1966

February: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was elected party president. Awami League declares the Six Point Movement.

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March 23: 6-Point Formula-Our Right to Live by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman:

“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.”

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Ayub Khan with opposition leaders

(Image credit: Doc Kazi from Flickr)

March 24: President Ayub’s outburst on secessionist demands:

“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.”

May 5: General Yahya becomes chief of Pakistan army

The political scene in East Pakistan: Growing popularity of Awami League

“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.”

May 18: Political affairs in East Pakistan: Rioting in Chittagong

“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”

The Six Point Movement

February 1966:

Before a convention of opposition parties held in Lahore, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman puts forward his demand for a federal governing system with full autonomy for the two wings of Pakistan:

1. A Federation of Pakistan based on the Lahore Resolution, with a parliamentary form of government based on the supremacy of a directly elected legislature and representation on the basis of population.

2. The federal government to be responsible only for defense and foreign affairs.

3. A federal reserve system designed to prevent the flight of capital from one region to the other.

4. Taxation to be the responsibility of each federating unit, with necessary provisions for funding the federal goverment.

5. Each unit to retain its own foreign exchange earnings as well as the power to negotiate foreign trade and aid.

6. Each unit to maintain its own paramilitary forces.

“The historic Six-Point Demand or Six-Point Movement has been widely credited as the ‘charter of freedom’ in the history of the Bangalees’ struggle for freedom and independence from Pakistan’s colonial domination. Indeed, the Awami League-led six-point movement in 1966 was the turning point in our quest for greater autonomy and self-determination. It is fair to suggest that the six-point movement is a milestone in the history of our struggle for freedom and independence.” — Prof M Waheeduzzaman in his analysis of The Six Points Movement

The Lahore Resolution was inspired by Jinnah and formally moved by A K Fazlul Huq at a General Session of the All India Muslim League on March 23, 1940:

“…no constitutional plan would be … acceptable to the Muslims unless … geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions … with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. [And] the areas where the Muslims are numerically in a majority, as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India, should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.”