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February 1971

February 1: Possibility of East /West Pakistan split -Yahya. US ambassadors view on this (pdf).

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February 2: Pres. Yahya’s views on Mujibur, Bhutto, and Pakistani politics

February 4: Indian airliner Ganga, which was hijacked on January 30 by alleged Kashmiri freedom fighters to Lahore, was destroyed by the hijackers. They had released the passengers before detonation. India banned all Pakistani aircraft from flying over its territory in retaliation to the incident. It is feared that this move will lead to severe communications problems between the two wings of Pakistan.

February 9: Mujib regrets delay in convening National Assembly session

February 10: Pakistan: In search of a consensus -Research study – Bureau of Intelligence and research, USA

Telegram to Department of State on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

February 11: US Dept of States commends Consul General Blood for skillful handling of Awami League leader Alamgir’s approach for US support for independent East Pakistan.

February 13: National meets on March 3, Dacca is venue – President’s order

February 13: Bhutto met with the American Ambassador:

“Bhutto indicated quite clearly that he wanted to “turn over a new leaf’ in his relation with the US and pointed out that, as a concrete gesture of good will on his part. He said he was wondering what would be the attitude of the US if the PPP could not agree on a “Modus Vivendi” with the Awami League on the constitution. I wanted him to know that the policy of the US has been and continues to be that of supporting the independence, unity and integrity of Pakistan.”

February 14: A report on the East Pakistan Awami League Working Committee Meeting.

February 15: Sheikh Mujib cautions against conspiracy – Transfer of power early

Bhutto refuses to accept Mujib’s leadership in the Central Assembly. The chaos which defined Pakistani politics effectively began on February 15, 1971, the day Z A Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party and putative leaderof the opposition in the National Assembly on the strength of the 88 seats his party had come by at the elections, publicly declined to attend the parliament session called by President Yahya Khan for March 3 in Dhaka..

February 16: Bhutto, whose Pakistan People’s Party controls more than half of the Assembly seats from West Pakistan, has asserted that he is the spokesman for the West.

Bhutto says no to constitution making.

Sheikh Mujib bitterly criticised the demand of Bhutto and said:

“The demand of Bhutto sahib is totally illogical. Power has to be handed over to the only majority party, the Awami League. The people of East Bengal are now the masters of power.”

February 19: Awami League Apprehensions:

Alamgir said Mujib had on February 19 asked him to check out reports that Pak army was making significant troop dispositions. He hadreported back to Mujib that he found no such evidence. Placement of anti-aircraft guns around airport and other nearby locations is viewed by Awami League as primarily psychological move to indicate to people that air of tension with India exists.

February 21: Mujib called a meeting of all the political leaders of Pakistan to discuss the 6-point demand before it would be placed at the National Assembly session.

February 22: The generals in West Pakistan took a decision to crush the Awami League and its supporters. “Kill three million of them,” said President Yahya Khan at the February conference, “and the rest will eat out of our hands.” (Robert Payne, Massacre [1972], p. 50.)

Pakistan: Implications of political separation

February 24: Mujib announced that there was a conspiracy to undermine the election results.

February 25: US Ambassador’s discussion with Yahya on political situation- he is worried about the impasse of Bhutto-Mujib talks.

February 26: Yahiya holds a secret meeting with Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party.

February 28: Bhutto announced that the National Assembly session should be postponed. He said that the people of West Pakistan vetoed the 6-point.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto said: “We cannot go there only to endorse a constitution already prepared by a party, and return humiliated… We have a duty to those millions who elected us.” He proposes that the PPP should control West Pakistan while the Awami League could rule over East Pakistan. He has also warned his newly elected delegates to the National Assembly that he will break the legs of any party member who dares to attend the March 3 session.

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