Episode 2

Forty years ago, Shahzeb Jillani was born in Sindh Province, Pakistan.

At the same time, a new nation was being born - Bangladesh. Shahzeb was born in the middle of the night.

There was a blackout. Bombs were falling. There was a war, and Pakistan was losing.

Forty years on, Shahzeb, now the BBC World Service South Asia Editor, returns to the region to find out how these traumatic events shaped contemporary Pakistan.

It will be a personal journey of discovery to challenge the contradictions in the Pakistani narrative he was taught in school.

There he learned little, if anything, of the injustices visited in the 1950s and 1960s on Eastern Pakistan by the Western half - with government spending and political power overwhelmingly biased towards the West.

The discrimination came to a head in the bid for Bangladeshi independence and then a brutal war, which Pakistan expected to win.

When India entered on the Bangladeshi side, Pakistan suffered the ultimate humiliation: surrender on 16 December 1971.

Through this series, Shahzeb will try to understand what really happened in 1971 and to chart how it still continues to affect contemporary Pakistan.

He will explore how the memory of defeat at the hands of India has shaped the thinking of the Pakistani military - that the country faces a continued existential threat from its much larger neighbour, whether in Bangladesh or in Afghanistan.

Did it create the determination that Pakistan must acquire the bomb? Did the vacillation of the Western powers instil an essential distrust towards the outside world, and a belief that Pakistan must depend on itself?

And Shahzeb will explore the hidden legacy of violence, coming face to face with Bangladeshis who witnessed the widespread rape, torture, killings by Pakistani forces and to understand the resentment most Bangladeshis still feel towards Pakistan.

(Image: An Indian tank during the India-Pakistan War of 1971)

Available now

25 minutes

Last on

Mon 19 Dec 2011 02:05 GMT

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