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Pakistan's 'Butcher of Bengal' dies

Staff and wires

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan's former army chief general Tikka Khan, once labeled the "Butcher of Bengal" for his ruthlessness against Bangladeshi separatists, has died after a long illness.

State-run Radio Pakistan said on Thursday that Khan, who died at the age of 87 from an undisclosed illness, was buried with "full military honors" at the army graveyard in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad.

Khan was military commander in what was then called East Pakistan when military ruler General Yahya Khan ordered a military crackdown in March 1971 against a separatist movement led by Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Khan was relieved of the East Pakistan command some months later, but his ruthlessness had earned him the nickname of the "Butcher of Bengal."

India came to the defense of the Bengali separatists and war broke out on December 3, 1971.

Pakistan surrendered in the east 12 days later and Rahman, who had swept the 1970 elections in East Pakistan, became the founder of independent Bangladesh.

Pakistan People's Party leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who won the 1970 elections in the then West Pakistan, appointed Khan as army chief and years later his defense minister.




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