Search Here To Find Out Anything Shortcut

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bangladesh Liberation War : A History : From Wikipedia

The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting West Pakistan against East Pakistan (two halves of one country) and India, that resulted in the secession of East Pakistan to become the independent nation of Bangladesh. The war broke out on 26 March 1971 as army units directed by West Pakistan launched a military operation in East Pakistan against Bengali civilians, students, intelligentsia, and armed personnel who were demanding independence from Pakistan. Members of the East Bengal Regiment, East Pakistan Rifles, East Pakistan police and other Bengali military and paramilitary forces, and armed civilians revolted to form guerilla groups and forces (generally termed as the Mukti Bahini) to fight against the army of West Pakistan. During the following months, India provided economic, military and diplomatic support to the Mukti Bahini in East Pakistan. On December 3, 1971, (West) Pakistan launched a pre-emptive attack on the western border of India, which marked the commencement of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Finally, on December 16, 1971, the allied forces of the Indian army and the Mukti Bahini (Bangladesh Liberation Army) decisively defeated the (West) Pakistani forces deployed in the East resulting in the largest surrender, in terms of the number of POWs, since World War II.


In August 1947, the Partition of India gave birth to two new states named Pakistan and India. Areas containing the Muslim-majority became Pakistan while areas with Hindu majority states became India. The new nation of Pakistan included two geographically and culturally separate areas in the east and the west of India. The western zone was popularly (and for a period of time, also officially) termed West Pakistan and the eastern zone (modern-day Bangladesh) was initially termed East Bengal and later, East Pakistan. It was widely perceived that West Pakistan dominated politically and exploited the East economically, leading to many grievances.
On the 25 March 1971, rising political discontent and cultural nationalism in
East Pakistan was met by brutal[8] suppressive force from the ruling elite of the West Pakistan establishment[9] in what came to be termed Operation Searchlight.[10]

The violent crackdown by West Pakistan forces[11] led to East Pakistan declaring
its independence as the state of Bangladesh and to the start of civil war. The war led to a sea of refugees (estimated at the time to be about 10 million)[12][13] flooding into the eastern provinces of India[12]. Facing a mounting humanitarian and economic crisis, India started actively aiding and organizing the Bangladeshi resistance army known as the Mukti Bahini.

Political differences

Although East Pakistan accounted for a majority of the country's population,[14] political power remained firmly in the hands of West Pakistanis, specifically the Punjabis. Since a straightforward system of representation based on population would have concentrated political power in East Pakistan, the West Pakistani establishment came up with the "One Unit" scheme, where all of West Pakistan was considered one province. This was solely to counterbalance the East wing's votes. Ironically, after the East broke away to form Bangladesh, the Punjab province insisted that politics in West Pakistan now be decided on the basis of a straightforward vote, since Punjabis were more numerous than the other groups, such as Sindhis, Pashtuns, or Balochs.
After the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan's first prime minister, in 1951, political power began to be concentrated in the President of Pakistan, and eventually, the military. The nominal elected chief executive, the Prime Minister, was frequently sacked by the establishment, acting through the President.
East Pakistanis noticed that whenever one of them, such as Khawaja Nazimuddin,
Muhammad Ali Bogra, or Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy were elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, they were swiftly deposed by the largely West Pakistani establishment. The military dictatorships of Ayub Khan (27 October 1958 – 25 March 1969) and Yahya Khan (25 March 1969 – 20 December 1971), both West Pakistanis, only heightened such feelings.

Historic Speech of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 7 March 1971

The situation reached a climax when in 1970 the Awami League, the largest East
Pakistani political party, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a landslide victory in the national elections. The party won 167 of the 169 seats allotted to East Pakistan, and thus a majority of the 313 seats in the National Assembly. This gave the Awami League the constitutional right to form a government. However, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a Sindhi), the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, refused to allow Rahman to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Instead, he proposed the idea of having two Prime Ministers, one for each wing. The proposal elicited outrage in the east wing, already chafing under the other constitutional innovation, the "one unit scheme". Bhutto also refused to accept Rahman's Six Points. On 3 March 1971, the two leaders of the two wings along with the President General Yahya Khan met in Dhaka to decide the fate of the country. Talks failed. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called for a nation-wide strike.
On 7 March 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered a speech at the Racecourse
Ground (now called the Suhrawardy Udyan). In this speech he mentioned a further four-point condition to consider the National Assembly Meeting on 25 March:
1. The immediate lifting of martial law.
2. Immediate withdrawal of all military personnel to their barracks.

3. An inquiry into the loss of life.
4. Immediate transfer of power to the elected representative of the people
before the assembly meeting 25 March.

He urged "his people" to turn every house into a fort of resistance. He closed
his speech saying, "Our struggle is for our freedom. Our struggle is for our independence." This speech is considered the main event that inspired the nation to fight for their independence. General Tikka Khan was flown in to Dhaka to become Governor of East Bengal. East-Pakistani judges, including Justice Siddique, refused to swear him in.

Between 10 and 13 March, Pakistan International Airlines cancelled all their international routes to urgently fly "Government Passengers" to Dhaka. These "Government Passengers" were almost all Pakistani soldiers in civilian dress. MV Swat, a ship of the Pakistani Navy, carrying ammunition and soldiers, was harboured in Chittagong Port and the Bengali workers and sailors at the port refused to unload the ship. A unit of East Pakistan Rifles refused to obey commands to fire on Bengali demonstrators, beginning a mutiny of Bengali soldiers.

Military imbalance

Bengalis were under-represented in the Pakistan military. Officers of Bengali
origin in the different wings of the armed forces made up just 5% of overall force by 1965; of these, only a few were in command positions, with the majority in technical or administrative posts.[15] West Pakistanis believed that Bengalis were not "martially inclined" unlike Pashtuns and Punjabis; the "martial races" notion was dismissed as ridiculous and humiliating by Bengalis.[15] Moreover, despite huge defence spending, East Pakistan received none of the benefits, such as contracts, purchasing and military support jobs. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 over Kashmir also highlighted the sense of military insecurity among Bengalis as only an under-strength infantry division and 15 combat aircraft without tank support were in East Pakistan to thwart any Indian retaliations during the conflict.

Language controversy

Main article: Bengali Language Movement

In 1948, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan's first Governor-General, declared in
Dhaka (then usually spelled Dacca in English) that "Urdu, and only Urdu" would be the sole official language for all of Pakistan.[18] This proved highly controversial, since Urdu was a language that was only spoken in the West by Muhajirs and in the East by Biharis. The majority groups in West Pakistan spoke Punjabi and Sindhi, while the Bengali language was spoken by the majority of East Pakistanis.[19] The language controversy eventually reached a point where East Pakistan revolted. Several students and civilians lost their lives in a police crackdown on 21 February 1952.[19] The day is revered in Bangladesh and in West Bengal as the Language Martyrs' Day. Later, in memory of the 1952 killings, UNESCO declared 21 February as the International Mother Language Day in 1999.[20]

In West Pakistan, the movement was seen as a sectional uprising against Pakistani
national interests[21] and the founding ideology of Pakistan, the Two-Nation Theory.[22] West Pakistani politicians considered Urdu a product of Indian Islamic culture,[23] as Ayub Khan said, as late as in 1967, "East Bengalis... still are under considerable Hindu culture and influence."[23] But, the deaths led to bitter feelings among East Pakistanis, and they were a major factor in the push for independence.

Response to the 1970 Devastating Cyclone

The 1970 Bhola cyclone made landfall on the East Pakistan coastline during the
evening of 12 November, around the same time as a local high tide,[24] killing an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 people. Though the exact death toll is not known, it is considered the deadliest tropical cyclone on record.[25] A week after the landfall, President Khan conceded that his government had made "slips" and "mistakes" in its handling of the relief efforts for a lack of understanding of the magnitude of the disaster.[26]

A statement released by eleven political leaders in East Pakistan ten days after
the cyclone hit charged the government with "gross neglect, callous indifference and utter indifference". They also accused the president of playing down the magnitude of the problem in news coverage.[27] On 19 November, students held a march in Dhaka protesting the slowness of the government response.[28] Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani addressed a rally of 50,000 people on 24 November, where he accused the president of inefficiency and demanded his resignation.

As the conflict between East and West Pakistan developed in March, the Dhaka offices of the two government organisations directly involved in relief efforts were closed for at least two weeks, first by a general strike and then by a ban on government work in East Pakistan by the Awami League. With this increase in tension, foreign personnel were evacuated due to fears of violence. Relief work continued in the field, but long-term planning was curtailed.[29] This conflict widened into the Bangladesh Liberation War in December and concluded with the creation of Bangladesh. This is one of the first times that a natural event helped to trigger a civil war.[30] Operation Searchlight

Main article: Operation Searchlight

A planned military pacification carried out by the Pakistan Army — codenamed
Operation Searchlight — started on 25 March to curb the Bengali nationalist movement[31] by taking control of the major cities on 26 March, and then eliminating all opposition, political or military,[32] within one month. Before the beginning of the operation, all foreign journalists were systematically deported from East Pakistan.[33]

The main phase of Operation Searchlight ended with the fall of the last major
town in Bengali hands in mid-May. The operation also began the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities. These systematic killings served only to enrage the Bengalis, which ultimately resulted in the secession of East Pakistan later in the same year. The international media and reference books in English have published casualty figures which vary greatly, from 5,000–35,000 in Dhaka, and 200,000–3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole.[7][34]

According to the Asia Times

At a meeting of the military top brass, Yahya Khan declared: "Kill 3 million
of them and the rest will eat out of our hands." Accordingly, on the night of 25 March, the Pakistani Army launched Operation Searchlight to "crush" Bengali resistance in which Bengali members of military services were disarmed and killed, students and the intelligentsia systematically liquidated and able-bodied Bengali males just picked up and gunned down.

Although the violence focused on the provincial capital, Dhaka, it also affected
all parts of East Pakistan. Residential halls of the University of Dhaka were particularly targeted. The only Hindu residential hall — the Jagannath Hall — was destroyed by the Pakistani armed forces, and an estimated 600 to 700 of its residents were murdered. The Pakistani army denies any cold blooded killings at the university, though the Hamood-ur-Rehman commission in Pakistan concluded that overwhelming force was used at the university. This fact and the massacre at Jagannath Hall and nearby student dormitories of Dhaka University are corroborated by a videotape secretly filmed by Prof. Nurul Ullah of the East Pakistan Engineering University, whose residence was directly opposite the student dormitories. [36]

Hindu areas suffered particularly heavy blows. By midnight, Dhaka was literally
burning,[citation needed] especially the Hindu dominated eastern part of the city. Time magazine reported on 2 August 1971, "The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Pakistani military hatred."

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was arrested by the Pakistani Army. Yahya Khan appointed
Brigadier (later General) Rahimuddin Khan to preside over a special tribunal prosecuting Mujib with multiple charges. The tribunal sentenced Mujib to death, but Yahya caused the verdict to be held in abeyance. Other Awami League leaders were arrested as well, while a few fled Dhaka to avoid arrest. The Awami League was banned by General Yahya Khan.

Declaration of independence

The violence unleashed by the Pakistani forces on 25 March 1971, proved the last
straw to the efforts to negotiate a settlement. Following these outrages, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman signed an official declaration that read:
Today Bangladesh is a sovereign and independent country. On Thursday night,
West Pakistani armed forces suddenly attacked the police barracks at Razarbagh and the EPR headquarters at Pilkhana in Dhaka. Many innocent and unarmed have been killed in Dhaka city and other places of Bangladesh. Violent clashes between E.P.R. and Police on the one hand and the armed forces of Pakistan on the other, are going on. The Bengalis are fighting the enemy with great courage for an independent Bangladesh. May Allah aid us in our fight for freedom. Joy[37] Bangla.[38]

Sheikh Mujib also called upon the people to resist the occupation forces through
a radio message.[39] Mujib was arrested on the night of 25–26 March 1971 at about 1:30 a.m. (as per Radio Pakistan’s news on 29 March 1971).

A telegram containing the text of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's declaration reached
some students in Chittagong. The message was translated to Bangla by Dr. Manjula Anwar. The students failed to secure permission from higher authorities to broadcast the message from the nearby Agrabad Station of Radio Pakistan. They crossed Kalurghat Bridge into an area controlled by an East Bengal Regiment under Major Ziaur Rahman. Bengali soldiers guarded the station as engineers prepared for transmission. At 19:45 hrs on 27 March 1971, Major Ziaur Rahman broadcast another announcement of the declaration of independence on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur which is as follows.

This is Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro. I, Major Ziaur Rahman, at the direction
of Bangobondhu sheikh Mujibur Rahman, hereby declare that the independent People's Republic of Bangladesh has been established. At his direction, I have taken command as the temporary Head of the Republic. In the name of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, I call upon all Bengalis to rise against the attack by the West Pakistani Army. We shall fight to the last to free our Motherland. By the grace of Allah, victory is ours. Joy Bangla. Audio of Zia's announcement (interview - Belal Mohammed) The Kalurghat Radio Station's transmission capability was limited. The message was picked up by a Japanese ship in Bay of Bengal. It was then re-transmitted by Radio Australia and later by the British Broadcasting Corporation. M A Hannan, an Awami League leader from Chittagong, is said to have made the first announcement of the declaration of independence over the radio on 26 March 1971[40]. There is controversy now as to when Major Zia gave his speech. BNP sources maintain that it was 26 March, and there was no message regarding declaration of independence from Mujibur Rahman. Pakistani sources, like Siddiq Salik in Witness to Surrender had written that he heard about Mujibor Rahman's message on the Radio while Operation Searchlight was going on, and Maj. Gen. Hakeem A. Qureshi in his book The 1971 Indo-Pak War: A Soldier's Narrative, gives the date of Zia's speech as 27 March 1971[41].

26 March 1971 is considered the official Independence Day of Bangladesh, and the name Bangladesh was in effect henceforth. In July 1971, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi openly referred to the former East Pakistan as Bangladesh.[42] Some Pakistani and Indian officials continued to use the name "East Pakistan" until 16 December 1971.

Civil War

March to June
Leaflets and pamphlets played an important role in driving public opinion during the war. At first resistance was spontaneous and disorganized, and was not expected to be prolonged.[43] But when the Pakistani Army cracked down upon the population, resistance grew. The Mukti Bahini became increasingly active. The Pakistani military sought to quell them, but increasing numbers of Bengali soldiers defected to the underground "Bangladesh army". These Bengali units slowly merged into the Mukti Bahini and bolstered their weaponry with supplies from India. Pakistan responded by airlifting in two infantry divisions and reorganizing their forces. They also raised paramilitary forces of Razakars, Al-Badrs and Al-Shams (who were mostly members of Jamaat-e-Islami and other Islamist groups), as well as other Bengalis who opposed independence, and Bihari Muslims who had settled during the time of partition. The Bangladesh government-in-exile was formed on 17 April at Mujib Nagar. June – September

The eleven sectors

Bangladesh Forces command reorganisation and reinforcement conference on known as
the Sector Commanders Conference 1971 11 July - 17th July was presided over by Prime Minister Tajuddin and Gen. Osmani. This conference was significant for shaping and organizing the freedom struggle. The official creation of Bangladesh Forces, its command structuring, sector reorganization, reinforcement and appointing war commanders was its principal focus. Colonel Muhammad Ataul Gani Osmani received his promotion to General and reinstated from retirement as active duty into the armed forces of Bangladesh as its senior most official. Principal participants of this conference was Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan, Major Ziaur Rahman, Wing Commander Bashar, Major Jalil, Captain Haider, Lt. Col. Abdur Rab and Group Captain A.K. Khandaker. Lt. Col. Rab was appointed as Chief of Bangladesh Army Staff and Group Captain Karim Khandaker as Osmani's deputy and later Chief of Air Staff Bangladesh Air Force. In this meeting, Bangladesh was divided into Eleven Sectors under Sector Commanders. Each sector was further structured into a combination of sub-sectors, each commanded by a Sub-Sector Commander.

The 10th Sector was directly placed under the Commander in Chief and included the
Naval Commandos as the C-in-C’s special force. These commandos were later absorbed into the Bangladesh Navy. Sector Commanders directed the guerrilla warfare against West Pakistani forces. For better efficiency in military operations each of the sectors were divided into a number of sub-sectors. Bangladesh was divided into Eleven Sectors each with a sector commander chosen from defected officers of Pakistan army who joined the Bangladesh Forces under General M A G Osmani to conduct guerrilla operations and train fighters. Most of their training camps were situated near the border area and were operated with measured assistance from India. The 10th Sector was directly placed under Commander in Chief (C-in-C) and included the Naval Commandos and C-in-C’s special force.[44] Three brigades (11 Battalions) were raised for conventional warfare; a large guerrilla force (estimated 100,000) was trained.

Guerrilla operations, which slackened during the training phase, picked up after
August. Economic and military targets in Dhaka were attacked. The major success story was Operation Jackpot, in which naval commandos mined and blew up berthed ships in Chittagong on 16 August 1971. Pakistani reprisals claimed lives of thousands of civilians. The Indian army took over supplying the Mukti Bahini from the BSF. They organised six sectors for supplying the Bangladesh forces.

October – December

Bangladesh conventional forces attacked border outposts. Kamalpur, Belonia and
Battle of Boyra are a few examples. 90 out of 370 BOPs fell to Bengali forces. Guerrilla attacks intensified, as did Pakistani and Razakar reprisals on civilian populations. Pakistani forces were reinforced by eight battalions from West Pakistan. The Bangladeshi independence fighters even managed to temporarily capture airstrips at Lalmonirhat and Shalutikar.[45] Both of these were used for flying in supplies and arms from India. Pakistan sent 5 battalions from West Pakistan as reinforcements.
See also: Bangladesh War timeline

Indian involvement

Illustration showing military units and troop movements during the war.

See also: Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

Major battles

* Battle of Boyra

* Battle of Garibpur

* Battle of Dhalai

* Battle of Hilli

* Battle of Kushtia

Wary of the growing involvement of India, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) launched a
pre-emptive strike on India. The attack was modelled on the Operation Focus employed by Israel Air Force during the Six-Day War. However, the plan failed to achieve the desired success and was seen as an open act of unprovoked aggression against the Indians.

Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi declared war on Pakistan and in aid of the
Mukti Bahini, then ordered the immediate mobilisation of troops and launched the full-scale invasion. This marked the official start of the Indo-Pakistani War.

Three Indian corps were involved in the invasion of East Pakistan. They were
supported by nearly three brigades of Mukti Bahini fighting alongside them, and many more fighting irregularly. This was far superior to the Pakistani army of three divisions[46]. The Indians quickly overran the country, bypassing heavily defended strongholds. Pakistani forces were unable to effectively counter the Indian attack, as they had been deployed in small units around the border to counter guerrilla attacks by the Mukti Bahini.[47] Unable to defend Dhaka, the Pakistanis surrendered on 16 December 1971.

The speed of the Indian strategy can be gauged by the fact that one of the
regiments of Indian army (7 Punjab now 8 Mechnised Inf Regiment) fought the liberation war along the Jessore and Khulna axis. They were newly converted to a mechanised regiment and it took them just 1 week to reach Khulna after capturing Jessore. Their losses were limited to just 2 newly acquired APCs (SKOT) from the Russians. Indian Army's T-55 tanks on their way to Dhaka. India's military intervention played a crucial role in turning the tide in favour of the Bangladeshi rebels.

India's external intelligence agency, the R&AW, played a crucial role in
providing logistic support to the Mukti Bahini during the initial stages of the war. R&AW's operations, in then-East Pakistan, was the largest covert operation in the history of South Asia.

Pakistani response

Pakistan launched a number of armoured thrusts along India's western front in
attempts to force Indian troops away from East Pakistan. Pakistan tried to fight back and boost the sagging morale by incorporating the Special Services Group commandos in sabotage and rescue missions. This, however, could not stop the juggernaut of the advancing columns, whose speed and power were too much to contain for the Pakistani Army.

The air and naval war

The Indian Air Force carried out several sorties against Pakistan, and within a
week, IAF aircraft dominated the skies of East Pakistan. It achieved near-total air supremacy by the end of the first week as the entire Pakistani air contingent in the east, PAF No.14 Squadron, was grounded due to Indian airstrikes at Tejgaon, Kurmitolla, Lal Munir Hat and Shamsher Nagar. Sea Hawks from INS Vikrant also struck Chittagong, Barisal, Cox's Bazar, destroying the eastern wing of the Pakistan Navy and effectively blockading the East Pakistan ports, thereby cutting off any escape routes for the stranded Pakistani soldiers. The nascent Bangladesh Navy (comprising officers and sailors who defected from Pakistani Navy) aided the Indians in the marine warfare, carrying out attacks, most notably Operation Jackpot.

Surrender and aftermath

Pakistan's Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi signs the instrument of surrender on 16 December, surrendering his forces to Lt. Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora commanding the Mitro Bahini (Allies). Indian Lt. Gen J.S. Aurora and Pakistani Lt. Gen A.A.K. Niazi's signatures on the Instrument of Surrender.

On 16 December 1971, Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi, CO of Pakistan Army forces located
in East Pakistan signed the instrument of surrender. At the time of surrender only a few countries had provided diplomatic recognition to the new nation. Bangladesh sought admission in the UN with most voting in its favor, but China vetoed this as Pakistan was its key ally.[48] However, the United States was one of the last nations to accord Bangladesh recognition.[49] To ensure a smooth transition, in 1972 the Simla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan. The treaty ensured that Pakistan recognized the independence of Bangladesh in exchange for the return of the Pakistani PoWs. India treated all the PoWs in strict accordance with the Geneva Convention, rule 1925[citations needed]. It released more than 90,000 Pakistani PoWs in five months.

Further, as a gesture of goodwill, nearly 200 soldiers who were sought for war
crimes by Bengalis were also pardoned by India. The accord also gave back more than 13,000 km² of land that Indian troops had seized in West Pakistan during the war, though India retained a few strategic areas;[51] most notably Kargil (which would in turn again be the focal point for a war between the two nations in 1999). This was done as a measure of promoting "lasting peace" and was acknowledged by many observers as a sign of maturity by India. But some in India felt that the treaty had been too lenient to Bhutto, who had pleaded for leniency, arguing that the fragile democracy in Pakistan would crumble if the accord was perceived as being overly harsh by Pakistanis.

Reaction in West Pakistan to the war

Reaction to the defeat and dismemberment of half the nation was a shocking loss
to top military and civilians alike. No one had expected that they would lose the formal war in under a fortnight and were also very angry at what they perceived as a meek surrender of the army in East Pakistan. Yahya Khan's dictatorship collapsed and gave way to Bhutto who took the opportunity to rise to power. General Niazi, who surrendered along with 93,000 troops, was viewed with suspicion and hatred upon his return to Pakistan. He was shunned and branded a traitor. The war also exposed the shortcoming of Pakistan's declared strategic doctrine that the "defence of East Pakistan lay in West Pakistan".[52] Pakistan also failed to gather international support, and were found fighting a lone battle with only the USA providing any external help. This further embittered the Pakistanis who had faced the worst military defeat of an army in decades. The debacle immediately prompted an enquiry headed by Justice Hamdoor Rahman. Called the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, it was initially suppressed by Bhutto as it put the military in poor light. When it was declassified, it showed many failings from the strategic to the tactical levels. It also condemned the atrocities and the war crimes committed by the armed forces. It confirmed the looting, rapes and the killings by the Pakistan Army and their local agents although the figures are far lower than the ones quoted by Bangladesh. According to Bangladeshi sources, 200,000 women were raped and over 3 million people were killed, while the Rahman Commission report in Pakistan claimed 26,000 died and the rapes were in the hundreds. However, the army’s role in splintering Pakistan after its greatest military debacle was largely ignored by successive Pakistani governments.

Main article: 1971 Bangladesh atrocities

During the war there were widespread killings and other atrocities – including the displacement of civilians in Bangladesh (East Pakistan at the time) and widespread violations of human rights – carried out by the Pakistan Army with support from political and religious militias began with the start of Operation Searchlight on 25 March 1971.

Bangladeshi authorities claim that three million people were killed,[7] while the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, an official Pakistan Government investigation, put the figure as low as 26,000 civilian casualties.[6] The international media and reference books in English have also published figures which vary greatly from 200,000 to 3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole.[7] A further eight to ten million people fled the country to seek safety in India.

A large section of the intellectual community of Bangladesh were murdered, mostly by the Al-Shams and Al-Badr forces,[54] at the instruction of the Pakistani Army.[55] Just 2 days before the surrender, on 14 December 1971, Pakistan Army and Razakar militia (local collaborators) picked up at least 100 to 300 physicians, professors, writers and engineers in Dhaka, and executed them, leaving the dead bodies in a mass grave.[56]. There are many mass graves in Bangladesh, and more are continually being discovered (such as one in an old well near a mosque in Dhaka, located in the non-Bengali region of the city, which was discovered in August 1999).[57] The first night of war on Bengalis, which is documented in telegrams from the American Consulate in Dhaka to the United States State Department, saw indiscriminate killings of students of Dhaka University and other civilians.

Numerous women were tortured, raped and killed during the war; the exact numbers
are not known and are a subject of debate. Bangladeshi sources cite a figure of 200,000 women raped, giving birth to thousands of war babies. The Pakistan Army also kept numerous Bengali women as sex-slaves inside the Dhaka Cantonment. Most of the girls were captured from Dhaka University and private homes.

There was significant sectarian violence not only perpetrated and encouraged by
the Pakistani army,[60] but also by Bengali nationalists against non-Bengali minorities, especially Biharis.

On 16 December 2002, the George Washington University's National Security Archive
published a collection of declassified documents, consisting mostly of communications between US embassy officials and United States Information Service centers in Dhaka and India, and officials in Washington DC.[62] These documents show that US officials working in diplomatic institutions within Bangladesh used the terms selective genocide[63] and genocide (see The Blood Telegram) to describe events they had knowledge of at the time. Genocide is the term that is still used to describe the event in almost every major publication and newspaper in Bangladesh. although elsewhere, particularly in Pakistan, the actual death toll, motives, extent, and destructive impact of the actions of the Pakistani forces are disputed.

Foreign reaction


The United States supported Pakistan both politically and materially. U.S.
President Richard Nixon denied getting involved in the situation, saying that it was an internal matter of Pakistan. But when Pakistan's defeat seemed certain, Nixon sent the USS Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal, a move deemed by the Indians as a nuclear threat. Enterprise arrived on station on 11 December 1971. On 6 December and 13 December, the Soviet Navy dispatched two groups of ships, armed with nuclear missiles, from Vladivostok; they trailed U.S. Task Force 74 in the Indian Ocean from 18 December until 7 January 1972. The Nixon administration provided support to Pakistan President Yahya Khan during the turmoil. Nixon and Henry Kissinger feared Soviet expansion into South and Southeast Asia. Pakistan was a close ally of the People's Republic of China, with whom Nixon had been negotiating a rapprochement and where he intended to visit in February 1972. Nixon feared that an Indian invasion of West Pakistan would mean total Soviet domination of the region, and that it would seriously undermine the global position of the United States and the regional position of America's new tacit ally, China. In order to demonstrate to China the bona fides of the United States as an ally, and in direct violation of the US Congress-imposed sanctions on Pakistan, Nixon sent military supplies to Pakistan and routed them through Jordan and Iran,[66] while also encouraging China to increase its arms supplies to Pakistan. The Nixon administration also ignored reports it received of the genocidal activities of the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan, most notably the Blood telegram. The Soviet Union had supported the Bangladeshis, and supported the Indian Army and Mukti Bahini during the war, recognizing that the independence of Bangladesh would weaken the position of its rivals - the United States and China. It gave assurances to India that if a confrontation with the United States or China developed, the USSR would take counter-measures. This was enshrined in the Indo-Soviet friendship treaty signed in August 1971. The Soviets also sent a nuclear submarine to ward off the threat posed by USS Enterprise in the Indian Ocean.


As a long-standing ally of Pakistan, the People's Republic of China reacted with
alarm to the evolving situation in East Pakistan and the prospect of India invading West Pakistan and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. Believing that just such an Indian attack was imminent, Nixon encouraged China to mobilize its armed forces along its border with India to discourage such an eventuality; the Chinese did not, however, respond in this manner and instead threw their weight behind demands for an immediate ceasefire. China did, however, continue to supply Pakistan with arms and aid. It is believed that had China taken action against India to protect West Pakistan then the Soviet Union would have taken military action against China. One Pakistani writer has speculated that China chose not to attack India because Himalayan passes were snowbound in the wintry months of November and December.

United Nations

Though the United Nations condemned the human rights violations, it failed to
defuse the situation politically before the start of the war. The Security Council assembled on 4 December to discuss the volatile situation in South Asia. USSR vetoed the resolution twice. After lengthy discussions on 7 December, the General Assembly promptly adopted by a majority resolution calling for an "immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of troops." The United States on 12 December requested that the Security Council be reconvened. However, by the time it was reconvened and proposals were finalised, the war had ended, making the measures merely academic.

The inaction of the United Nations in face of the East Pakistan crisis was widely
criticized. The conflict also exposed the delay in decision making that failed to address the underlying issues in time.


History Of International Bangla Language ;21 February


On 21 March 1948, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Governor general of Pakistan, declared that Urdu would be the only language for both West and East Pakistan. The people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), whose main language is Bengali, started to protest against this. On 21 February 1952, (8 Falgun 1359 in the Bengali calendar), students in the present day capital city of Dhaka called for a provincial strike. The government invoked a limited curfew to prevent this and the protests were tamed down so as to not break the curfew. The Pakistani police fired on the students despite these peaceful protests and a number of students were killed.

International Mother Language Day :

21 February was proclaimed the International Mother Language Day by UNESCO on 17 November 1999. Its observance was also formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.[1]

International Mother Language Day originated as the international recognition of Language Movement Day, which has been commemorated in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) since 1952, when a number of Bangladeshi university students were killed by the Pakistani police and army in Dhaka during the Bengali Language Movement.

International Mother Language Day is observed yearly by UNESCO member states and at its headquarters to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.



The telecommunications1 sector in Bangladesh has been characterized by a very low level of penetration, limited capability to meet the growing demand, low level of investment and old outdated systems and technologies necessitating reactive remedial measures. In order to develop a national sound telecommunication infrastructure to support the economy and welfare of the country by providing telecommunication facilities on demand, assuring satisfactory quality of service and ensuring value to the customers, a sound National Telecommunication Policy is essential. This is also imperative to ensure the cost based pricing2 of the present as well as the future services to satisfy the need of specialized groups in particular and the public in general. With this in view, this new policy will ensure the orderly development of the telecommunications sector through the provision of services in all the areas of the country, to satisfy the un-serviced demand 3 for telecommunications and to provide equitable opportunity and competition amongst the service providers.


The Strategic Vision of the Government is to facilitate Universal Telephone Service throughout the country and where there is a demand, all those value added services such as cellular mobile telephone paging, data services, access to Internet (including electronic mail), Voice mail and video conferencing – all at an affordable cost without compromising performance.

To achieve the Vision, Government’s role as a service provider will diminish as the private sector’s role increases. The Government’s objective will be to create a new policy environment to support this new scenario. Its ability to create policy, regulate and facilitate will be strengthened through a new Telecommunications Act which reflects the Government’s new policies, objectives and strategies and the establishment of new institutions including a Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) which will become the guardian of the Act and fulfill its regulatory functions.

1 as recommended by ITU it means any process that enables a correspondent to pass to one or more given correspondents ( telegraphy or telephony) .or possible correspondents ( broadcasting), information of any nature delivered in any usable form (written or printed matter, fixed or moving pictures, words, music , visible or audible signals , signals controlling the functioning of mechanism etc) by means of any electromagnetic system ( electrical transmission by wire, radio transmission, optical transmission etc. or a combination of such systems)

2 refers to system of pricing in which the actual cost of providing service establishes the basic charge to which a fixed mark –up is added to collect a standard charge to all users without discrimination.

3 refers to pending registered applications waiting for a long time to get connections due to paucity of capacity both in the switching or in the

external line plant. It also includes the probable applications which will be forthcoming if it becomes possible to give connections not long after it is applied for.

The Government understands that this Universal Service – affordable and reliable – will be achievable only trough reforming the sector to encourage a plurality of private and public operators conduct their business within a competitive environment. Within this environment interconnection and revenue sharing will be clear and fair to all service providers and their subscribers.


3.1. Exchange of Information.
3.2 Promotion of National Integration:
3.3 Universal Access.
3.4 Digitalization.
3.5 Competitive Framework.
3.6 Private Sector Development.
3.7 Resource Mobilization.
3.8 Liberalized Tariff Policy.
3.9 Access to New Technology.
3.10 Private Sector Investment.
3.11 Foreign Investment.
3.12 Implementation Strategy.
3.13 Human Resource Development.
3.14 Defense and Security.
3.15 Information Technology.
3.16 Local Manufacturing.
3.17 Regulatory Framework.
3.18 Protection of users’ Interest and Service Standards,

The policy document, upholding the commitment of Government to resolve the prevailing shortcomings, outlines the objectives, strategies and other related aspects of telecommunications. The policy is formulated to ensure the orderly and rapid growth of telecommunications services, both in quality and quantity and the use of telecommunications technology in order to support the socio-economic development, in line with the national aspirations. The objectives of the National Telecommunications policy, inter alia, include.

3.1 Exchange of Information : The freedom for exchange of information is recognized as an important element of human rights and efforts are to be made to provide people with greater access to all information except the ones that are considered harmful to the society, prejudicial to national interest and security.

3.2 Promotion of National Integration: Telecommunications are to promote national integration and to safeguard the social and cultural fabric of the nation by directing the expected influence of the technology towards the greater benefit of the society.

3.3 Universal Access: Access to and delivery of a full range of modern, sophisticated, efficient and cost effective services of both basic1 as well as value added2 telecommunications are to be provided to as many people as is economically and socially justifiable to ensure universal access3.

3.4 Digitalization: Replace of all analogue switching equipment by the year 2002 and analogue transmission equipment by 2005. This will improve existing and potential telecommunications service for both basic and value added services. In addition to improving the quality and reliability of the telecommunications infrastructure, full digitalization will facilitate a quicker and easier interface mechanism for all private and public operators.

1 refers to local exchange residence and business telephone service and telegraph service without additional features and any other services defined as such in future.

2 5 refers generally to the services such as (i) Electronic Mail, (ii) Voice Mail ,(iii) Data

Services ,(iv) Audio Text Services, (v) Video Text Services, (vi) Video Conferencing, (vii) Radio Paging, (viii) Cellular Mobile Telephones, (ix) Facsimile, (x) Global System for Mobile GSM, (xi) Global Mobile Personal Communication by satellite (GMPCS) and any other future services to come.

3 refers to the availability of reliable and affordable telecommunications services in both urban and rural areas of the country.

3.5 Competitive Framework: Creation of an environment of competition in the field of telecommunications enhancing rapid development in volume, efficiency and accessibility , shall be ensured to make telecom services available within the affordable limit of the general users.

3.5.1 Market Oriented Regime: Telecommunications Services are to be efficiently and cost- effectively provided in particular fields, to be decided by the Government from time to time, by establishing market oriented regime, appropriate sets of regulations, standards, procedures, conditions and investment climate & competition.

3.5.2 Users’ Choice: Development of telecommunications facilities and services shall be user friendly. The users shall have multiple choices for access to networks & markets of different services, systems and carriers at a competitive and reasonable price.

3.6 Private Sector Development: The Government has opened the telecommunications market to the private sector. The Government acknowledges the private sector’s increasing resolve and ability to meet the growth demands of the country, as well as the fact that the private sector will become a much stronger force in telecommunications development in the coming years. The Government will provide all assistance to make the private sector more vibrant and robust in keeping with their anticipated role in the coming years.

3.7 Resource Mobilization: Resources to the sector are to be maximized through participation of both public and private entrepreneurs in operating the services in areas where it is economically and socially justified. Efforts shall be geared up and co-ordinated to create an investment climate to help optimization of resources from both national and international sources.

3.7.1 Local : Local resources may be mobilized through ADP allocation, domestic private investment , issue of Telecommunication Bonds, allocating a part of the revenue earnings, Bank Loans etc.

3.7.2 Foreign: Investment from sources outside the country may be arranged through Suppliers Credit, joint Ventures, BLT/BOT/BOO/ BTO agreement etc., in addition to the usual loans and grants from international organizations as well as through bilateral agreements with other countries in conformity with the industrial policy of the Government.

3.8 Liberalized Tariff Policy : Tariff polices are to be liberalized ,with regard to the area or the service ,from time to time ,in certain market segments and efforts are to be continued to encourage extension of maximum service at minimum cost with particular emphasis in supporting the industrialization efforts of the country .

3.9 Access to New Technology: Research and development activities to facilitate the absorption of new technology and to upgrade the facilities and services in telecommunications are to be encouraged and the regional cooperation in telecommunication sector is to be enhanced through common development and operational strategies and network standards. Continuous updating of information on new and latest technology and transfer of the same for the benefit of the users ,shall be encouraged.

3.10 Private Sector Investment: The Government will achieve a more vigorous development through intensified private sector participation, encouraged by the enabling environment created by the Government; a more proactive telecommunications industry responsive to users’ needs and creation of an environment with healthier competition & more significant multi-operator participation, all of which accelerate the reality of universal service.

By opening the telecommunications sector to competition and consolidating an independent regulatory board reporting directly to the Government, private sector investment, both domestic and foreign, is encouraged. This tenet will improve access to and quality of both basic and value-added services which historically, have been monopolistic. Investment is encouraged through BLT.BOO.BOT .BTO and other joint venture schemes which, by greatly increasing the capacity, quality and type of services, will create greately improved efficiencies in other sectors such as transportation, energy and the textile industry.

3.11 Foreign Investment: Foreign investors are encouraged to demonstrate their commitment to Bangladesh by forming joint ventures with local companies and within the telecommunications sector .Government will consider equity participation of up to 100% of the overall shareholdings of the telecommunications operating company.

The Government will make all endeavours to remove all procedural and other impediments for quick implementation of the projects including investment proposals from foreign investors in the telecom sector to meet the growing and unmet demands of telephones in the country. For quick implementation of the projects, the Government reserves the right to take decisions as appropriate.

3.12 Implementation Strategy: Government will the participation of the public and private sectors, intends to meet its goals and objectives through a combination of policy – related technical and financial strategies. It will ensure that the present inadequate infrastructure is alleviated through the formulation of competition and performance standards. While supporting the private sector as the engine of growth it will continue to support BTTB in the short to medium term as the Government assumes its just role as policy maker, regulator and facilitator. The Government objective is to see an orderly transition from a monopolistic to a multi- operator environment

3.13 Human Resource Development: Human resource development being in tandem with the need of the telecommunications sector, standards and qualifications for different categories of personnel of all operators are to be set based on their services.

3.14 Defense and Security: Defense and security interests of the country are to be protected.

3.15 Information Technology: The role of the technologies of telecommunications and computers which are becoming increasingly interdependent of and complementary to each other, leading to the age of information technology is to be acknowledged and encouraged for the benefit of the nation.

3.16 Local Manufacturing: Promotion of local manufacture of viable telecommunications equipment will be encouraged to meet the local and regional demand and a vision to compete in international markets in near future is to be inculcated.

3.17 Regulatory Framework: Assignment, monitoring and management of radio frequency spectrum1 is to be conducted in an effective, fair rational and equitable manner. Telecommunication network standards & their management should be compatible with international standards.

3.18 Protection of users’ Interest and Service Standards: Protection of the users’ interests shall be ensured regarding the services provided, facilities offered, technology used and prices charged.


The National Telecommunication Policy will act as a catalyst towards the growth and development of telecommunications in the country with a view to producing a modern, balanced and dynamic society. The policy measures are designed to achieve a range of benefits which include but not necessarily limited to the tasks of increasing the number of telephones in a systematic and comprehensive manner.

the entire range of radio frequencies used for telecommunications

4.1 TARGETS: A set of targets consisting of telephone density and accessibility of telecommunications facilities and services to the people is given below.

4.1.1 Telephone Penetration: Tele-density (Short Term) : The present tele-density of the country is about 0.4 telephone for every 100 persons. The target of expansion of telephone penetration is fixed at 1,300,0001 line, units including associated inland and overseas transmission links and facilities by the year 2000 in order to substantially eliminate the unserviced demand and increase the tele-density from 0.4 telephone to 1 telephone for every 100 2 persons.

Accessibility up to Village Level: The aim will be to lay emphasis on the efforts to upgrade the semi-urban and rural telecommunication facilities and make the telecommunication services with the latest technology available in phases to all the Thanas, Unions, Growth Centers and ultimately to the Villages by the year 2005 . The private sector operators who are licensed for the purpose will contribute all their efforts towards this end.

Tele-density (Mid Term): Raising the penetration to 4 telephones for every 100 persons by the year 2010 is to be achieved through increase in basic telecommunications facilities, expansion of existing networks and provision of new ones.

(d) Tele-density (Long Term): Short and mid term targets are to be reviewed at regular intervals for realistic target setting. Tele-density is to be 10 telephones per 100 population within the first quarter of 21st century. However, this will include value- added services and GMPCS (Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite) and other new services.

4.1.2 Future Telecom Services - Role of Public and Private Sector Operators: Telecom sector needs rapid expansion to meet the unmet demands for telecom services. Public and private operators are to work as partners to develop telecommunications in the country. The present status is that eight operators are in

Present capacity is 4.75.036 line-units of which more than 55% are of digital technology .Some projects are in the implementation stage while plans of some are being finalised. It is expected that a large number of new digital switches will also be commissioned by the private sector operators. this takes into account the increase of population during the period at a projected rate of growth.

operation/licensed to develop and operate telecom services. Out of them, one is in public sector – BTTB, the largest one having basic telecom services, transmission and international network; others are private operators licensed to provide to basic telephone services in rural areas and value added services all over the country.

Through the co-operation of the operators under the guidelines set by the Government the telecom infrastructure of the country is to be built up. For that short, mid and long term services and service areas are defined:

Short Term: In the short term perspective the operators will continue to consolidate & develop up to the year 2000 in their respective fields for which they have licenses. BTTB will upgrade its trunking and transmission networds/links (both inland and overseas) to meet the increasing interconnection demands of its own & private operators. Besides, it will continue its expansion programmes in its areas to meet the growing and unmet demands for telephone lines. Furthermore , the Government reserves the right to license additional operators if appropriate and if needed, take measure to open basic telecommunication services to the private sector operating entities.

Mid - Term: On the basis of the performance of the private operators in the short term period, more service areas are to be opened up for private participation in basic telephone and long distance networks after the year 2000 or earlier.

Long - Term: As a long term strategy, development of telecom infrastructure and services in all the fields are to be opened up for private participation after the year 2010 and if needed, this can be opened up earlier than the year 2010.

The above time frame and targets, however, are to be reviewed by the Government at the end of year 2000.

4.1.3 Information Infrastructure: An integrated and reliable transmission network that covers the entire country and is capable of providing voice, video, data and imaging services will be ensured. The network may include fiber optic, radio and also satellite systems. The aim is to create the National Information Infrastructure (NII) and integrate it through the Information Super Highway to the Global Information Infrastructure (GII) thereby creating the potential to enter the global market for information processing.

4.1.4 International Network: Continuous efforts will be made to expand the network for international traffic through terrestrial radio, submarine cables and satellite systems. Reliance on more than one network and system will be encouraged to ensure fall-back alternative facilities in times of need. More active and expanded participation in programmes/activities organized or sponsored by the regional and international telecommunications agencies and bodies is to be pursued to uphold the interest of the country in the international fora.

4.1.5 New Services: New services1 that are already developed or will be developed in future shall continue to be introduced in the country on the basis on the basis of market surveys and users’ needs and satisfaction.

4.1.6 Master Plan: A Master Plan will be prepared for expansion and development of telecommunication services in the country so that Bangladesh can reap full benefits of information technology revolution.


4.2.1 Commission by Act: A seperate autonomous Regulatory Commission under the Ministry of Post & Telecommunications will be established by an Act of Parliament and it may consist of a Chairman and a number of Members2 to be appointed by the Government No members of the Commission will be from among the serving employees or directors of any telecommunication operator. Part time members may also be appointed as and when deemed necessary.

4.2.2 Features of the Commission:

Independence: The Regulatory Commission will be an autonomous commission which will retain its independence. The head of the Commission as well as the Members will be appointed for a fixed period of time.

Transparency: The Commission will be transparent in all its activities to the operators, interested parties engaged in telecommunications, Government agencies and the people in general. It will ensure equity & fair -play by providing a level playing field for all operators. a number of value -added new services like GSM.gmpcs. Video Conferencing . GMDSS Telecommunication are already in service or in the process of being introduced.

the members of the Regulatory Commission may be appointed from amongst persons in and out- side the Government service including retired officers with the back-ground of telecommunications , finance, law and management .

Adaptability: Telecommunication technology is fast advancing and continuously changing. The Commission will have the ability and obligation to adapt to the changing environment in the sector.

Objectivity: The activities of the Commission will be objective in nature. In the formulation of regulations, guidelines etc the objective should be compatible to the role as a catalyst making the country a member of the global telecommunication family.

4.2.3 Functions of Commission : The Primary Functions of the Regulatory Commission are (i) issue operator licenses, (ii) regulation of tariffs, (iii) setting of technical standards, (iv) monitoring of service quality and adherence to rules and regulations by the operators, (v) management of radio frequency spectrum, (vi) preparation of national numbering scheme, (vii) assistance in preparing routing, charging and transmission plans, (viii) guidance for interconnection between the operators and revenue sharing for inter-operator traffic, (ix) stimulation for investment to facilitate introduction of new services, (x) representation of the country in the international telecommunication bodies1, (xi) setting standards & qualifications for different categories of personnel of all operators based on their services and (xii) any other functions and activities as may be considered necessary by the Government .

4.2.4 Spectrum Management and Monitoring: The frequency spectrum, considered to be a valuable resource will be managed in an orderly and equitable manner and will be used as the basis for creation of complete radio communication network systems. The Commission will resolve the problem of over- lapping frequency at shared borders of the operators. It will ensure the assignment of frequency bands with the neighbouring countries according to the Table of Frequency given by ITU. It will also set up Frequency Monitoring Cell and will impose penalty in case of infringement upon assigned frequencies or unauthorized use of frequencies.

4.2.5 Licensing Procedure: A comprehensive licensing system will be developed to ensure its orderly, efficient and effective application. The issuing of licenses to respondents who are qualified according to the set criteria will be carried out through a bidding or an open tender or any other procedure set by the Government.

1. these include among others the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) . Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) . Commonwealth Telecom Bureau (CTB). Telecommunications units of OIC and SAARC etc.

4.2.6 Budget: The budgetary resources for the Regulatory Commission itself will be generated

from the license fees including the fees for use of the frequency spectrum, duties, royalties etc. Other sources like charges for specific services, fees, contributions and parliamentary appropriations may supplement the financial resources.

4.2.7 Staff of Commission: The Regulatory Commission will be manned by

qualified and competent personnel. It will have full freedom in matters of staff requirement and salaries, subject to the provisions in the budget.

4.2.8 Annual Report: The Commission will present its Annual Report to the

Government, as may be specified in the Act.

4.2.9 Inter- connection and Revenue Sharing: Understanding that revenue sharing agreements vary widely in different countries and are never easy to formulate the Government takes the position that revenue sharing agreements should be negotiated between carriers and that they will generally be cost based. However, in the event for a dispute between any parties which are unable to negotiate successfully, the Commission shall consider dispute through hearing and the decisions of the commission shall be final though they may be appealed to Government.

4.2.10 Representing the Country: The Commission may attend the meetings

of the regional and international telecommunications bodies, dealing with the questions of general sectoral policy and participate in framing of international regulations in this field.

4.2.11 Protection of Users’ Interest: The Commission will be responsible for

the supervision of the telecommunications services to ensure that the interests of the users are protected and balanced .It will also ensure that the interests of the nation are given priority over other interests. The Commission will define the mechanism in which the views of the operators and the users of the telecommunications services could be periodically obtained. The Commission may hold public hearings on important issues of public interest.

4.2.12 Enforcement Mechanism: The Regulatory Commission will be vested with definite duties and power to implement the policy decisions and ensure compliance of set rules and procedures. The Commission will have legal authority to ensure and enforce regulatory measures, keeping in view the national security public order and defence of the country. It will monitor implementation of development programmes of and ensure operation of telecommunication services by the operators in accordance with the provisions of the concerned license. The Commission will have authority to take punitive actions ranging from imposing fine to closure of services against the defaulting operators.

4.2.13 Network Management: Under the Commission a network management cell will be created to overview the harmonization and optimization of the networks available and to be developed in future. It will set network standards, numbering /code plans and prepare network master -plan etc. This is imperative in an inter- operator environment.

4.2.14 Service Standard: The Commission will set standards for different

services within the principles and standards set by various Regional and International Telecommunication bodies. In this connection, the commission will set standards, qualifications and number of personnel in each category for all operators based on their services. These standards will be binding on all operators. Failure to meet these standards will attract penal action by the Commission.


4.3.1 Tariff Structure: The tariff structure will apply equally to public and

private operators and will be set by the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission with prior approval of Government . It will take into account the interests of various parties, benefit to the users and reasonable returns to the operators based on the principle of equity and the market factors and will set the maximum rates and tariffs for all the services on the principle of fair- play . Where data is available, the tariffs will, in principle, be cost-based, subject to revisions from time to time in relation to the changes in the cost of equipment, development in technology, increase in the use of services and socio-economic considerations such as affordibility of users, consumer price index, extent of rural service requirement and any other requirements for all telecommunications services as may be notified by the Government or the commission from time to time. The costs of the services are also to be reasonable and comparable with those charged in the neighbouring countries and international market. However, the operators may make submissions to the Commission who will notify the tariff revisions, if any, after obtaining approval of the Government. The Government may also de-regulate tariffs for any service to allow the operators to set tariffs by themselves.

4.3.2 Re-sale of Services: In the case of re-sale1 of services by individuals, permission will be given to add service charges which will be required to be displayed to the users at the point of service. The Commission2, however, will retain the right to fix the maximum limits to any such service charges to protect the interest of the users.

4.3.3 Commission’s Fees: The services rendered by the Commission shall be charged to the operators and other parties in accordance with the schedule published by the commission.

4.3.4 Charges for Frequency Spectrum: The use of frequency spectrum by the operators may be put to charges on initial and recurring basis except for frequency band (s) which are open for general use.


4.4.1 Liberalization: In accordance with the overall national policy, the liberalization of the telecommunications sector will continue. The approach is to encourage a sound and orderly competition between the private and public sector as well as among the various private sector operators themselves to achieve efficient and quality service concentrating initially on the value-added services. However, the Government retains the sole authority to determine the number of competitors that are economically viable for certain services. The strategy is to provide equal and rational opportunities to all competitors.

4.4.2 International Services: The international services will, however, be operated exclusively by the Government through Bangladesh. Telegraph and Telephone Board or its lawful successor unless other- wise decided by the Government.

1 this refers to the services provided by a person or a group of persons forming very small enterprise to extend telecommunications services like overseas telephone calls, telex, telefax services at a nominal additional service charges under license from the service provider .

2.this refers to the Regulatory Commission to set up by an Act of Parliament : details are explained in the previous paragraphs .

4.4.3 Service Obligation: Universal service ogligations for basic telephone service will be included in licenses of all network operators Inter–connections between networks, forming part of the public network, will be mandated in accordance with the guidelines to be issued by the commission.


4.5.1 Role of BTTB : Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) has , until recently the only entity having the sole authority to operate and regulate the public telecommunications services its regulatory functions have been taken over by the Ministry of post & Telecommunications as an interim measure and will ultimately be vested in the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission . BTTB will continue for the time being, to remain a Government owned telecommunications service provider.

4.5.2 Adequate Authority: In order to make BTTB function

effectively and commercially in competiton with other private sector operators in the liberalized environment, the requisite administrative and adequate financial & commercial authorities shall be delegated to BTTB . In this regard the BTTB ordinance of 1979 is to be amended and such other directives, as may from time to time be necessary within the purview of maximum autonomy, will be issued.

4.5.3 Non- core Functions: The non-core functions1 within BTTB

will be gradually divested and could be contracted out to qualified private parties as relevant know-how and expertise have developed in recent years.

4.5.4 Corporate Restructuring: The Government anticipates a two phase restructuring of BTTB phase-1 would be a corporatization process in which it becomes a limited company (e.g. Bangladesh Telecommunication company Ltd. ) instead of being a Deptt. of the Government . In this mode it will have full responsibility for managing its assets and operations and being fully accountable for its own profitability. At this point Government will continue to own between 51% and 100% of the shares .Phase-2 would be the full privatization of BTTB at which point the Government will have sold all of its outstanding shares to the private sector. The possibility of engaging an internationally reputed foreign telephone company as strategic /management parterner of BTTB will also be explored.

1 traditionally since the inception of post .Telegraph and Telephone Department in the British –India period, a member of auxiliary functions like printing, building , construction, under-ground cable laving, billing directory, subscriber premises connection. manufacturing etc, related to telecommunications were performed by the BTTB itself as there were not much know -how or the required expertise on those functions outside.

4.5.5 Capital Mobilization: Throughout the corporate restructuring period, with the approval of the Government BTTB will be authorized to raise necessary capitals for the expansion of the existing and introduction of new services through bank loans, issue of telecommunication bonds, share flotation, suppliers, credits and BOO/BLT/BOT1 schemes etc. It will be authorized to enter into joint venture contracts with any other entities with the approval of the Government.

4.5.6 Staff Standard: BTTB will plan and prepare the staff standard and administer its own staff structure. It will also adopt procedures and methods to run on full commercial terms and optimize the value for money.

4.5.7 Quality of Service: Maintenance and operation are to be such as to give adequate, efficient and satisfactory services in observance of the principles of economy and by maintaining standards set by the commission.


4.6.1 Privatization of Basic Services: The private operating entities will be allowed to provide basic telecommunications and long distance transmission facilities in accordance with section 4.1.2 and the value-added services where appropriate under license to be issued by the Regulatory Commission.

4.6.2 Maintenance and Operation: In order to provide efficient & satisfactory services, the private operators will manage and operate telecommunications services under their control in a completely professional manner in accordance with the methods and procedures in force in the sector and in observance of the principles of economy. They shall engage sufficiently qualified and adequate personnel for providing the services as per the standards set by the commission.

4.6.3 Infrastructure: The private operators are required to keep

abreast of trends in demand, establish or expand the services, upgrade the infrastructures and introduce the new ones on the basis of the most advantageous technical and economic approach .

1 BOO refers to Build, Operate & Own. BLT refers to Build, Lease and Transfer while BOT refers to Build, Operate and Transfer.

4.6.4 Investment and Tariff: The private operastors will prepare annual and multi-annual investment plans and operating accounts, define and propose tariff & service structures, define and initiate rates for new services & changes in rates for existing ones, for approval of the Government or the Commission.

4.6.5 Dispute Resolution: In the event of disputes and disagreeement between operators, the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission shall consider dispute through hearing for resolution .The decisions of the commission shall be final though they may be appealed to the Government.

4.6.6 Cancellation of Service: The private operators may suspend of cancel service to users who fail to meet their obligations as contracted.

4.6.7 Meetings and Conferences: The private operators may take part in national conferences, committees and working groups dealing with technical, administrative and operational matters in the field of telecommunications.


The proper environment will be created within the country, as a national obligation, to promote research and development activities in the telecommunication technology and services, to develop telecommunications training courses in new systems and services and to ensure appropriate human resources development for the efficient conduct of telecommunications activities. In order to fulfil this obligation, following will remain priority:-

5.1 Research and Development: A National Institute of Research and Development (NIRD) in telecommunications will be established. The operators, manufacturers and any other organizations and persons involved in telecommunications will be encouraged to carry out research and development activities to support local growth and transfer of technology. The requirement to carry out R&D will be a part of the conditions under which licenses are issued and at least 1% of the annual expenditure should be allocated for the purpose.

5.2 Human Resource Development: The creation of trained and skilled manpower in all fields of telecommunications will be stressed. All telecommunications enterprises are encouraged to establish their own training programs. The need to crate short, medium and long term plans for the training of manpower for all operators is imperative. Efforts must be made to establish a National Institute for Human Resource Development in Telecommunications (NIHRDT)1 in the country by upgrading the existing Telecommunication Staff College of BTTB at Gazipur.

the present Telecommunications Staff College of BTTB situated at Joydebpur, will provide very good and appropriate foundation for setting up of the proposed . NIHRDT.


The fact being recognised that telecommunications stand at the leading edge of technology and in order to strengthen the economic growth, spur technology transfer and adapt new technology, local manufacture and assembly of telecommunications equipments will be encouraged and geared up for local consumption and competition in the external market. The use of local products of acceptable standard and competitive price is to be made obligatory through regulations for all the service providers. Moreover, incentives will also be provided to encourage growth of the local telecommunications industry.

The already functioning two large factories namely Telephone Shilpha Sangstha (TSS) , at Tongi and Bangladesh Cable Shilpha (BCS) Ltd. at Khulna, will be vital launching pads to embark upon large scale involvement in the manufacturing field. However appropriate plans for modernization and diversification of products in these two factories need to be implemented as soon as possible. In this regard, joint collaboration1 with reputed manufacture(s) as already exists (exist) or by induction of new ones, will be taken into consideration. The Government will also consider the privatization of TSS and BCS.


In order to ensure proper, efficient, effective and timely development of telecommunication infrastructure, consultative fora will be formed where all parties interested in the sector (service providers, users, public and private enterprises etc. ) can have open discussion to develop telecommunication services as well as to improve the service standards in the country


8.1 Users Oriented Services: The telecommunications services shall be oriented towards meeting the users’ demands /needs, not only for new services, but also in respect of performance of the services, transparency of operations, provisions of information and assistance in case of difficulties. Networks shall be planned to be user friendly and shall be equipped with modern technologies and shall be managed by the set procedures.

8.2 One Point Service: The establishment of one – point service centres2 by all the operators will be encouraged for the convenience of the users. All the telecommunications service providers will be responsible for the preparation and publication of their own subscriber directories and updating of the same at regular interval (e.g. annually) for the information of the public.

Siemens AG of Germany is already a co-share, holder of the two factories. Their equipments can be manufactured assembled under license as per the Agreements already in existence.

for the convenience of the customers to redress any of their complaints at one particular point only, is successfully introduced in Dhaka and is found to be highly popular. However, the numbers of such centres need to be increased substantially.


There are, in the country, a number of Acts which govern and regulate various telecommunications activities like the telecommunications between two points, audio broadcasting of radio messages or programs for the specified group of people or the public in general and telecasting of simultaneous audio –visual programs. The Telegraph Act 1885, The Wireless Act 1933, The Radio Broadcasting Act 1975 and 1992 and The Television Broadcasting Act 1965 which regulate these activities may be considered for a combined Telecommunication Act applicable for all the allied services of telecommunications. While acknowledging the freedom of information as an important element of the modern World, the new Act may include restrictions to communications and broadcasts which are regarded as incompatible to the national security and harmful to the society.


This National Telecommunications Policy is a summary statement of the philosophy, objectives, strategies and the methodology to ensure equitable and judicious execution of the business of telecommunications in the country. However, the Government may from time to time make changes, modifications, additions to the policy and may review the policy at certain intervals for updating and satisfying the need of the time. The general guideline embodied in this policy document emphasizes faster development of telecommunications network coupled with improved quality of service in line with the national development, thereby fulfilling the vision and aspiration to take Bangladesh to a position of honour in the comity of nations in the 21st century.

Information of life Auto Insurance Donation and Attorney Copyright © 2008