptives reported six or more births. At the same time, 27 per cent of women who were not visited by the family planning staff reported six or more births compared with 22 per cent of women who had a visit with the family planning staff.

Meanwhile, demographic and socio-economic factors reported strong correlation with the fertility outcomes. Women who were at least 19 years old at marriage were much less likely to have four or more births than those who were younger at the time of marriage. Similarly, those who gave birth before they turned 19 were much more likely to have four or more births.

Education also reported strong correlation with fertility outcomes. Consider that 58 per cent of illiterate women reported four or more births compared to 21 per cent of those who were highly educated. Similarly, 60 per cent of the women married to illiterate men reported four or more births compared to 39 per cent of the women married to highly educated men. The survey revealed that literacy among women mattered more for reducing fertility rates than literacy among their husbands.

The underlying variable that defines literacy and the prevalence of contraceptives in Pakistan is the economic status of the households. The survey revealed that 32 per cent of women from poor households reported six or more births compared to 21 per cent of those who were from affluent households.

The above results suggest that family planning efforts in Pakistan are likely to succeed if the focus is on educating young women. Educated young women are likely to get married later and will have fewer children. This is also supported by a comprehensive study by the World Bank in which Andaleeb Alam and others observed that cash transfer programs in Punjab to support female education resulted in a nine percentage point increase in female enrollment. At the same time, the authors found that those girls who participated in the program delayed their marriage and had fewer births by the time they turned 19.

“In fact, women in Punjab with middle and high school education have around 1.8 fewer children than those with lower than middle school education by the end of their reproductive life. Simple extrapolations also indicate that the 1.4 year delay in marriage of beneficiaries associated with the program could lead to 0.4 fewer births by the end of their childbearing years.”

The religious fundamentalists in Pakistan will continue to oppose family planning programs. They cannot, however, oppose the education of young women. The results presented here suggest that high fertility rates could be checked effectively by improving young women’s access to education. At the same time, educated mothers are the best resource for raising an educated nation.

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General Qazi looted Pak Railway under Gen Musharraf

Updated 2013-08-31 07:06:04

ISLAMABAD: If a federal minister is to be believed he intends to send a retired army general and former railways minister behind bars for causing a severe haemorrhage of the institution.

Painting a bleak picture of the state of railways in the National Assembly on Friday, Khwaja Saad Rafique said the organisation had been bleeding profusely since 2000 at the hands of its managers and at present it was literally on a ‘life support system’.

He lashed out at retired Lt Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi for triggering collapse of the Pakistan Railways in 2002 as its minister and said he was waiting for the appointment of a new chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file cases against the general.

“We have done the homework and the moment a new NAB chairman, whose appointment is due, takes charge, we will bring all those, including Gen Qazi, to the dock for causing irrevocable losses to the organisation,” Mr Rafique said.

It may be mentioned here that Gen Qazi and a number of PR officials were accused of being involved in the controversial leasing of railways land in Lahore to a private company which built a golf. A special parliamentary committee of the previous National Assembly had recommended filing of criminal cases against people involved in the leasing of the land. According to the findings of the committee, the deal caused losses of over Rs25 billion.

“Until now many officials of the PR have served sentences for their part in its mismanagement, and some are serving, but so far none of the big guns has been held accountable,” Mr Rafique said, adding that time had come to bring them to book. “I will not spare anybody.”

The minister was replying to lawmakers’ questions about how soon the government would be able to bring some improvement in the operations of the railways which over the years had severely deteriorated.

“At the moment the entire fleet the PR locomotives have completed their shelf lives and one can well imagine how trains are being managed,” he said.

The PR is running 96 passenger trains in the country and at least during the current financial year the government can’t afford to start any new train due to shortage of engines.

About a deal for importing 75 locomotives from China signed by the PPP government, the minister said not only had the contract been cancelled but the Chinese company had also been blacklisted.

“It was the same company which provided 69 faulty engines in 2002. Notwithstanding the Chinese government’s pressure, I have also through the Foreign Office filed a claim of Rs2.5bn against the company.”

Sharing details of how the PR had suffered because of sheer ineptitude of its former bosses, Mr Rafique said: “I got the shock of my life when I was told that the director general (legal) of the PR is not a law graduate.”

He said the ministry was hiring a former high court judge as director of legal affairs to retrieve its land from illegal occupants.

He said the railways had suffered a loss of Rs32bn in 2012-13, which he hoped would be curtailed because he had recently managed to put about 10 redundant locomotives back on the tracks after maintenance. The PR also has to repay loans of Rs71bn.

The minister said in a written answer that the railways owned 167,690 acres of land which, if put to use, could be of great help in ending its losses.

New Electricity Plants in Pakistan

CONGRATULATIONS PAKISTAN. Decades pass and then ONE GOOD News ?
Pakistan HAS NO Money to BUILD future of PAKISTANIS. Pakistan needs FOREIGN AID investment from UAE to CHINA’s skills to build BASIC RUINED NEEDS of Electricity. And THEN will COME time to COLLECT electricity BILLS of these GENERATORS. In 20 years of OPERATION these PLANTS will have NO Spare Parts. Like RAILWAY of today.

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This is NOT proud photo of Pakistani ACHIEVEMENT !!! Just a ruined little electricity COLLECTION ability country thinking CHEAP future ELECTRICITY !!!
NO MULLAH, or DEAD ZIA ul HAQ or PPP or PML or PTI or USA or SAUDIA can PROVIDE you CHEAP CHEAP electricity. Its just BRAINWASH ruined MENTALITY that we even think ELECTRICITY is like a bus or car = Foreign QUALITY countries can send you on SHIPS. Price Controlled ELECTRICITY is like Pak Railway and Pak Schools = LISTEN = you get what you pay for. More Zias and more Osamas but no QUALITY. Look at Price Controlled RAILWAY and FAILED CHEAP SCHOOLS and HOSPITALS for majority of Pakistanis.

(IWCCI) lauded the decision of the government to phase out power subsidies

BUSINESS PERISCOPE : Govt’s decision to cut power subsidies hailed

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201379\story_9-7-2013_pg10_1

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) lauded the decision of the government to phase out power subsidies gradually terming it in the best interest of country. It is very difficult for Pakistan to survive without foreign aid in presence of power sector and energy subsidies, Farida Rashid said. The subsidies have not benefited poor but rich while it misbalances the budget. Subsidies leave little funds with government to spend of public welfare, it boost demand while reduces investment in renewable. Subsidies also contributes to social injustice, discourages private sector and push up the global warming, she added. She said losses of the power subsidy have reached to an extent that it has become an issue of national security. Last year our oil import bill was $14 billion, which will touch mark of $50 billion in seven years, enough to leave Pakistan bankrupt. app

Reasons for declining fertility rates in Pakistan.

Pakistan sixth most populous country in world: survey

* Life expectancy increased from 65.8% (female) and 63.9% (male) in 2010-11 to 66.1% (f) and 64.3% (m) in 2011-12

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20136\17\story_17-6-2013_pg12_7

KARACHI: Pakistan is sixth most populous country in the world with an estimated population of 184.35 million in 2012-2013.

The growth rate of population during 2012-2013 is 2.0 percent. Under current circumstances, it is expected that Pakistan will attain fifth position in the world in terms of total population in 2050.

According to new Economic Survey of Pakistan 2012-13, the comparison of population data published by Population Reference Bureau shows that the world population growth rate reduced from 1.4 percent in 2011 to 1 percent in 2012. Nevertheless the decreased growth rate added 71 million people in global population, and the total world population crossed the figure of seven billion at the end of June 2012. Each year the number of human beings is on the rise, but the availability of natural resources, required to sustain this population, to improve the quality of human lives and to eliminate mass poverty remains finite.

Resultantly, these resources are becoming scarce and incapable of fulfilling ever increasing demand of population. The main affectees of increasing population are the developing countries where population growth rate is higher than developed countries while availability and use of natural resources is scarce as compared to developed world. However, this issue can be handled by advancement in technology and human resource development.

Increased investment in the technological development and higher labour productivity through improvement in education, health and training facilities are the main modes of increasing productivity of human resources.

People are living longer in both industrial and developing countries because of increased access to immunisation, primary health care, and disease eradication programs. In Pakistan, life expectancy has also increased from 65.8 (female) and 63.9 (male) in 2010-11 to 66.1 (female) and 64.3 (male) in 2011-12.

Age composition of a population is the number of people in different age groups in a country. It is one of the most basic characteristics of a population. A person’s age influence what he needs, buys, does, and thinks. The study of age composition of population is also helpful in determining the proportion of the labour force in total population. It also facilitates in understanding about the dependent population, longevity and aged population. According to age composition, population of a nation is categorized into three broad groups. These are Children (young), adult (middle age) and aged (old age).

The adult population is considered as wealth of a nation in terms of human resource. Adult population (15-59) has increased from 104 million in 2011 to 110 million in 2013. This age structure of a population affects a nation’s key socioeconomic issues. These people are economically productive and they comprise the working population.

Nevertheless, the rapid growth in this group can become problematic, if they are unable to find employment. However, the government with appropriate polices can utilise this youth bulge for the development of the economy. The population in third group (60 years and above) has shown a mild increase i.e. less than one million during 2011 to 2013 period. Total fertility is a general term covers the relationship between the current population (typically the current female population) and current numbers of births.

Total fertility rate represents the number of children that would be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her childbearing years and bear children in accordance with current age-specific fertility rates. The fertility rate has rapidly declined in those countries which achieved major improvements in child survival rates and educational levels and have implemented family planning programs as well.

The increased access to family planning is helping parents to control the number and spacing of their children. In addition, with greater access to education and jobs more women are starting their families later and are having fewer healthier children. The fertility rate is continuously declining and reached at 3.3 in 2013. There are number of reasons for declining fertility rates in Pakistan. However, the main reasons are the introduction of the family planning methods, increased workforce participation by women and increased costs of child rearing. ppi

 

Malala visits UAE and Saudia

http://www.alrasub.com/malala-yousufzai-received-uaes-top-leadership-tuesday-al-bahr-palace-geo-news-reported/

Malala Yousufzai was received by UAE’s top leadership on Tuesday at the Al-Bahr Palace

Malala Yousufzai was received by UAE’s top leadership on Tuesday at the Al-Bahr Palace

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General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received the young Pakistani girl who was attacked last year in her village of Mingora by the Taliban, for her efforts towards girls’ education.

On her way to perform Umrah rituals, Malala stopped over in Abu Dhabi to thank the UAE and Sheikh Mohammed for their assistance and support during her ordeal, noting that Sheikh Mohamed’s role highlights the humanitarian aspects of Islamic teachings.

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi was briefed about Malala’s health and treatment she has been recieving in the United Kingdom.

Sheikh Mohammed appreciated the determination exhibited by Malala to overcome difficulties so that she may continue her noble mission, adding that it was a duty of all people to standby Malala, while she is spreading the principles of love and peace.

Malala was shot in the head on Oct.9, 2012, while returning home from the school in Wadi Swat, Pakistan, because of her defence of women’s right for education. She was rushed to the UK for treatment upon the efforts exerted by the UAE. She has recovered and is now returned to school.

http://www.thenews.com.pk

 

 

Nuke expenses and Coal Power

VIEW : Coal power — Fakir S Ayazuddin     DAILYTIMES    Tuesday, May 28, 2013

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20135\28\story_28-5-2013_pg3_3

 

Thar coal is much larger than a magic trick, and we should get very serious about this project, as it can turn our country around

We Pakistanis are so gullible that even our scientific elite are entrapped by the quacks of today. A case in point is the water-driven car. This magic trick has been already shown on many circus shows, and never made it beyond the magician’s spot. Yet in Pakistan we watch the anchors on television channels discussing the merits and demerits of the WDC (water-driven car). Our gullible public who have already been deprived of their hard-earned money courtesy the many Ponzi scams, and yet the public lines up for more of the same, including our Samad Dadabhoy, Double Shahs, and the like.

The whole world is still digging the coal out of the ground transporting it by sea and rail to the point of use. Government of Pakistan must concentrate on the mining of this precious product and distribution into the domestic market, and for the export trade. Both markets are huge, while the raw material is so close to the surface that it can be dug manually. The use of coal is hundreds of years old, and has fired the hearths of billions of people on all continents. Yet in Pakistan this valuable commodity is left underground for reasons that are obviously contrived to appease the formidable establishment, and it is obviously at the behest of the oil mafia, which at $15 billion sales a year is a very serious vested interest. They are very powerful, and are used to making or breaking governments. For them to devise a strategy to keep our coal underground is transparently simple.

The ‘studies’ to show that Thar coal is substandard have been peddled successfully throughout different governments’ tenures; till today we are using valuable natural gas to burn in our kitchens, while billions of dollars of fertiliser factories are lying closed for lack of gas. Not to mention the import of huge amounts of fertiliser imported for the farmers, without which the recently achieved self-sufficiency in wheat will be yet another dream achievement unused, much like our vaunted atomic bomb.

In Pakistan, government is being pushed into investing by the group led by Dr Samar Mubarakmand to release the huge funds (hundreds of millions of dollars) that would be required to research and then design a plant for Underground Coal Gasification (UCG). While the good doctor is trying to convince the hard rocks of Islamabad, it should be pointed out that there is no underground gasification machinery available anywhere, off the shelf or otherwise.

The largest scam under serious consideration is the UCG plant. While in theory it is a very elegant plan, the reality is far more difficult. Which explains why UCG has not been put into production anywhere in the world.

Government of Pakistan should beware of such offers promising highly sophisticated concepts that are as yet unproven in the commercial arena. As explained earlier there is a desperate need for us to excavate and market the huge coal deposits in Thar. The transport systems will also have to be upgraded to handle the increased loads efficiently. The marketing will not be a problem, for there is a huge demand for coal in Pakistan as fuel. Our oil import bill is currently running at $15 billion annually, and we are still arguing about Thar coal. The real reason it would seem is the middleman in Pakistan who in insisting on his pound of flesh is destroying the project itself. That is a prime reason for genuine investors giving Pakistan a wide berth.

Government of Pakistan must now get its act together, and stop playing politics at the expense of the nation. They must appoint a senior member of the private sector to spearhead this important project. Otherwise we will have lost an immense opportunity to bring jobs and fuel to Pakistan. It also illustrates clearly that the politician of today is more concerned about his own health, and much less for that of his voters, the ones who voted him into power in the first place.

However, Thar coal is much larger than a magic trick, and we should get very serious about this project, as it can turn our country around. Our nuclear dream shall always remain a dream, as its use on the subcontinent will have disastrous and long lasting effects at its point of use, 500 years of radioactivity minimum. Yet the praise bring lavished on our nukes is far greater than the benefits being reaped by Pakistan. In fact, our expenditure on defence has risen dramatically after our becoming nuclear.

Any delay in the Thar project is anti-Pakistan, for which the punishment is well known.

The writer is a freelance columnist

 

 

 

Inspecting A Country’s Debt

Inspecting A Country’s Debt

 
 
Inspecting A Country's Debt
Nothing ruins a nice dinner party quite like discussing economics and fiscal policy. Blood boils, friends become enemies and no one bothers touching dessert. In the United States the rancor and gnashing of teeth over such matters reached a fever pitch during the 2012 elections and still carries on through negotiations over the federal budget. Questions about the role of spending and debt are a global issue, but the core issue isn’t how much to spend or what to spend it on as much as it is on whether debt is inherently bad. Tensions over just how to handle debt are pitting the rich world against the developing world like never before.

Developed Does Not Mean Better
Researchers often focus on the debt of developing countries rather than the debt of the rich world. To a certain extent this makes sense considering that developing countries can be neophytes when it comes to managing external debt and the flow of money. Developing country governments are faced with an ever-broadening array of financing options and may find themselves on the verge of a debt crisis, without strong institutions and policies in place to keep debt in check.

The argument posited by international organizations such as the IMF and World Bank, as well as rich world crediting nations, is that developing countries should follow the sort of policies described in the Washington Consensus. The 2008 global crisis has turned the argument on its head, however. According to the IMF, general government gross debt for advanced economies grew from 72.5% of GDP in 2000 to 109.9% in 2012, with much of that increase occurring after 2008. During the same period, emerging markets and developing economies saw their percentage drop from 36.6 to 34.4%.

Of the 35 countries considered advanced by the IMF, all but nine are in Europe, which has yet to right itself four years into its sovereign-debt crisis. Between 2008 and 2011, 13 European countries – half of all European countries considered advanced – had increases of general government gross debt exceeding 40%. In short, some developing economies are less indebted than developing ones.

Public Sector Vs. Private Sector Debt
Arguments over debt tend to focus on government debt, with particular focus on government debt as it relates to GDP. While high-debt ratios do indicate a greater claim on future growth by creditors, since debt requires service payments, focusing solely on government debt misses the other elephant in the room: private sector debt.

To illustrate how focusing solely on government debt can turn into a Titanic-meets-iceberg moment, Cyprus, the small island nation now dominating financial news, was flying under the radar with a debt ratio of 61% in 2010 (compare this to 98% in the United States). What everyone missed was that its banking sector debt was nearly nine times its GDP in 2010; the eurozone average was 334% in 2010.

Governments – and ultimately taxpayers – face two issues when it comes to debt. High government debt means that a greater portion of tax revenue has to be earmarked for debt service payments. This reduces funds for other programs. High private sector debt, while ostensibly backed by investors in the companies taking on debt, can wind up pulling in the government. Hence the popularity of the “too big to fail” quote.

In some respects private sector debt is more frightening than public sector debt, since a government keeping a tight fiscal ship won’t have as much of an impact (hence monetary policy). For example, a banking crisis in the private sector can cause business credit to seize, unemployment to spike and bankruptcies to ensue. This in turn would lead to decreased tax revenue, which would lead to a vicious cycle of cuts and contraction.

For many developed nations with sophisticated banking systems, a good portion of private sector credit comes from within. A review of World Bank data on domestic credit to the private sector shows that 23 developed economies had ratios greater than 100% of GDP in 2011, with five countries – Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Spain and Hong Kong – with ratios greater than 200%. This matters because a private sector failure, such as a collapse of several big banks, will hit residents harder. This is part of the reason the European Central Bank is at odds with Cyprus: domestic depositors don’t want to take a hit.

Action to Take
How well a country manages its finances is rarely addressed until something goes wrong. In this sense, strong institutions and close vigilance can reduce the possibility of failure, but incentives often align to push governments toward policies that may kick problems down the street, rather than face them in the present. America allowed loose credit leading up to the financial crisis, while Cyprus basked in the warmth of being considered a banking haven. Debt statistics matter, but the complex workings of economics makes them only part of the overall picture.

Investors looking to take advantage of growth opportunities while reducing risk have a tough task ahead of themselves. The interplay of economic indicators is complex, but some general rules of thumb apply. Countries can run deficits, but just like the average Joe must be able to weigh the cost of borrowing with future growth. The higher the ratio of debt to GDP the more likely a country is to get into trouble.

For the optimist, looking into countries with healthier balance sheets will bring more stability, but with reduced risk comes slower growth. For the pessimist, investing against the negative consequences of a country running a greater deficit can mean taking positions that profit from increases in interest rate spreads. Investors can also look to currency trading to take advantage of a possible default.

 

 

Case Study: Genocide in Bangladesh, 1971

Summary

The mass killings in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1971 vie with the annihilation of the Soviet POWs, the holocaust against the Jews, and the genocide in Rwanda as the most concentrated act of genocide in the twentieth century. In an attempt to crush forces seeking independence for East Pakistan, the West Pakistani military regime unleashed a systematic campaign of mass murder which aimed at killing millions of Bengalis, and likely succeeded in doing so.

The background

East and West Pakistan were forged in the cauldron of independence for the Indian sub-continent, ruled for two hundred years by the British. Despite the attempts of Mahatma Gandhi and others to prevent division along religious and ethnic lines, the departing British and various Indian politicians pressed for the creation of two states, one Hindu-dominated (India), the other Muslim-dominated (Pakistan). The partition of India in 1947 was one of the great tragedies of the century. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in sectarian violence and military clashes, as Hindus fled to India and Muslims to Pakistan — though large minorities remained in each country.

The arrangement proved highly unstable, leading to three major wars between India and Pakistan, and very nearly a fourth fullscale conflict in 1998-99. (Kashmir, divided by a ceasefire line after the first war in 1947, became one of the world’s most intractable trouble-spots.) Not the least of the difficulties was the fact that the new state of Pakistan consisted of two “wings,” divided by hundreds of miles of Indian territory and a gulf of ethnic identification. Over the decades, particularly after Pakistani democracy was stifled by a military dictatorship (1958), the relationship between East and West became progressively more corrupt and neo-colonial in character, and opposition to West Pakistani domination grew among the Bengali population.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur RahmanCatastrophic floods struck Bangladesh in August 1970, and the regime was widely seen as having botched (or ignored) its relief duties. The disaster gave further impetus to the Awami League, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The League demanded regional autonomy for East Pakistan, and an end to military rule. In national elections held in December, the League won an overwhelming victory across Bengali territory.

On February 22, 1971 the generals in West Pakistan took a decision to crush the Awami League and its supporters. It was recognized from the first that a campaign of genocide would be necessary to eradicate the threat: “Kill three million of them,” said President Yahya Khan at the February conference, “and the rest will eat out of our hands.” (Robert Payne, Massacre [1972], p. 50.) On March 25 the genocide was launched. The university in Dacca was attacked and students exterminated in their hundreds. Death squads roamed the streets of Dacca, killing some 7,000 people in a single night. It was only the beginning. “Within a week, half the population of Dacca had fled, and at least 30,000 people had been killed. Chittagong, too, had lost half its population. All over East Pakistan people were taking flight, and it was estimated that in April some thirty million people [!] were wandering helplessly across East Pakistan to escape the grasp of the military.” (Payne, Massacre, p. 48.) Ten million refugees fled to India, overwhelming that country’s resources and spurring the eventual Indian military intervention. (The population of Bangladesh/East Pakistan at the outbreak of the genocide was about 75 million.)

On April 10, the surviving leadership of the Awami League declared Bangladesh independent. The Mukhta Bahini (liberation forces) were mobilized to confront the West Pakistani army. They did so with increasing skill and effectiveness, utilizing their knowledge of the terrain and ability to blend with the civilian population in classic guerrilla fashion. By the end of the war, the tide had turned, and vast areas of Bangladesh had been liberated by the popular resistance.

The gendercide against Bengali men

The war against the Bengali population proceeded in classic gendercidal fashion. According to Anthony Mascarenhas, “There is no doubt whatsoever about the targets of the genocide”:

They were: (1) The Bengali militarymen of the East Bengal Regiment, the East Pakistan Rifles, police and para-military Ansars and Mujahids. (2) The Hindus — “We are only killing the men; the women and children go free. We are soldiers not cowards to kill them …” I was to hear in Comilla [site of a major military base] [Comments R.J. Rummel: “One would think that murdering an unarmed man was a heroic act” (Death By Government, p. 323)] (3) The Awami Leaguers — all office bearers and volunteers down to the lowest link in the chain of command. (4) The students — college and university boys and some of the more militant girls. (5) Bengali intellectuals such as professors and teachers whenever damned by the army as “militant.” (Anthony Mascarenhas, The Rape of Bangla Desh [Delhi: Vikas Publications, 1972(?)], pp. 116-17.)

Mascarenhas’s summary makes clear the linkages between gender and social class (the “intellectuals,” “professors,” “teachers,” “office bearers,” and — obviously — “militarymen” can all be expected to be overwhelmingly if not exclusively male, although in many cases their families died or fell victim to other atrocities alongside them). In this respect, the Bangladesh events can be classed as a combined gendercide and elitocide, with both strategies overwhelmingly targeting males for the most annihilatory excesses.

Bengali man and boys massacred
by the West Pakistani regime.

Bengali man and boys massacred by the West Pakistani regime. Younger men and adolescent boys, of whatever social class, were equally targets. According to Rounaq Jahan, “All through the liberation war, able-bodied young men were suspected of being actual or potential freedom fighters. Thousands were arrested, tortured, and killed. Eventually cities and towns became bereft of young males who either took refuge in India or joined the liberation war.” Especially “during the first phase” of the genocide, he writes, “young able-bodied males were the victims of indiscriminate killings.” (“Genocide in Bangladesh,” in Totten et al., Century of Genocide, p. 298.) R.J. Rummel likewise writes that “the Pakistan army [sought] out those especially likely to join the resistance — young boys. Sweeps were conducted of young men who were never seen again. Bodies of youths would be found in fields, floating down rivers, or near army camps. As can be imagined, this terrorized all young men and their families within reach of the army. Most between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five began to flee from one village to another and toward India. Many of those reluctant to leave their homes were forced to flee by mothers and sisters concerned for their safety.” (Death By Government, p. 329.) Rummel describes (p. 323) a chilling gendercidal ritual, reminiscent of Nazi procedure towards Jewish males: “In what became province-wide acts of genocide, Hindus were sought out and killed on the spot. As a matter of course, soldiers would check males for the obligated circumcision among Moslems. If circumcised, they might live; if not, sure death.”

Robert Payne describes scenes of systematic mass slaughter around Dacca that, while not explicitly “gendered” in his account, bear every hallmark of classic gender-selective roundups and gendercidal slaughters of non-combatant men:

Bengali intellectuals murdered and dumped at dockside in Dacca.In the dead region surrounding Dacca, the military authorities conducted experiments in mass extermination in places unlikely to be seen by journalists. At Hariharpara, a once thriving village on the banks of the Buriganga River near Dacca, they found the three elements necessary for killing people in large numbers: a prison in which to hold the victims, a place for executing the prisoners, and a method for disposing of the bodies. The prison was a large riverside warehouse, or godown, belonging to the Pakistan National Oil Company, the place of execution was the river edge, or the shallows near the shore, and the bodies were disposed of by the simple means of permitting them to float downstream. The killing took place night after night. Usually the prisoners were roped together and made to wade out into the river. They were in batches of six or eight, and in the light of a powerful electric arc lamp, they were easy targets, black against the silvery water. The executioners stood on the pier, shooting down at the compact bunches of prisoners wading in the water. There were screams in the hot night air, and then silence. The prisoners fell on their sides and their bodies lapped against the shore. Then a new bunch of prisoners was brought out, and the process was repeated. In the morning the village boatmen hauled the bodies into midstream and the ropes binding the bodies were cut so that each body drifted separately downstream. (Payne, Massacre [Macmillan, 1973], p. 55.)

Strikingly similar and equally hellish scenes are described in the case-studies of genocide in Armenia and the Nanjing Massacre of 1937.

Atrocities against Bengali women

As was also the case in Armenia and Nanjing, Bengali women were targeted for gender-selective atrocities and abuses, notably gang sexual assault and rape/murder, from the earliest days of the Pakistani genocide. Indeed, despite (and in part because of) the overwhelming targeting of males for mass murder, it is for the systematic brutalization of women that the “Rape of Bangladesh” is best known to western observers.

In her ground-breaking book, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, Susan Brownmiller likened the 1971 events in Bangladesh to the Japanese rapes in Nanjing and German rapes in Russia during World War II. “… 200,000, 300,000 or possibly 400,000 women (three sets of statistics have been variously quoted) were raped. Eighty percent of the raped women were Moslems, reflecting the population of Bangladesh, but Hindu and Christian women were not exempt. … Hit-and-run rape of large numbers of Bengali women was brutally simple in terms of logistics as the Pakistani regulars swept through and occupied the tiny, populous land …” (p. 81).

Typical was the description offered by reporter Aubrey Menen of one such assault, which targeted a recently-married woman:

Two [Pakistani soldiers] went into the room that had been built for the bridal couple. The others stayed behind with the family, one of them covering them with his gun. They heard a barked order, and the bridegroom’s voice protesting. Then there was silence until the bride screamed. Then there was silence again, except for some muffled cries that soon subsided. In a few minutes one of the soldiers came out, his uniform in disarray. He grinned to his companions. Another soldier took his place in the extra room. And so on, until all the six had raped the belle of the village. Then all six left, hurriedly. The father found his daughter lying on the string cot unconscious and bleeding. Her husband was crouched on the floor, kneeling over his vomit. (Quoted in Brownmiller, Against Our Will, p. 82.)

“Rape in Bangladesh had hardly been restricted to beauty,” Brownmiller writes. “Girls of eight and grandmothers of seventy-five had been sexually assaulted … Pakistani soldiers had not only violated Bengali women on the spot; they abducted tens of hundreds and held them by force in their military barracks for nightly use.” Some women may have been raped as many as eighty times in a night (Brownmiller, p. 83). How many died from this atrocious treatment, and how many more women were murdered as part of the generalized campaign of destruction and slaughter, can only be guessed at (see below).

Despite government efforts at amelioration, the torment and persecution of the survivors continued long after Bangladesh had won its independence:

Rape, abduction and forcible prostitution during the nine-month war proved to be only the first round of humiliation for the Bengali women. Prime Minister Mujibur Rahman’s declaration that victims of rape were national heroines was the opening shot of an ill-starred campaign to reintegrate them into society — by smoothing the way for a return to their husbands or by finding bridegrooms for the unmarried [or widowed] ones from among his Mukti Bahini freedom fighters. Imaginative in concept for a country in which female chastity and purdah isolation are cardinal principles, the “marry them off” campaign never got off the ground. Few prospective bridegrooms stepped forward, and those who did made it plain that they expected the government, as father figure, to present them with handsome dowries. (Brownmiller, Against Our Will, p. 84.)

How many died?

The number of dead in Bangladesh in 1971 was almost certainly well into seven figures. It was one of the worst genocides of the World War II era, outstripping Rwanda (800,000 killed) and probably surpassing even Indonesia (1 million to 1.5 million killed in 1965-66). As R.J. Rummel writes,

The human death toll over only 267 days was incredible. Just to give for five out of the eighteen districts some incomplete statistics published in Bangladesh newspapers or by an Inquiry Committee, the Pakistani army killed 100,000 Bengalis in Dacca, 150,000 in Khulna, 75,000 in Jessore, 95,000 in Comilla, and 100,000 in Chittagong. For eighteen districts the total is 1,247,000 killed. This was an incomplete toll, and to this day no one really knows the final toll. Some estimates of the democide [Rummel’s “death by government”] are much lower — one is of 300,000 dead — but most range from 1 million to 3 million. … The Pakistani army and allied paramilitary groups killed about one out of every sixty-one people in Pakistan overall; one out of every twenty-five Bengalis, Hindus, and others in East Pakistan. If the rate of killing for all of Pakistan is annualized over the years the Yahya martial law regime was in power (March 1969 to December 1971), then this one regime was more lethal than that of the Soviet Union, China under the communists, or Japan under the military (even through World War II). (Rummel, Death By Government, p. 331.)

The proportion of men versus women murdered is impossible to ascertain, but a speculation might be attempted. If we take the highest estimates for both women raped and Bengalis killed (400,000 and 3 million, respectively); if we accept that half as many women were killed as were raped; and if we double that number for murdered children of both sexes (total: 600,000), we are still left with a death-toll that is 80 percent adult male (2.4 million out of 3 million). Any such disproportion, which is almost certainly on the low side, would qualify Bangladesh as one of the worst gendercides against men in the last half-millennium.

Who was responsible?

“For month after month in all the regions of East Pakistan the massacres went on,” writes Robert Payne. “They were not the small casual killings of young officers who wanted to demonstrate their efficiency, but organized massacres conducted by sophisticated staff officers, who knew exactly what they were doing. Muslim soldiers, sent out to kill Muslim peasants, went about their work mechanically and efficiently, until killing defenseless people became a habit like smoking cigarettes or drinking wine. … Not since Hitler invaded Russia had there been so vast a massacre.” (Payne, Massacre, p. 29.)

There is no doubt that the mass killing in Bangladesh was among the most carefully and centrally planned of modern genocides. A cabal of five Pakistani generals orchestrated the events: President Yahya Khan, General Tikka Khan, chief of staff General Pirzada, security chief General Umar Khan, and intelligence chief General Akbar Khan. The U.S. government, long supportive of military rule in Pakistan, supplied some \\$3.8 million in military equipment to the dictatorship after the onset of the genocide, “and after a government spokesman told Congress that all shipments to Yahya Khan’s regime had ceased.” (Payne, Massacre, p. 102.)

The genocide and gendercidal atrocities were also perpetrated by lower-ranking officers and ordinary soldiers. These “willing executioners” were fuelled by an abiding anti-Bengali racism, especially against the Hindu minority. “Bengalis were often compared with monkeys and chickens. Said Pakistan General Niazi, ‘It was a low lying land of low lying people.’ The Hindus among the Bengalis were as Jews to the Nazis: scum and vermin that [should] best be exterminated. As to the Moslem Bengalis, they were to live only on the sufferance of the soldiers: any infraction, any suspicion cast on them, any need for reprisal, could mean their death. And the soldiers were free to kill at will. The journalist Dan Coggin quoted one Punjabi captain as telling him, ‘We can kill anyone for anything. We are accountable to no one.’ This is the arrogance of Power.” (Rummel, Death By Government, p. 335.)

The aftermath

Flag of independent Bangladesh, introduced 1972.On December 3, India under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, seeking to return the millions of Bengali refugees and seize an opportunity to weaken its perennial military rival, finally launched a fullscale intervention to crush West Pakistani forces and secure Bangladeshi independence. The Pakistani army, demoralized by long months of guerrilla warfare, quickly collapsed. On December 16, after a final genocidal outburst, the Pakistani regime agreed to an unconditional surrender. Awami leader Sheikh Mujib was released from detention and returned to a hero’s welcome in Dacca on January 10, 1972, establishing Bangladesh’s first independent parliament.

In a brutal bloodletting following the expulsion of the Pakistani army, perhaps 150,000 people were murdered by the vengeful victors. (Rummel, Death By Government, p. 334.) The trend is far too common in such post-genocidal circumstances (see the case-studies of Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and the Soviet POWs). Such largescale reprisal killings also tend to have a gendercidal character, which may have been the case in Bangladesh: Jahan writes that during the reprisal stage, “another group of Bengali men in the rural areas — those who were coerced or bribed to collaborate with the Pakistanis — fell victims to the attacks of Bengali freedom fighters.” (“Genocide in Bangladesh,” p. 298; emphasis added.)

None of the generals involved in the genocide has ever been brought to trial, and all remain at large in Pakistan and other countries. Several movements have arisen to try to bring them before an international tribunal (see Bangladesh links for further information).

Political and military upheaval did not end with Bangladeshi independence. Rummel notes that “the massive bloodletting by all parties in Bangladesh affected its politics for the following decades. The country has experienced military coup after military coup, some of them bloody.” (Death By Government, p. 334.)