The first few sorties were made at considerable altitude but they soon started to fly lower and lower until we could clearly see the pilots. In stark contrast to previous routine, not a single shot was fired on them from the ground. It was the most bizarre scene. We did not see, as we used to see, flames leaping from the ground to attack these planes. Instead, large numbers of pamphlets were being thrown from the planes. Printed in English, Bengali and Urdu, they invited the public to Ramna Race Course ground in the afternoon to witness the surrender of the Pakistan Army.
On 25 March 1971, the Pakistan Army launched military operations under Operation Searchlight against the population of East Pakistan. Dhaka bore the brunt of the army's atrocities, witnessing a genocide and a campaign of wide scale repression, with the arrest, torture and murder of the city's civilians, students, intelligentsia, political activists and religious minorities. The army faced mutinies from the East Pakistan Rifles and the Bengali police. Large parts of the city were burnt and destroyed, including Hindu neighborhoods. Much of the city's population was either displaced or forced to flee to the countryside. Dhaka was struck with numerous air raids by the Indian Air Force in December. Dhaka witnessed the surrender of the west Pakistan forces in front of the Bangladesh-India Allied Forces on 16 December 1971 with the surrender of Pakistan.[page needed] 2b1af7f3a8