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1969

January – February: Violence breaks out between people demonstrating against Ayub Khan’s martial law regime and the police. Bhutto announces a hunger strike protesting against Ayub Khan’s draconian laws.

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The Agartala Conspiracy Case is withdrawn, and Sheikh Mujib is released, at the insistence of some of the West Pakistani leaders meeting with Ayub Khan in a round table discussion for restoring peace.

The deaths of student leader Asad and a high-school student Matiur Rahman give rise to the Mass Uprising of 1969 (gana-abhyuththaan) in East Pakistan.

Sergeant Zahurul Haq, one of the 35 accused in the Agartala Conspiracy Case, is shot dead while in military custody at the Dhaka Cantonment (February 15).”

February 6: CIA’s confidential report on political situation of Pakistan:

“Daily disorders throughout Pakistan culminated in a massive general strike on 24 January. On that date and in the days immediately following, pitched battles were fought with the police; pro-government newspaper offices, government buildings, and even the homes of officials were attacked and some were gutted by fire. Eventually the government was forced to impose curfews on most of the nation’s cities, and the army was called in to restore order and enforce the curfew in Dacca, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and several smaller communities. Over 30 deaths were directly attributable to the violence.

Ayub’s political party, the PML–never a particularly effective organization–appears to have virtually collapsed.”

February 12: The Radical Wing in East Pakistan Politics: A report by A. Hailliley:

The radical wing has three components:
(a) Students
(b) Workers
(c) Peasants

February 20: Pakistan on the Brink:

“Ayub mistakenly discounted the ability of the new militant leaders to catalyze mass urban and East Pakistani hatred of his regime. Politically isolated over the years by Ayub and overtaken by extremists, the moderates have been at least temporarily neutralized.

Events in Pakistan are being forced by mobs in the streets — comprised largely of students and the urban discontented. It is to the uncompromising leadership of Z.A. Bhutto of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Maulana Abdul Hamid Bhashani of the left wing of the National Awami Party, and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman of the Six-Point Awami League (who articulates East Pakistan’s demand for autonomy) that the mobs respond.”

February 23: Sheikh Mujib was given the tiltle, ‘Bangabandhu’ (Friend of Bengal) in a rally in Race Course Field.

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March 13: Sheikh Mujib’s Address to the round table conference again demands for the establishment of a Federation providing for full regional autonomy to East Pakistan.

March 25: There was a hidden coup d’etat in which Yahya forced Ayub Khan to hand over his powers and resign. Memorandum from Kissinger on Ayub Khan’s resignation.

Closing Phase of Ayub regime : From the report of the Commission of Inquiry – 1971 War, as declassified by the Government of Pakistan.

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March 25: Text of President Yahya Khan’s address to the nation. Martial Law who’s who.

March 31: General Yahya immediately declared martial law. On the 31st of March, he assumed the title of President. More on the martial law.

April 11: Roy Fox’s talks with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman:

“Ayub had offered to make him (Mujib) Prime Minister of Pakistan but he refused saying he wanted to be elected, not appointed. Mujib said he still wanted one Pakistan. He had been vilified as a Hindu supporter because he supported the use of Bengali language and because of Agartala. He was ready to compromise on parity instead of 56% of representation for East Pakistan but he wanted the capital to be Dacca. The Bengalis were not cowards and were not afraid to die. Probably some would die but the rest would fight on. Autonomy was inevitable.”

April 30: A note on political development in Pakistan:

“Probably very few East Pakistanis want anything which would be called complete secession, but there is always a risk that the vehemence of their own demands may force them to go further than they wish, or that if East Pakistan’s demands were excessive.”

May 31: Martial Law Administration – An Interim Assessment:

“The basis of his dilemma is the fact that the demands of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for greater autonomy for East Pakistan, which are unacceptable to him as they were to Ayub, still command majority support in East Pakistan . Faced with this dilemma, General Yahva could try to risk imposing a constitutional solution unacceptable to Mujib. There is a danger_ likely to grow with time, that General Yahya might be tempted to resolve his difficulties by staying on as President.”

August 20: Conversation with Pir Syed Sikander Shah, Shah Mardan Sani, PIR SAHIB PAGARO, one of Sind’s key religious figures whose temporal role is central to Sind politics.

“He was giving serious consideration to the wisdom-and suitability–of joining forces with Mujib. Following discussions with Mujib during the latter’s August 7-14 visit to Karachi, he came to the conclusion that there is something to be gained by supporting the Awami League”

November 7: Current Pakistani scene – comment:

“Bengali accusations that the GOP is not doing enough to try to narrow the disparity are increasingly countered by privately expressed West Pak views that the deficiencies on the East Pakistani side play the greater role in hampering development-the chronically unfavorable weather, inefficiencies in the public sector, absence of an adequate entrepreneurial class, lack of investor interest, etc. Thus, indignation of the Bengalis over allegedly insufficient GOP interest clashes with West Pakistan feelings that Bengali demands are unreasonable.”

November 28: Excerpts from President Yahya Khan’s Address to the nation declares election in 1970.

December 5: Sheikh Mujib declared at a discussion meeting that henceforth East Pakistan would be called Bangladesh. He added:

“There was a time when all efforts were made to erase the word ‘Bangla’ from this land and its map . The existence of the word ‘Bangla’ was found nowhere except in the term Bay of Bengal. I, on be half of Pakistan, announce today that this land will be called ‘Bangladesh’ instead of ‘East Pakistan’.”

December 8: Demand to rename East Wing as Bangladesh Hailed

“Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani, Chief of National Awami Party, welcomed the demand for renaming East Pakistan as Bangla Desh and said it was a genuine demand from the historical pint of view.

Maulana Bhasani said the nomenclature of Bangla Desh was not a new thing. He said this region of the country populated by the Bengali speaking people was known as Bangla Desh (Bengal) for long. The NAP leader said that ill the regions of West Pakistan were known by their own names before One Unit. Only the name of Bangla Desh was snatched away and the name of East Pakistan was forcibly imposed.”

Although the media remains silent on the issue, the grapevine was buzzing with stories about Yayha Khan’s private life. With his penchant for the bottle and attractive women, the general’s private life was increasingly becoming entangled with his public persona. A number of starlets, as well as the mysterious ‘General’ Rani, were the subject of gossip.

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