Lt. Gen. Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, one of Pakistan’s most decorated soldiers, died on Feb. 2 from cardiac arrest. He was 89.
Niazi was commissioned in the United Indian Army in 1942, serving as a junior officer during World War II. When Pakistan won independence from Britain in 1947, he joined the Pakistan Army and worked his way through the ranks.
As chief of the Pakistan army command in what was then called East Pakistan, Niazi and his forces fought Bangladeshi separatists and Indian forces in a bloody civil war. For nine months, the fighting ensued and led to the deaths of 3 million people. Then in 1971, the city of Dhaka fell and Niazi surrendered his 90,000 troops to the Indian Army. The defeat, which was considered a national humiliation, allowed residents of East Pakistan to secede and form an independent Bangladesh.
Niazi later became a strong critic of the Pakistan Army. After an unsuccessful bid to enter politics, he published the 1999 book, “The Betrayal of East Pakistan.”