East Pakistan Central Peace Committee
East Pakistan Central Peace Committee (Bengali: পূর্ব পাকিস্তান কেন্দ্রীয় শান্তি কমিটি) (Urdu: مشرقی پاکستان مرکزی امن کمیٹی), commonly known as the Peace Committee or Shanti committee, was one of several committees formed in East Pakistan(present-day Bangladesh) in 1971 by the Pakistan Army to aid its efforts in crushing the rebellion for Bangladesh independence. Ghulam Azam, as a leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, led the formation of the Shanti Committee to thwart the Mukti Bahini who fought for the independence of Bangladesh.
On March 25, 1971, the liberation war began. On 4 April 1971, twelve pro-Pakistan leaders, including Nurul Amin, Ghulam Azam and Khwaja Khairuddin, met General Tikka Khan of the Pakistan Army and assured him of cooperation in opposing the rebellion. After the meeting, the right-wing leadership announced the formation of the Citizen Peace Committee, with 140 members to restore peace or shanti in the East Pakistan. Khwaja Khairuddin called a meeting in Dhaka on 9 April 1971. The Shanti Committee has also been alleged to have recruited Razakars. The first recruits included 96 Jamaat party members, who started training in an Ansar camp at Shahjahan Ali Road, Khulna.
The leaders called on citizens of Pakistan to defend their country from Indian aggression, as India was supporting the Bangladesh liberation movement. The Peace Committee organized a rally from Baitul Mukarram to Chawk Bazar Mosque on 13 April. The rally was to end with a meeting near New Market. At the end of the rally, participants began rioting in Azimpur, Shantinagar and Shankharibazar areas. They set fire to the houses of known pro-liberation people and killed some.
On 14 April at a meeting in Dhaka, the Citizen Peace Committee renamed itself as the East Pakistan Central Peace Committee. A working committee was formed consisting of 21 members. They set up an office in Maghbazar. The Peace Committee appointed one or more liaison officers for the different police station areas of Dhaka. On April 17, 1971, the members of the peace committee apprised Governor Tikka Khan of the progress made by them toward restoring normalcy and confidence among the citizens. The central peace committee was being deputed to the district and divisional headquarters throughout east Pakistan. The peace committee in Munshiganj gave a grand reception to the West Pakistani militaries on May 11, 1971.
According to the historian Azadur Rahman Chandan in his 2011 book about the war, the Peace Committee was the first organization to be set up by local residents who collaborated with Pakistan. Its members were drawn from the political parties of the Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami, which thought an independent Bangladesh was against Islam; as well as the Urdu-speaking Biharis.
On 25 March 1971, after the liberation war began, the Pakistani Military Force needed help from the local people to crush the rebellion. They formed the Shanti committee, whose members were to help identify areas of fighters, develop social reform and act as guides as well as fighters. The Committee worked against Mukti Bahini and the Indian Army, and together with the paramilitary forces Al-Badr, Razakar and Al-Shams.
On 16 December 1971, after the end of the War, the Committee was abolished.
- ঢাকায় নাগরিক শান্তি কমিটি গঠিত (Citizen's Peace Committee formed in Dhaka), Daily Pakistan, April 11, 1971.
- "ভারতীয় চক্রান্ত বরদাস্ত করব না (We will never tolerate Indian conspiracy)". The Daily Sangram. April 13, 1971.
- Rubin, Barry A. (2010). Guide to Islamist Movements. M.E. Sharpe. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-7656-4138-0. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- Fair, C. Christine (16 June 2010). Pakistan: Can the United States Secure an Insecure State?. Rand Corporation. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-0-8330-4807-3. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- Chandan, Azadur Rahman (February 2011) . একাত্তরের ঘাতক ও দালালরা [The Killers and Collaborators of 71] (Revised 2nd ed.). Dhaka: Jatiya Sahitya Prakash. pp. 48–54. ISBN 984-70000-0121-4 Check
- "ঢাকায় নাগরিক শান্তি কমিটি". Dainik Pakistan. April 11, 1971.
- The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 1971; quoted in the book Muldhara 71 by Moidul Hasan
- Daily Pakistan. May 25, 1971.
- Daily Azad. May 26, 1971.
- "Citizens Peace Committee Renamed". The Pakistan Observer. April 16, 1971.
- "Peace Committee Leaders call on the Governor". The Pakistan Observer. April 17, 1971.
- "Peace Committee to be set up in districts". The Pakistan Observer. April 26, 1971.
- Daily Purbadesh. May 11, 1971.
- Kann, Peter R. (July 27, 1971). "East Pakistan Is Seen Gaining Independence, But It Will Take Years". Wall Street Journal.