1971: As chaos erupted in Dhaka, one Pakistani cameraman was there to capture it all

1971: As chaos erupted in Dhaka, one Pakistani cameraman was there to capture it all
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Akbar Hussain, a former cameraman of Dhaka TV, speaks to Arab News at his residence in Karachi, Pakistan, on February 28, 2021. (AN Photo)
1971: As chaos erupted in Dhaka, one Pakistani cameraman was there to capture it all
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An archival photo of Dhaka Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1960. (Social Media)
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Updated 05 March 2021

1971: As chaos erupted in Dhaka, one Pakistani cameraman was there to capture it all

1971: As chaos erupted in Dhaka, one Pakistani cameraman was there to capture it all
  • Cricket match between Pakistan and World XI turned violent after a National Assembly session in Dhaka was called off, unleashing protests
  • The incident took place months after the country’s first general election was won by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Awami League party

KARACHI: Fifty years ago, Akbar Hussain walked into Dhaka Cricket Stadium with his Bell and Howell camera to film a four-day Test match between Pakistan and a World XI.

The crowd was cheering, and everyone looked excited. But then the mood suddenly changed and the match was called off amid violence as two prominent Pakistani cricketers, Wasim Bari and Sarfraz Nawaz, were building a partnership.

“I was not sure what was happening,” Hussain told Arab News, speaking about the incident that took place on March 1, 1971.

Just months earlier, Pakistan had held its first general elections, in December 1970, which were won by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Awami League party.

Passions were still running high, though things looked normal to Hussain, who could not figure out why everyone around him had become so furious.

“They set tents on fire and started pelting stones at players, who rushed to the dressing room to save their lives,” he said. “Several shops were burnt outside the stadium as rioting continued.”

Hussain, who at the time worked as a cameraman with the Dhaka television station before moving to Karachi in 1973, later discovered that the provocation was caused by a radio broadcast about the cancelation of a National Assembly session scheduled in Dhaka. 

Crowds of people came out in the streets of the city in protest, and stores and business centers in the city closed. The cricket match between Pakistan and the World XI was suspended as audiences left to take part in the protests.

Ghulam Mujtaba, a former banker who was also among the audience, said it was “total chaos.”

“The stadium where people were cheering for their favorite players a little while ago was now on fire,” he told Arab News. “The news bulletin had turned the sporting arena into a battlefield after the radio announcement spread like a wildfire.”

Intikhab Alam, the skipper of the Pakistan team that came under attack, recalled the “horrible story,” telling Arab News that he had just returned to the pavilion when the rioting began.

“The World XI was fielding, so its players ran to take refuge,” he said. “Some went to their dressing room, others came to ours. For about two hours, we could not get out of the stadium.”

The foreign cricketers reached the Intercontinental Hotel where they were staying. Things were difficult for the Pakistani players, however, since their accommodation was further away from the stadium and they had to temporarily stay at a nearby guest house.

“The phone lines were dead,” Alam said. “Our team remained there until midnight and reached the hotel at 1 a.m.”

The former Pakistani captain added that World XI was lucky to board an empty Pakistan International Airlines flight for Lahore.

“We got stuck and could not go out of our hotel,” he added.

The situation lasted several days until arrangements were made to ensure the safe movement of local cricketers.

“Our jeep was escorted by a police truck that took us to the airport, which was hardly 20 minutes away from our hotel,” he said. “However, our journey continued for about two hours since the network of roads was littered with smashed cars and burning tires,” he said.

Alam said this was still not the end of the team’s agony.

Since Pakistani flights were not allowed to move through Indian airspace, the cricket squad had to take a detour and go to Sri Lanka first.

Just as the plane touched down at the Colombo airport, its tire burst. The team was due to play its last Test match against the World XI in Lahore, but almost missed the clash.

“The airlines added extra seats for us on the connecting flight to Lahore after we reached Karachi,” the former captain said. “By the time we reached our destination, the match had been postponed due to rain. That is how we managed to play the game.”

Despite the shocking incidents, the two teams were still willing to finish the series.

“Sportsmen think differently,” Alam said. “They try to send out the message of peace and are willing to play in difficult circumstances to make that happen.” 

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Paphos summit: Israel will do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop Iran on nuclear front

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The Israeli, Emirati, Greek and Cypriot officials are holding meetings in Cyprus for two days from Friday.

Israel said the talks in Paphos on the island's west coast would be the first meeting of its kind involving the four nations, as part of efforts to advance regional strategic interests.

The ministers were also discussing economic and security issues, the coronavirus pandemic, and possible travel corridors to encourage tourism, Israel's foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Cyprus said the unprecedented four-way talks, lasting into Saturday, would “take advantage of the prospects opened” by "the recent normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.”

The UAE and Israel formalized ties last year, one of four deals the US brokered between Israel and Arab countries.

The talks also follow tensions between Turkey and its neighbours over gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

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  • The junta has said anyone working with the CRPH is committing ‘high treason,’ and have announced arrest warrants for hundreds of prominent activists and politicians

YANGON: A “parliament” working in hiding to oust Myanmar’s junta from power announced a new shadow government Friday, with deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi at its helm alongside ethnic minority politicians.
The country has been in turmoil since the military detained Suu Kyi and seized power, triggering a massive uprising that the junta has sought to quell with lethal force.
Besides demanding for democracy’s return, protesters are also increasingly calling for more of a governing role for the country’s minority groups — which have long seen their voices marginalized by the ethnic Bamar majority.
The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) — a group of lawmakers mostly from Suu Kyi’s party attempting to govern underground via a shadow parliament — on Friday announced its leaders.
Helming the so-called “National Unity Government” is Suu Kyi, in her position as State Counsellor, and President Win Myint — who is also under house arrest and facing a barrage of charges from the junta.
They are flanked by a vice president who is ethnic Kachin and a prime minister who is ethnic Karen, said Min Ko Naing, a prominent democracy leader, in an address on the CRPH’s official Facebook page.
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A list of appointed ministers also included prominent leaders from the Chin, Shanni, Mon, Karenni and Ta’ang ethnic groups.
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Myanmar has more than 130 official ethnic minority groups.
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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan appointed a new finance minister on Friday, replacing Hammad Azhar, who received the portfolio less than a month ago.

Shaukat Tarin, the new appointee, is a banker who also served at the same position from 2009 to 2010 under the Pakistan Peoples Party administration of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

The news was announced by the newly appointed information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain who shared the notification of the recent cabinet reshuffle in a Twitter post:

“Prime Minister Imran Khan has made changes in the cabinet, the details of these changes are attached.”

 

 

Azhar will now look after the Energy Ministry. He was given the additional portfolio of finance and revenue after Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was recently asked to step down last month over what the government described as rising inflation.

The change to the finance ministry comes at a time when the government is working on the annual budget which is likely to be presented in June. Pakistan's economic managers are also implementing structural reforms suggested by the International Monetary Fund to the country's economy.

Apart from the two cabinet changes, the prime minister also took the Economic Affairs Ministry from Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar and gave him the Ministry of Industries and Production.

Omar Ayub, who was previously supervising the Power and Petroleum Divisions, has now been tasked to take care of the Economic Affairs Ministry.

Senator Shibli Faraz has also been assigned the Ministry of Science and Technology which fell vacant when Chaudhry Fawad Hussain was appointed as federal minister for information and broadcasting.

“As info minister my task is to change misperceptions about Pak[istan] and highlight the vibrant effort of the Government,” Hussain wrote on Twitter.

 

 


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INDIANAPOLIS: Eight people were shot and killed in a late-night shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, and the shooter has killed himself, police said.
Multiple other people were injured Thursday night when gunfire erupted at the facility near the Indianapolis International Airport, police spokesperson Genae Cook said.
At least four were hospitalized, including one person with critical injures. Another two people were treated and released at the scene, Cook said.
The shooter wasn’t immediately identified, and Cook said investigators were still in the process of conducting interviews and gathering information.
Police were called to reports of gunfire just after 11 p.m. and officers observed an active shooting scene, Cook said. The gunman later killed himself.
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