The Bengali-speaking people of East Pakistan were chiefly Muslim, but their numbers were interspersed with a significant Hindu minority.Very few spoke Urdu, which in 1948 had been declared the national language of Pakistan.According to Peter Tomsen, a political scientist, Pakistan's secret service the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, in conjunction with the political party Jamaat-e-Islami, formed militias such as Al-Badr ("the moon") and the Al-Shams ("the sun") to conduct operations against the nationalist movement.Members of the Muslim League, such as Nizam-e-Islam, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema Pakistan, who had lost the election, collaborated with the military and acted as an intelligence organisation for them.In Jessore, while speaking with a group of journalists Khan was reported to have said, "Pehle inko Mussalman karo" (First, make them Muslim).D'Costa argues that this shows that in the highest echelons of the armed forces the Bengalis were perceived as being disloyal Muslims and unpatriotic Pakistanis.
Following the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan the East and West wings were not only separated geographically, but also culturally.
In 2009, almost 40 years after the events of 1971, a report published by the War Crimes Fact Finding Committee of Bangladesh accused 1,597 people of war crimes, including rape.
Since 2010 the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) has indicted, tried and sentenced several people to life imprisonment or death for their actions during the conflict.
A tweet from the BBC in a language some assumed to be Arabic led to panic this evening, as people thought the corporation had been hacked by ISIS.
Robert Peston, the former BBC economics editor, was among the first to notice the message (above) The BBC said tonight that it had not been hacked - rather, a technical error had triggered a link to a report from its Bengali service.