Pakistan's President Yahya Khan has invited India to grasp Pakistan's hand in friendship and begin a new era of good neighbourly relations.
SV Car along road with journalists arrive at border town (2 shots)
SV Journalists out of cars and walking through town
SV Indian troops on patrol.
SV Journalists into boat (2 shots)
SV Ditto in boat crossing river to Pakistan side.
SV PAN Damaged border post in Pakistan
SV Journalists away from boat
SV Group of local people and track into border post.
SV Members of Mukti Bahini patrol with rifles and guard outpost (2 shots)
SV Local fishermen casting net into river
SV Journalist goes deeper into Pakistan territory.
SV Cameraman stop to film men and boys being trained by Mukti Bahini (2 shots)
CV Boys watch instructor demonstrate
SV Boy firing submachine gun
SV Group of Mukti Bahini and TILT TO boy with machine gun.
SV Mukti Bahini setting out on patrol
Initials SGM/1500 SGM/1543
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Background: Pakistan's President Yahya Khan has invited India to grasp Pakistan's hand in friendship and begin a new era of good neighbourly relations. He made the cal in a message to the nation, on Saturday (20 November), marking the end of Ramadan, the Moslem month of fasting. "Armed conflict do not solve any problem", the President said. There appeared to be a shift in emphasis in the message, which contained no specific criticism of India.
Earlier in the week, however, incidents were reported between Indian and Pakistani troops at various points along the Indo-Pakistani border. Both side reported incidents of shelling and incursions by the other.
Pakistan government troops are also engaged in sporadic fighting with members of the Mukti Bahini -- Bangali forces of the self-proclaimed Bangla Desh government -- near the Indian border in East Pakistan.
On Thursday (18 November), VISNEWS cameraman Sepp Riff was among a group of journalists that toured a so-called liberated zone in East Pakistan. Arranged by Indian and Bangla Desh officials, the tour was conducted by men of the Mukti Bahini.
SYNOPSIS: A special motorcade nears the Indian border with Pakistan, seventy miles from Calcutta. Arranged by India and Bangla Desh officials on Thursday, the cars are carrying Journalists for a trip into a so-called liberated area of East Pakistan
The Journalists were escorted to the border by soldiers of the Indian Army. The border, in this case, is the Itchamati River, the tour came at a time when there are signs of a thaw in chilly Indo-Pakistani relations. On Saturday Pakistan's President Yahya Khan invited India to grasp Pakistan's hand in friend ship and begin a new era of good neighbourly relations. "Armed conflicts do not solve problems" The President said. On Friday restrictions were lifted on the movement of staff of diplomatic missions which were imposed in April.
On the Pakistan side of the river, Journalists saw a damaged border post once manned by Pakistan government troops. The Journalists were met by members of the Mukti Bahini -- Bangali forces of the self-proclaimed Bangla Desh government. The Mukti Bahini now control the border post at Sripur, and they refer to the surrounding area as one of their "Liberated areas".
Because of their small numbers and few weapons -- most rifles are from World War Two-- the Mukti Bahini employ the hit-and-run tactics of guerrilla warfare in their engagements with Pakistani governments troops.
After being shown the border post, the journalists were taken deeper into Pakistan by men of the Mukti Bahini. The journalists were told they could not go very far, as there was fighting further on.
At Calarahin-Pur members of the Mukti Bahini were running a weapons and guerrilla warfare training centre for men and young boys. Many of these young boys may he used for sabotage operations against the Pakistani government forces. Although they are trained in the use of submachine guns, few of these arms are available even to the adult members of Mukti Bahini.
According to some officials, the Mukti Bahini is now finding it more difficult to operate effectively in these border areas, as villagers are becoming frightened of Pakistani Army reprisals for harbouring guerrillas. Whole villages are reported to have been razed as a result. Still it is claimed most villagers are sympathetic to the Mukti Bahini and do not give them up to the troops easily.
And so, the guerrilla patrols continue.