April 9, 1974.
1. On July 2, 1972, the President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister
of India signed an historic agreement at Shimla under which they
resolved that the two countries put an end to the conflict and confrontation
that have hitherto marred their relations and work for the promotion
of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment
of durable peace in the sub-continent. The Agreement also provided
for the settlement of “their differences by peaceful means
through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually
2. Bangladesh welcomed the Shimla Agreement. The Prime Minister
of Bangladesh strongly supported its objective of reconciliation,
good neighborliness and establishment of durable peace in the sub-continent.
3. The humanitarian problems arising in the wake of the tragic events
of 1971 constituted a major obstacle in the way of reconciliation
and normalisation among the countries of the sub-continent. In the
absence of recognition, it was not possible to have tripartite talks
to settle the humanitarian problems, as Bangladesh could not participate
in such a meeting except on the basis or sovereign equality.
4. On April 17, 1973 India and Bangladesh took a major step forward
to break the deadlock on the humanitarian issues by setting aside
the political problems of recognition. In a Declaration issued on
that date they said that they “are resolved to continue their
efforts to reduce tension, promote friendly and harmonious relationship
in the sub-continent and work together towards the establishment
of a durable peace.” Inspired by this vision and “in
the larger interests of reconciliation, peace and stability in the
sub-continent” they jointly proposed that the problem of the
detained and stranded persons should be resolved on humanitarian
considerations through simultaneous repatriation of all such persons
except those Pakistani prisoners of war who might be required by
the Government of Bangladesh for trial on certain charges.
5. Following the Declaration there were a series of talks between
India and Bangladesh and India and Pakistan. These talks resulted
in an agreement at Delhi on August 28, 1973 between India and Pakistan
with the concurrence of Bangladesh, which provided for a solution
of the outstanding humanitarian problems.
6. In pursuance of this Agreement, the process of three-way repatriation
commenced on September 19, 1973. So far nearly 300,000 persons have
been repatriated which has generated an atmosphere of reconciliation
and paved the way for normalisation of relations in the sub-continent.
7. In February 1974, recognition took place thus facilitating the
participation of Bangladesh in the tripartite meeting envisaged
in the Delhi Agreement, on the basis of sovereign equality. Accordingly
His Excellency Dr. Kamal Hossain, Foreign Minister of the Government
of Bangladesh, His Excellency Sardar Swaran Singh, Minister of External
Affairs, Government of India and His Excellency Mr. Aziz Ahmed,
Minister of State for Defense and Foreign Affairs of the Government
of Pakistan met in New Delhi from April 5th to April 9th, 1974 and
discussed the various issues mentioned in the Delhi Agreement in
particular the question of the 195 prisoners of war and the completion
of the three-way process of repatriation involving Bengalese in
Pakistan, Pakistanis in Bangladesh and Pakistani prisoners of war
| 8. The Ministers reviewed
the progress of the three-way repatriation under the Delhi Agreement
of August 28, 1973. They were gratified that such a large number of
persons detained or stranded in the three countries had since reached
9. The Ministers also considered steps that needed to be taken in
order expeditiously to bring the process of the three-way repatriation
to a satisfactory conclusion.
10. The Indian side stated that the remaining Pakistani prisoners
of war and civilian internees in India to be repatriated under the
Delhi Agreement, numbering approximately 6,500, would be repatriated
at the usual pace of a train on alternate days and the likely short-fall
due to the suspension of trains from April 10th to April 19th, 1974
on account of Kumbh Mela, would be made up by running additional trains
after April 19th. It was thus hoped that the repatriation of prisoners
of war would be completed by the end of April 1974.
11. The Pakistan side stated that the repatriation of Bangladesh nationals
from Pakistan was approaching completion. The remaining Bangladesh
nationals in Pakistan would also be repatriated without let or hindrance.
12. In respect of non-Bengalese in Bangladesh, the Pakistan side stated
that the Government of Pakistan had already issued clearances for
movement to Pakistan in favour of those non-Bengalees who were either
domiciled in former West Pakistan, were employees of the Central Government
and their families or were members of the divided families, irrespective
of their original domicile. The issuance of clearances to 25,000 persons
who constitute hardship cases was also in progress. The Pakistan side
reiterated that all those who fall under the first three categories
would be received by Pakistan without any limit as to numbers. In
respect of persons whose applications had been rejected, the Government
of Pakistan would, upon request, provide reasons why any particular
case was rejected. Any aggrieved applicant could, at any time, seek
a review of his application provided he was able to supply new facts
or further information to the Government of Pakistan in support of
his contention that he qualified in one or other of the three categories.
The claims of such persons would not be time-barred. In the event
of the decision of review of a case being adverse, the Governments
of Pakistan and Bangladesh might seek to resolve it by mutual consultation.
13. The question of 195 Pakistani prisoners of war was discussed by
the three Ministers, in the context of the earnest desire of the Governments
for reconciliation, peace and friendship in the sub-continent. The
Foreign Minister of Bangladesh stated that the excesses and manifold
crimes committed by these prisoners of war constituted, according
to the relevant provisions of the U.N. General Assembly Resolutions
and International Law, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide,
and that there was universal consensus that persons charged with such
crimes as the 195 Pakistani prisoners of war should be held to account
and subjected to the due process of law. The Minister of State for
Defense and Foreign Affairs of the Government of Pakistan said that
his Government condemned and deeply regretted any crimes that may
have been committed.
|14. In this connection
the three Ministers noted that the matter should be viewed in the
context of the determination of the three countries to continue resolutely
to work for reconciliation. The Ministers further noted that following
recognition; the Prime Minister of Pakistan had declared that he would
visit Bangladesh in response to the invitation of the Prime Minister
of Bangladesh and appeal to the people of Bangladesh to forgive and
forget the mistakes of the, past, in order to promote reconciliation.
Similarly, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh had declared with regard
to the atrocities and destruction committed in Bangladesh in 1971
that he wanted the people to forget the past and to make a fresh start,
stating that the people or Bangladesh knew how to forgive.
15. In the light of the foregoing and, in particular, having regard
to the appeal of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to the people of Bangladesh
to forgive and forget the mistakes of the past, the Foreign Minister
of Bangladesh stated that the Government of Bangladesh had decided
not to proceed with the trials as an act of clemency. It was agreed
that the 195 prisoners of war may be repatriated to Pakistan along
with the other prisoners of war now in the process of repatriation
under the Delhi Agreement.
16. The Ministers expressed their conviction that the above agreements
provide a firm basis for the resolution of the humanitarian problems
arising out of the conflict of 1971. They reaffirmed the vital stake
the seven hundred million people of the three countries have in peace
and progress and reiterated the resolve of their Governments to work
for the promotion of normalisation of relations and the establishment
of durable peace in the sub-continent.
Signed in New Delhi on April 9th, 1974 in three originals, each of
which is equally authentic.
(KAMAL HOSSAIN) (SWARAN SINGH) (AZIZ AHMED)
Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of External Affairs Minister
of State for
Government of Bangladesh. Government of India. Defense and foreign
Government of Pakistan