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1970

Jabuary 7: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Freign Policy Views, Electoral Strategy

“Asked by Mr. Sober what would happen if the constituent assembly elected on October 5 fails to agree on a constitution within the specified period of 120 days, Sheikh Mujib responded, “We will try. We will try. If we cannot agree, then we cannot agree.” The import of Mujib’s reply was not clear. He seemed to Mr. Killgore to be implying that if East and West Pakistan could not agree then they might go their separate ways.”

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January 31: The Strategy for Autonomy

“Whilst his present tactics will allow Mujib to capture a majority of the seats from East Pakistan, he obviously cannot get a constitution of his choice on the basis of his strength in one province alone… In West Pakistan, there is hardly any political group today which will not insist on deleting some popular provisions of the Six Points including perhaps establishment of regional re­serve bank, separate Exchange Control and a Federal Government shorn of fiscal power.

In response to these pragmatic considerations, if Mujib tries, as it is argued, to re-adjust his position after the general election, he will find such options highly dangerous. After the tremendous build up of mass feelings through his campaign for Six-Points and chanting of Joi-Bangla, any search on his behalf for a workable compromise with his West Pakistani associates will be looked upon by the average man, including his party youngsters, as a crude attempt to barter away some of the Province’s unfulfilled rights.”

February 13: While the western wing seems to be tantalised by Bhutto’s promises to put an end to capitalist exploitation, in the east wing Mujib attacks West Pakistan as the capitalist exploiter.

Interestingly, neither of the two leaders enjoys much support beyond his own part of the country. Meanwhile, there are also those who are contesting elections in the name of religion. Hardline religious parties claiming that “Islam is in danger” view both Bhutto and Mujib as agents and purveyors of anti-Islamic ideas.

More here: Political Assessment- Status Report on Election Campaign

March 3: Conversation with NAP/R President Wali Khan:

“Wali Khan is convinced that if Pakistan is to be strong, it must inevitably have a weakened Center. Given the strength of regional sentiment in both the East and West Wings, only the devolution of greater autonomy to the provinces can provide the basis for unity through the accommodation of diverse and divergent aspirating. Insofar as West Pakistan is concerned, the dismemberment of One Unit is a complete necessity.”

March 28: Texts of President Yahya Khan’s Address to the nation.

March 30: Legal Framework Order, 1970

May 7: Awami League Manifesto

May 22: The Pakistani political scene

June 2: East Pakistan: Sheikh Mujib in serious mood

Mujib threatened, “I will proclaim independence and call for guerilla action if the army tries to stop me. It is primarily fear of communist exploitation a Vietnam type situation which has kept me patient this long.”

June 4: US ambassador meets Bhasani

“In short, he (Bhasani) struck us as a figure with considerable nuisance value but probably not posing any serious threat to the government or to the anticipated electoral process.”

June 8: Pakistan cannot be destroyed, says Mujib

“Sheikh (Mujib) repeatedly held out the assurance that Islam was in no danger on the sacred soil of Pakistan, and lashed out at those who raised cries of “Islam in danger” on flimsy grounds, to promote their own political ends. He censured the Jamaat-i-Islami for what he called their anti-East Pakistan role and for trying to deprive the people of this province of their legitimate rights by creating confusion in the name of Islam.”

June 30: Suhrawardy’s death was not natural

July 28: Election Assessment (10 weeks to go)

President Yahya Khan’s address to Nation

August 15: Elections shifted to December – Decision due to floods

August 31: Constituent post report on current political scene

October 25: Polls, a referendum on autonomy.

Six-point programme will not destroy Pakistan or Islam

November 12: 1970 Bhola cyclone and inefficiency of West Pakistan Government in handling reliefs

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November 26: Mujib deplores apathy towards cyclone victims

“Despite the advance information avai­lable through SUPARCO and the weather satellites, almost two whole days before the cyclone struck, no proper or adequate warning was given to the unwary inhabitants of the coastal areas, left alone any attempts being made to evacuate at least some of them.

We are confirmed today in our conviction that if we are to save the people of Bangla Desh from the ravages of nature, as of their fellowmen, we must attain full regional autonomy on the basis of the 6-point/11-point formula. We must have plenary powers to manage our economy.”

November 27: Polls on schedule – East Pakistan must have maximum autonomy -President Yahya Khan

December 3: President Yahya Khan’s address to the nation

December 7: Awami League wins election, PPP refused to allow Sheikh Mujib as Prime Minister

December 10: Assessment of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

“Mujib the man is hard to characterize. He is primarily a man of action-a mass leader. In private meetings he is charming, calm and confident. He is well traveled and urbane. He knows Europe, particularly the UK, as well as China and the U.S. On the rostrum he is a fiery orator who can mesmerize hundreds of thousands in pouring rain. As a party leader he is tough and authoritative, often arrogant. Mujib has something of a messianic complex which has been reinforced by the heady experience of mass adultation. He talks of “my people, my land, my forests, my river.” It seems clear that he views himself as the personification of Bengali aspirations.”

December 21: Quantum of Autonomy by Mutual Accord

December 30: Call on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

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