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The second partition

Pakistan celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. But it is not the state that Jinnah created out of partition in 1947. In 1971 its more populous eastern wing declared unilateral independence. Colin Smith recalls the large and small atrocities that accompanied the birth of Bangladesh

By Colin Smith   May 1997

It is not the most dashing way to go to war. I was being pedalled towards the sound of guns in a pedi-cab, an overgrown tricycle powered by poverty. The feet on my pedals were clad in the grey plastic pointed slippers worn by most of the Bengali peasantry, and which resembled the beach shoes I wore as a child. They were made in China which had a sweetheart trade deal with Pakistan, to whom they also supplied their version of the Kalashnikov rifle.

I was in what was then east Pakistan and is now Bangladesh, heading down the road…

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