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    India honoured ex-Pak soldier Lt Col Qazi Sajjad Ali Zahir with Padma Shri; here's why

    India honoured ex-Pak soldier Lt Col Qazi Sajjad Ali Zahir with Padma Shri; here's why

    India honoured ex-Pak soldier Lt Col Qazi Sajjad Ali Zahir with Padma Shri; here's why
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Updated)

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    Lt Col Zahir had risked his life to come to India to share a bunch of confidential documents of the Pakistani Army to help liberate Bangladesh in the 1971 war.

    Former Pakistani soldier Lt Col Qazi Sajjad Ali Zahir was awarded the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian honours in India, on Monday. Lt Col Zahir, who helped liberate Bangladesh in the 1971 war, received the Padma Shri for his contributions to the Indian intelligence and the Bangladesh freedom movement.
    In Pakistan, the ex-military man has had a death sentence in his name for the past 50 years.
    Who is Lt Col Qazi Sajjad Ali Zahir?
    Lt Col Qazi Sajjad Ali Zahir was born on April 11, 1951, and commissioned to the 78 Field Regiment Artillery in Pakistan in 1971. When he risked his life to come to India, all he had with him was a bunch of confidential documents of the Pakistani Army and Rs 20. But his mission was clear: Help India liberate Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan) from the Pakistani army's atrocities and human rights violations.
    Then a 20-year-old officer with the Pakistani army, Lt Col Zahir was posted in Sialkot when he came across Pakistan's plan of a genocide. He crossed the border to India in March 1971 with documents and maps stuffed in his boots. Suspecting him to be a spy, Indian border security force questioned him and took him to Pathankot where he was grilled by senior officers. When Lt Col Zahir presented officers with the confidential documents, he was shifted to a safe house in Delhi from where he coordinated with the Indian intelligence. Later, Lt Col Zahir moved to Bangladesh and was instrumental in training the Mukti Bahini (freedom fighters) in guerrilla warfare.
    According to The Daily Star, Dhaka, Lt Col Zahir took part in combats in Sylhet area during the war. He also fought battles at Borolekha, Shamsher Nagar, Juri, Mongla Bazar and Kulaura.
    After the war
    Bangladesh honoured Lt Col Zahir with medals such as the Bir Protik, the equivalent of the Vir Chakra for gallantry in India, and the Swadhinata Padak, which is the country's highest civilian honour.
    India, too, recognised his contributions by conferring the Padma Shri.
    Lt Col Zahir, who retired from service in 1982, has authored 26 books on the liberation war, The Daily Star reported. He has helped the Bangladesh government bring mortal remains of freedom fighters from India.
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