In today's DAWN (from past pages 1971 "Newsprint usage"), it is reported that the government had asked all morning newspapers to restrict consumption of newsprint from 48 to 46 pages a week (even today, DAWN prints 100 pages a week due to reduced readership). That brought back memories of the '71 war which we lost due to the stupidity of our leaders.

Bengali rebels had captured Chittagong port and the surrounding areas, killing hundreds of Memons, Pathans, Biharis and Punjabis who were employed in factories like Karnaphuli Paper Mills (which I visited when I went to Bangladesh in 1999). This mill was owned by my former Memon employers (Dawoods) who escaped being murdered by the skin of their teeth.

A petroleum oil tanker was due to berth to supply oil to Dawood's oil terminal. When the navy began to recapture the port, the tanker was ordered to go to Karachi, and when it arrived at the Dawood Petroleum's Keamari terminal (where I was working), I was surprised to see fat and tall Bengali workers on the ship. Karachi had a sizable number of Bengalis who worked mostly as cooks and drivers, and most of them were emaciated and short. Some of them stayed back and until a few years ago Karachi used to have a Bengali newspaper for such people (perhaps it still does).

When I visited Bangladesh I was warmly welcomed by people who were my age and older. One of them even embraced me. He had been the attorney general of the province in united Pakistan. He recalled fondly the good old days when his country had been part of Pakistan. I couldn't help thinking that if our leaders had not been so intransigent in those days, the country would still have been united today and we wouldn't have suffered the humiliating defeat in that war.