A 20-year-old Pakistan Army officer posted in Sialkot sector managed to cross over India In March 1971 with documents and maps stuffed in his boots as atrocities in East Pakistan were heightened and genocide was also being planned.
He was grilled heavily by Indian forces at the border as he was suspected of being a Pakistani spy. He had only two prizes possessions at that time –Details of Pakistan Army’s deployment and ₹20 in his pocket.
He was then taken to Pathankot, where he was questioned by senior military officers then he presented the documents of Pakistan Army’s deployment after which it was known that it was a serious business.
The 20-year-old officer was then sent to Delhi, where he stayed in safe house fire months before moving back to East Pakistan.
This is abut Lt Colonel Quazi Sajjad Ali Zahir (Retd), who served the Bangladesh Army and is highly decorated officer.
He is proud of his awaiting death sentence in Pakistan for last 50 years, which he calls a badge of honour.
He was conferred with Bir Protik, which is of equivalent to India’s Vie Chakra for gallantry and Bangladesh’s highest civil honour Swashinata Padak.
Now, Lt Colonel Zahir has been conferred with Padma Shri, one of the India’s highest civilian awards in India, for his sacrifices and contribution in fight against 1971 war against Pakistan which led to the formation of Bangladesh.
Incidentally, the award is being presented to him at the time when both India and Bangladesh are celebrating 50 years of war and when the officer has turned 71.