February: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was elected party president. Awami League declares the Six Point Movement.
“I know of no nobler battle than to fight for the rights of the exploited millions. We believe that this feeling of absolute equality, sense of inter-wing justice and impartiality is the very basis of Pakistani patriotism. Only he is fit to be a leader of Pakistan who is imbued with and consumed by such patriotism, a leader who zealously holds that any one who deliberately or knowingly weakens any limb of Pakistan is an enemy of the country.”
Ayub Khan with opposition leaders
(Image credit: Doc Kazi from Flickr)
“His attacks on the Opposition became more virulent and he referred openly to the possibility of Pakistan breaking apart. The Awami League, he claimed, nurtured the “horrid dream” of a greater sovereign Bengal. It could only spell disaster for the country, the people of East Pakistan would be turned into slaves, and he reminded them how they had been dominated by Hindus during British days. Islamic countries flourished in history at times when a strong central authority existed and fell into decadence at times of weak central authority.
He said that the Nation should be prepared to face even a civil war if thrust upon it ‘by disruptionists.’ The Government would not tolerate any attempt to tamper with the unity and solidarity of the Nation and expressed his concern at the activities of Opposition parties. If necessary, we would have to use ‘the language of weapons’.”
His talk of resorting to weapons and civil war was badly judged and resented by almost all East Pakistanis.
April 28: Popularity of the six point programme
“The the left wing National Awami Party (N.A.P. – Bhasani) has given considerable support, for instance, to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Six Point Programme for further autonomy for East Pakistan. The Government appears to have lost patience with Mujibur Rahman. He was arrested on 18 April, released on bail, re-arrested on another charge and finally again released on bail.”
“AL is gaining its popular support following the Government’s harassment of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Its six point autonomy agenda is widely supported by other political parties and civil societies.”
“Influential minority communities such as the Ismailis are badly upset by an ugly affair in Chittagong, when a Memon girl was prevented by her family from marrying a Bengali boy, and Bengali-nationalist rioting following”