map of south asia changed
The war of 1971 changed the map of South Asia. On 16 December 1971, Lieutenant General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi in the Pakistan Army signed the surrender document in front of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army. After the signing of this document, General Niazi was about to be killed by the mob but Major General Gandharva Nagra was the officer who saved his life. AK Ray, who was then Joint Secretary (Pakistan Desk) in the Ministry of External Affairs, was the only civilian official who witnessed the historic moment.
Surrender happened at 4 pm
His daughter told about that moment by quoting papers written by her father some years ago. AK Ray wrote that on 16 December 1971, at around 11 am, he received a telephone call and took it on the line. General Jagjit Arora. He asked Ray if he was ready to travel. After this, when Ray replied in the affirmative, General Arora asked him to come to Dumdum at 2 pm. Ray was at that time in a temporary office in Calcutta. Take Ray. General Arora had said that there would be surrender at 4 pm and this is absolutely certain. Ray then left for Dhaka.
Niazi reached the ground
From Dumdum, Ray left for Dhaka in an Indian Air Force aircraft HS-748. Here Major General JFR Jacob welcomed him. Major General Jacob was the Eastern Army Commander during the war. It was here that Major General Gandharva Nagra was also present who was Ray’s colleague at the National Defense College. After this General Niazi reached here. General Niazi was brought to Ramna ground. A table and some chairs were placed on this ground. General Arora placed the Instrument of Surrender on this table.
Bangladesh officials present
At that time there was a problem as to who would be present from the Bangladesh side. The commanders of the three battalions, Lt. Colonel Saifullah, Khalid Musharraf and Zia-ur-Rehman were in places from where they could not be airlifted. At the same time, Group Captain Ek Khondkar of Bangladesh Air Force was selected. The Bangladesh Air Force was formed at the time of that war. Group Captain Khondkar’s uniform was not ready at that time. So he was brought in plain clothes.
Crowd uncontrollable on seeing Niyazi
Only 300 soldiers of the Pakistan Army were present on the ground. While some were common citizens as well. Niazi signed the documents. After this he took off his cap and belt and started crying. At the same time a person shouted to the crowd, ‘Yeh to Niazi Hai’ and the crowd started moving forward uncontrollably. Major General Nagra and a few dozen other men formed a circle around Niazi. Major General Nagra immediately made him sit in the jeep and left for the cantt at the speed of a bullet. According to Ray, it was very important to protect Niazi because he was a prisoner of war. Had it not happened, the mob would have probably killed him alive that day.