Cable 1971

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Cable 1971, otherwise known as Priority Signal or File 1971 was a high profile and secret military signal communicated in December 1952 between the two main inter-services branches of Pakistan–the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Navy.[1][2]: 219  It is notable for the fact that it essentially predicted the separation of Pakistan and Bangladesh and by coincidence its title contained the year in which the separation actually happened, almost 20 years later.

The military cable was directed through the Naval Intelligence and Military Intelligence to ISI sent to its headquarter[1] and came in the wake of reactionary of Basic Principles Committee's first report towards the writing of the first set of the Constitution of Pakistan.[1] The cable was sent by then-Commodore S.M. Ahsan to DG ISI Major-General R. Cawthome on a file coincidentally numbered 1971.[1] The cable discussed the implication of One Unit and one culture policy, religious fanaticism, and the economic parity between the West and East Pakistan that will ultimately result in the division of Pakistan into two different groups.[2]: 219–220 

The cable's message read as:

  • The creation of Committee of Ulema to veto the decisions taken in the House of People on religious matters, gives excess of powers to Ulema over the rights of elected representatives of the people. This gives an impression of Pakistan as being a theocratic state.[2]: 219–220 
  • To recommend that the head of the state should be a Muslim will unnecessarily create suspicions in minds of the minorities in Pakistan. The choice to select the head of the state should be left entirely to the people, to select without prejudice to caste, colour and creed.[2]: 219–220 
  • It is maintained by same officers that a single House elected on population basis should have been envisaged, and we should cease to think in terms of Bengalis, Pathans, Balochis, Sindhis, Punjabis etc. The parity between West & East Pakistan will ultimately result in the division of Pakistan into two different groups, therefore, it is the very negation of one people, one country and one culture.[1]

The cable's message was further extended and discussed at the Army GHQ by MI's officer Major KM Arif when he compiled an "Intelligence Report No. 7894 of the Office of Intelligence Research and Analysis" in December 1970.[1]

The cable is notable for its highlighted title and many historians found strange that the cable was coincidentally numbered: Cable/File 1971.[1][2]: 210 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Shabbir, Usman (2004). "Submarine Operations: Cable 1971". Islamabad: PakDef Military Consortium. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Roy, Mihir K. (1995). War in the Indian Ocean. Lancer Publishers. ISBN 978-1-897829-11-0. Retrieved 10 December 2016.