The Legal Frame-Work Order- A discussion on the liberation war of Bangladesh

The (Legal Frame-Work Order (LFO) is often skipped by many individuals when any discussion comes on the liberation war of Bangladesh. It is a mystery why this important promulgation is excluded from criticism or discussion. Sometimes LFO is not understood and, thus, ignored often by the participants or presenters. It was mentioned first time during Ayub Khan as he emerged as the Military ruler as Prime Minister of Pakistan on October 7, 1958. He captured the office of the President on October 27, 1958 by ousting Iskander Mirza. The LFO did not become much familiar as Ayub concentrated to give a hotchpotch constitution for Pakistan. Thus, hardly anyone remembers about LFO.

The LFO appeared again when Yahya Khan came to the power on March 25, 1969 as Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA). The political activities were banned outright issuing at least two dozens Martial Law regulations on the same night following last Radio Broadcast of Ayub Khan at 8:15 p.m. The next day Yahya Khan appeared on the Radio and attempted to elaborate on the purpose of his arrival. He asserted to go back to the barrack by giving power to the people elected representatives. Yahya noted firmly to return one month’s tuition fee for the students as they suffered continuity of attending educational institutions. Somehow his address was convincing following a series of unrest events for over three months. Yahya Khan took the office of the President on April 1, 1969. Until then there was no President of the country as was pointed out by several foreign Embassies in Islamabad.

Yahya Khan tried to sell CMLA title in lieu of the President. He argued whether CMLA can replace the title of the President. Since CMLA does not give a smell of the head of the state, Yahya agreed to capture “President” title although he already occupied President’s office. Before the end of May 1969 every student in the then Eastern Pakistan got back one month’s tuition fee. Many students use it as pocket money and became very happy. In fact, this money was subsidized by the Military Administration.

Yahya Khan began delivering Radio speeches like Ayub Khan. He introduced quarterly basis while Ayub adopted monthly basis. In the next Radio Broadcast on June 28, 1969 Yahya Khan declared to open political activities beginning January 1, 1970. He noted “one person one vote” for the upcoming election scheduling on October 5, 1970. Yahya asserted that the election would be for Parliamentary Democracy in the country. Again he asserted to go back to the barrack at the earliest.

Thus, each of the Radio addresses of Yahya Khan brought some aspiration to the people. Yahya added facilities to the students. One attractive feature was cut priced Cinema Hall ticket for viewing movies. Many students were very happy with this facility for the first time in Pakistan. Of curse, Yahya noted about the use of Institutional Identity Card to enjoy such facilities.

Another attractive feature using the same Identity Card was affirmed for the transportation fare within the city transit systems. This was actually an extension to the existing train or air fares for long range journey. Overall students got added facilities to enjoy such facilities. The private transport companies issued special fixed priced (concession) ticket which was subsidized by the Military Administration. The Cinema Hall authorities deducted the usual tax amount and kept the rest maintenance and entrance fees. Somehow the administration began losing tax money.

Yahya noted about the disparity between the two wings of Pakistan in the same broadcast on June 28, 1969. He partly blamed previous administration for causing disparity. Yahya assured that he would reduce disparity between the two wings as much as possible in a short period of time. As an immediate action item he declared to double the recruiting process in the Army. Similar action was recommended for the central (federal) jobs. Further, he declared ordering to capture corrupt officers or officials by taking account of personal properties on October 7, 1958 and on March 25, 1969. Obvious difference having inconsistency can give substantial evidence for corrupt practices in job. By October 1969 a list of 303 officers were published as they were all sacked from the job because of financially corrupt practices.

In the same broadcast Yahya dismantled one unit of Western Pakistan that Ayub envisioned with Basic Democracy in 1962. Thus, Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, and Sarhad (North-West Frontier) came back in the map of Pakistan. Since these names appeared again in the map but the mystery remains with the name of the Eastern wing. Ayub installed two names for two wings of Pakistan which was pretty easy to note based on their location on the global map. Yahya remained silent about reviving Eastern Bengal for Eastern Pakistan as a province. This silence did not cause problem with the sentiment of the people of the then Eastern Pakistan concerning the name of the Province.

Overall, Yahya Khan became a popular figure to the students and common mass. He had no problem in walking nearly unguarded almost every corner of Pakistan. His actions were very generous and very practical though he had no public contact like Ayub Khan. It is mystery that both Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan never came to the contact of common people. They preferred to announce any thing from the palace and use Radio or TV. Their public lectures were very rare and made occasional with proper reason.

Almost immediately after coming to the office of the President, Yahya sent S. M. Ahsam (Vice Admiral) as Governor of the then Eastern Pakistan. Ahsan earned popularity very rapidly and began to enjoy often public contact. Thus, people were very happy besides seeing control of commodity pricing. Nevertheless, lifestyle became very healthy with firm economy. The fortune became glorious as the currency became very strong against the Indian currency as Pakistan did not devalue Rupee following devaluation of the British Sterling Pound. Thus, the new conversion rate became 11.43 instead of perennial 13.33 for each British Sterling Pound. But this happened in early 1970.

During September 28, 1969 Radio Broadcast Yahya affirmed about the election process. He defined the size of the Parliament with 300 elected Members having proper ratios for each Province of Pakistan. He asserted population basis seats in the Parliament including 13 reserved seats. In this way East Pakistan had 162 seats and West Pakistan had 138 seats with 7 female seats for East Pakistan and 6 female seats for West Pakistan.

Yhaya also announced the appointment of Justice Abdus Sattar as the Chief Election Commissioner. Later Sattar became elected President of Bangladesh on November 15, 1981. Yahya also asserted for the new constitutional map of Pakistan. Again, the scheduled date for election was affirmed by Yahya Khan. He assured full fledged political activities toward election campaign by political parties.

This time Yahya announced about the LFO and its purpose. He outlined the purpose and pointed toward each political party participating in the election to obey the content of LFO. He asked each party leader to sign it and follow the content therein to frame the constitution of Pakistan. Yahya clearly spelled out 120 days limit if the Parliament session once starts for framing the constitution. Yahya firmly asserted if the Parliament does not come to a conclusive decision on the constitution of the country within 120 days of seating inside the National Assembly then the entire Parliament automatically be declared as abrogated. This situation recalled for continued Military Administration until next decision for transfer of power is devised. Yahya mentioned this situation would be the worst scenario.

In order to reach a decision on framing the constitution Yahya mentioned about allowing sufficient time of discussion among the elected representatives (Parliament Members) outside the parliament. Yahya’s condition was clear on framing the constitution. The loop-hole that Yahya created was with the LFO. The meaning of LFO was understood by the political parties. It was made public at a later date on March 30, 1970 for comprehension. General mass never paid attention to this document as it had nothing to do with the daily life of a person within Pakistan. Since political activities were not allowed at that time, thus, there was no remark about LFO published by the political parties. Yahya’s outline of LFO was Greek until it was available as a document.

The LFO defines as how the political parties should behave during the election and following the election results. It also defined as how the Parliament would proceed with the constitution of Pakistan. Further LFO indicated as how the Prime Minister and the President would be determined for the country. Overall, it gave a mechanism of the ruling machinery.

Yahya Khan was not certain about the election result of the Eastern wing. Meanwhile Mujib began political activities with his massive public gathering in Dacca on the New Year’s Day. He was a hero during February-March 1969 after he was released from the Agartola Conspiracy Case on February 22, 1969. Tofael Ahmed orchestrated Mujib with a title BONGOBONDHU. Within days Mujib became a new personality while he was much unfamiliar in entire the then East Pakistan. This time Mujib became well known as his coverage in Radio, TV as well as newspapers became broad on a daily basis. He outnumbered many provincial leaders almost immediately with his increasing popularity.

Justice A. R. Cornelius, a Catholic Christian from Punjab, engineered the content of the LFO though he does not come to the forefront. He was bottle partner of Yahya Khan and served nicely under Ayub Khan as the Supreme Court Chief Justice. Both Yahya and Cornelius became friends to a level that Cornelius protected the interest of Yahya as the President of Pakistan. The LFO documented no overwhelming majority for a single Province by any political party. At least two Provinces were necessary exceeding 157 seats to make absolute majority in the Parliament out of 313 seats. In this way a single Province, like the then East Pakistan, cannot become the majority party in the Parliament if a single party captures all the 169 seats of East Pakistan. This is the tricky part of LFO which Mujib and his followers knew very well.

Further in the LFO national integrity, solidarity, and security of Pakistan were discussed. Every political party and their leaders must have solid faith in these items as part of the requirements. Every party must contribute to framing the constitution of Pakistan. By agreeing all the issues every political leader had to sign the document before competing in the election. In other words, these were the summary of the outlines of LFO. Kamal Hossain was Mujib’s advisor on the content of the LFO. Both Kamal and Mujib agreed to go for it to participate in the election.

The scheduled election date for October 5, 1970 was changed to a new date to December 7, 1970 sometime around August 15, 1970. Yahya came to see the flood situation in Dacca around August 12, 1970. First he went to the coastal areas and many other inundated parts of the then Eastern Pakistan. On August 13, 1970 he visited entire Dacca city from morning to sunset by driving an open Military Jeep putting on gumboot and regular Military uniform. He left the Presidential vehicle empty and driven by the driver only. The open Jeep was driven by Yahya with a single, presumably, bodyguard. This Jeep allowed him to go about 1-ft. deep water. Most of the time Yahya walked in the knee-deep or more-deep dirty water containing city waste from sewerage.

Knowing such ****** water Yahya walked all the camps primarily located in the local schools and temporary shelters. He distributed clothes, blankets, wheat, rice, and other ready-made food items. Yahya became a popular figure outright to the poor people. Every one chanted Yahya Zindabad. Days later a cross section of the same people chanted anti Yahya slogan when Mujib launched campaign meetings at various parts of Dacca city including other districts that were inundated with flood water. It was approximated that nearly 30,000 square miles area of the then East Pakistan was flooded in the 1970 flood. Mujib watched chanting slogans against Yahya this way by his party activists.

On August 15th 1970 Yahya returned to Islamabad and almost immediately he decided to shift the election date which was strongly suggested by many political parties including Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Mia Momtaj Daultana, Khan Abdul Qaiyum Khan, Khan Wali Khan, and many others from the then West Pakistan beside several East Pakistani political parties. The prime reason was flood in the then East Pakistan which needs time to recover from this natural disaster. Bhashani was against voting as he proclaimed VOTER AAGEY VAAT CHAAI (want food before election). Therefore, Bhashani suggested for complete abandonment of the election again by getting the chance of flooding.

It was Mujib who never recognized the problems of flooding in the then Eastern Pakistan. He wanted the election to be conducted by hook or by crook at the earliest possible time. Many interpreters seeing Mujib’s adamant attitude commented that Mujib may lose popularity as time runs out. This is because Mujib may become untrustworthy to the people if too long time is taken to conduct election. That is why Mujib was very restless and never acknowledge about flooding as a severe problem. He was the person who told flood is not an issue of changing the date for election but a great conspiracy is being hatched by other leaders of Pakistan who do not like his party to secure people’s mandate to get power in the center (Islamabad).

To note here Yahya was warned about the flooding early July 1970 by several political parties of the then East Pakistan. As October 5 1970 was nearing flood turned severe in the middle of August 1970. Flood water took another three weeks to subside until early September 1970. People began to go back to their home shortly thereafter. Many of them found no food at home, no job at all, damaged house, etc. It took time for them to settle down indeed.

There was another reason to choose December 7 1970 as the potential date for election as Yahya cited. He mentioned about the fasting month of Ramadan which began on November 02, 1970. Yahya did not favor voting during this holy month as most people will have shorter working days. Almost all political parties favored the justification except for Mujib. He expressed unhappiness and told Pakistani vested interest group is taking refuge of the religion. The again in order to enjoy hardcore Muslims’ votes he compromised that Pakistani vested interest group is anti-people elements. They do not understand people’s voting right and so on. All these explanations from Mujib had no ground considering logical reasons.

Shortly after this prolonged natural disaster, a terrible cyclone came in the coastal areas on the night of November 12, 1970. On that night Yahya was in China. He came back on November 14, 1970 at Dacca Airport to see the devastation as he was informed about it. Instead of taking a helicopter he briefly met Ahsan at the VIP room and took another aircraft to reach Islamabad. On the same night he reached Islamabad and the news media announced that Yahya was urgently called for events in the capital city which became priority.

In fact, Yahya was about to be toppled by Hamid Khan. He called Yahya to get certain things done for the interest of the Army which Yahya agreed to do. This situation saved Yahya from a possible overthrow. Of course, Chief of Staff Hamid Khan was sensible enough to wait on the disputed issue within the Army. No one knows exactly what the issue with Hamid Khan was. In the job Hamid Khan was senior to Yahya but Ayub made Yahya superseding several officers and made chief of staff. This is because Yahya Khan was one of the young officers who supported Ayub Khan’s arrival as the Military leader in 1958. That is why Yahya was promoted superseding others and he finally reached the peak in early 1966 when Musa retired. Since then Hamid remained second person to Yahya but Yahya had to digest Hamid’s ultimatum on several occasions after Ayub’s departure.

After recovering from possible overthrow Yahya returned to Dacca a week later on November 21, 1970. On the next day morning he began trips with a helicopter which he continued for two days. Shortly thereafter he returned to Islamabad. This time Yhaya decided to shift the election again as he recalled the death of two hundred thousand people. The actual figure could be ten times of this number. During Yahya’s departure Mujib cautioned as not to change the date of election.

Upon returning Islamabad Yahya changed the date for 9 constituencies along the coastal areas of the then East Pakistan after consulting with Justice Abdus Sattar. Somehow this opinion was tremendously disliked by Mujib on the evening of Ramadan Iftar for which he hardly did care. One way or the other Mujib never liked changing the election date at all. The reason is still unclear. None of his party activists gave any explanation for Mujib’s restlessness concerning the election process.

A week later after the Eid-ul-Fitr on Monday, December 7, 1970 election took place peacefully throughout Pakistan. Mujib won 151 seats out of 153 constituencies. After midnight Mujib gave a statement saying that conspiracy is still being hatched for not allowing going to the power. For what reason Mujib delivered such a statement no one knew but ordinary brain can feel that the Pakistanis are not going to allow Mujib to be in the throne. As a common citizen or even educated one, any one, from the then East Pakistan did not understand why Mujib apprehended conspiracy while the election was taking place nicely which paved the road for him. Thirty-six years later today only a few Bangladeshis possibly understand the loop hole why Mujib was not finally crowned as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Any way Mujib declared next day that all the elected Parliament Members will take oath on January 3, 1971 at the Outer Stadium. What was the purpose of this oath was a mystery.

Meanwhile December 17, 1970 came for the Provincial election. Mujib swept massive victory there except for the coastal 15 seats. On January 17, 1971 election took place in the coastal regions. Mujib secured all the seats for the National Parliament as well as for the Provincial Assembly. Thus, Mujib secured 160 seats which made him the winner of 167 seats that included 7 reserved seats for the females.

On January 3, 1970 Mujib staged a public oath ceremony at the Outer Stadium. He let doves fly in flocks of six and eleven referring to Mujib’s 6-point formula and student’s 11-point formula. On that day Mujib asserted firmly that CONSPIRACY continues for not allowing Mujib to go to the power. Again Mujib did not explain what the conspiracy was about. How the conspiracy came forward in Mujib’s mind remained a mystery.

On January 15, 1971 Yahya came to Dacca to talk to Mujib after setting the National Assembly Meeting date in Dacca on March 3, 1971. Before Meeting Mujib next day, Yahya firmly declared Mujib will be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan. Yahya was vowing to conclude his reign as President as the National Assembly Meeting date was advancing closer. That is why he, possibly, wanted a deal with Mujib as a continued President under the parliamentary system. Some sources indicate that Mujib was adamant not to consider a Military person as the figure head President of Pakistan. Eventually Yahya returned empty hand but arranged Bhutto to meet Mujib in order to advance discussion on framing the constitution. Yahya expressed anxiety as the winning parties were not discussing to frame a constitution for which Yahya expressed agony on many occasions by citing nine years for the first constitution implemented in 1956.

After winning a total of 88 seats from two provinces out of 144 seats Bhutto became very aggressive to grab power. He often cited the requirements of the LFO but got diffused with poor number of seats compared to Mujib’s party as a single hand. However, Bhutto gained momentum with the loop-hole of the LFO that framed by Yahya-Cornelius gang. Often Bhutto uttered very strong words as if he is the sole leader in the Parliament. At the outset of the election result Bhutto declared firmly that under any circumstance he would not consider OPPOSITION LEADERSHIP in the Parliament.

Invariably he felt strongly that he is the qualified Prime Minister of Pakistan per LFO. Bhutto indicated, if necessary, Mujib can become opposition leader in the Parliament. Further. Bhutto uttered under any circumstance he would not compromise any shortfall for the Prime Minister position and shall never share power with Mujib. On the other hand Mujib was adamant for not sharing power and never felt that he is not the majority party leader in the parliament. Again Mujib kept reiterating, after Yahya’s departure on 17 January 1971, that conspiracy is continuing all over Pakistan to oppose his assuming power from Yahya Khan. Meanwhile Yahya shut his mouth about Mujib’s future in the power transfer process as he was frustrated for not getting assurance of his continued pay-check.

Bhutto came to Dacca on January 29, 1971 to meet Mujib with his group of associates. Mujib arranged a great get-together in a rented LAUNCH that took nearly 300 people in SHAT-NOL area not too far from Jagadish Chandra Bose’s house on the morning of January 30, 1971. They landed in the Shat-nol alley (short-cut passage to go to parts of Faridpur from Dacca) where delicious cooking took place using professional cook for making each item. All the persons on board had a nice SOFOR on the land seeing country side and digesting fresh air while cooking continued. Among the items Polau, Kachchi Biriyani, Kofta, Shik-Kabab, Tikia Kabab, Rezala, Borhani, Salad, and many other delicious items were included in the menu. They finished the lunch with marvelous sweets as delicacy of the Bengali heritage style in the early afternoon. The snack contained tea and other soft drinks. Bhutto enjoyed this trip with his associates.

However, there was no discussion concerning as how they could frame the constitution of Pakistan. Two leaders had no hard exchange as they passed time with fun PICNIC or NOU-BIHAR. They reached the starting point Sadarghat terminal in the late afternoon just before the sunset.

On the day of picnic an Indian Airlines was skyjacked by some fellows from Kashmir and brought to Lahore Airport in the mod-morning. Later on the same day afternoon the hijackers blew it. India blamed Pakistan for destroying the aircraft. Further India wanted the hijackers back on the Indian soil. Pakistan denied doing so. As a result by late afternoon India banned flights of the Pakistani aircrafts over Indian Territory. Pakistan accepted that as a reality and resumed flights between the wings roaming nearly double the distance between Dacca and Karachi.

Concerning Pakistani policy against India or vice versa, Mujib was mum. Bhutto gave statements against India. Later Mujib affirmed that the act of hijacking and blowing up the aircraft was incorrect. Next day morning Aakash Bani declared that Mujib is vowing power share with Bhutto in Dacca which Mujib denied. Bhutto did not say anything but returned to Karachi with his team. Upon reaching home Bhutto threatened all the elected Parliament members to break legs if anyone prepares to go to Dacca for the upcoming National Assembly Meeting scheduled on March 3, 1971. Bhutto openly declared his ambition to grab power by hook or by crook. He also said under any circumstance he would not allow Mujib to come closer to the power circle.

Frustrated Mujib continued his agenda with CONSPIRACY theory without making any conclusive remark. It was practically difficult to understand what exactly Mujib was trying to convey in his public meetings as well as declaration to the journalists. One thing was very clear that the utterances of Mujib and Bhutto had no similarity. It was very clear that Bhutto was getting strength from some corner. Actually that corner was nothing but LFO. The same LFO became CONSPIRACY to Mujib which Mujib did not make public.

In the eyes of common people Yahya seemed to begin working with Bhutto so that he gets a steady pay-check. Perhaps Bhutto had consented that way as no evidence suggests this undeclared plan. In the meantime Bhutto informed Yahya in Larkana during the first week of February 1971 that he had no discussion with Mujib during his meeting in Shat-nol concerning framing constitution and the process of power transfer. Yahya began to frustrate over Mujib’s overall conduct. Yahya tried to make clear to Mujib that under any circumstance Mujib had to follow LFO. This became very strong assertion when Yahya did not get assurance after the days of power transfer for himself.

On February 15, 1971 Yahya dissolved his advisory cabinet (Ministerial cabinet like) and vowed to transfer power on March 3, 1971 in Dacca. This was a false indication from Yahya as he already got indication from Bhutto about his continued pay-check. Yahya began to buy time and kept Mujib under observation. On March 1, 1971 Yahya postponed the National Assembly Meeting schedule to be held in Dacca on March 3, 1971. It was announced over Radio Broadcast in the 1:00 p.m. news. The reaction started with fire in the Dacca Stadium where cricket Match was going on with Pakistan and Commonwealth XI. The players were sent to the security in the pavilion and quickly transported to Hotel Intercontinental. In the next flight all of them left for Karachi on the same evening. The rest of the day was chaotic with heavy unrest all over Dacca. The traffic became irregular as a few private cars and public buses were gutted in the Gulistan-Jinnah Avenue areas.

On February 15, 1971 Radio Australia announced that two packed ships were on the way to reach Chittagong port. This piece of news coincided with Yahya’s abandoning advisory council. It is a puzzle as how Radio Australia got this information remained as untold mystery even now. It is a surprise that Mujib’s followers or advisors never kept any information concerning the movement of the Pakistani Army.

Equating all pieces together there is no indication for Mujib-Bhutto discussion toward framing the constitution. Also it may be concluded that no discussion with Bhutto was necessary for Yahya to decide what to do as a next step. Nevertheless, Mujib frustrated on January 16, 1971 Meeting in Dacca when Yahya was turned down for a continued job. Seeing and evaluating all sequential features it appears that Mujib was a blunt and fool to understand the dynamics of politics though he seemed to be a political player for a long time. Knowing personal weakness concerning signing the LFO, and comprehending the loop-hole of the LFO Mujib should have compromised if he truly believed in the integrity of Pakistan. If Mujib did not believe in the integrity of Pakistan then he should have taken realistic plan and subsequent program for timely armed cessation so that his popularity does not reduce on one hand. On another hand, Mujib should have ensured outright recognition from friendly countries, whatever it could be, so that the loss of the lives and property would have been negligible. In general, the leaders of any revolution act in this way without surrendering.

Over Radio the reason cited as more time required to have dialogue between Mujib and Bhutto to come to a unified conclusion about the constitution of Pakistan. This argument was not sold to Mujib at any price as Mujib blamed Bhutto and Yahya for conducting joint conspiracy. This is the beginning of CONSPIRACY issue as a new episode with more explanation from Mujib. Immediately Mujib explained that he knew such incident would happen and reiterated that he always cautioned about the CONSPIRACY from the very beginning of the election results. Thus, Mujib began self-justification to earn more extra credit on his “conspiring theory” for the transfer of power to the elected representatives. Mujib continued blaming Bhutto and Yahya as a gang player. Indeed the common mass of the then East Pakistan viewed the entire sequential incident as the CONSPIRING THEORY of Mujib. With this beginning of the chaos Mujib became successful with his hypothesis.

The chaos shortly turned to the new flag in our planet. Mujib never apprehended this to happen and often expressed unhappiness to the students entering his residence. These students hoisted flag of unborn Bangladesh on March 2, 1971. They asked Mujib to declare independence of Bangladesh. Meanwhile Mujib and his followers used BANGLA, BANGLADESH, and many other conjugations with BENGALI associated words in several public meetings apart from using JOI BANGLA.

Mujib had no obvious plan for declaring independence on March 2, 1971. Rather he chose to become a leader of the Radar-less mass. His followers already changed the radio station to Dacca Betar Kendro (Radio Center). A new dimensional program was installed to the Radio as well as to the TV. The entire Eastern Province of Pakistan began a new phase of life with the taste of semi-independence though enjoyed a sort of independence since 1947. No one was certain exactly what the taste of this independence would be. However, black flag became a co-flag with the new flag of Bangladesh almost every building top in the city of Dacca. The University of Dacca became a center for controlling new directives for the embryo-stage nation.

Mujib’s followers began to issue directives since March 2, 1971 using the pattern of Martial Promulgation Ordinance with sequential numbers. These directives gradually became furious as time went on. Public life became insecure where value of human life and property became vulnerable. Nearly overnight night-watchmen were imported from Mujib’s party in various areas of Dacca city. Loot, arson, rape, killing, etc. became a broad day light feature throughout unborn Bangladesh. On March 2nd, 1971 Mujib set for a public Meeting in Ramna Race Course Maidan on March 7th 1971. Mujib arranged broadcasting his lecture over Radio. But this did not happen as the Pakistani Military authority interfered to stop it. In that meeting Mujib gave four conditions that gave no alternate to the immediate transfer of power to the elected representatives.

The power transfer job was not that easy as Mujib uttered easily after March 1, 1971. The clumsy process of LFO was not easy to square away other than making some hotchpotch cabinet to rule the country. This was unacceptable to both Mujib and Bhutto as Mujib felt he was the sole majority party leader but could not assert on it because of LFO, and as Bhutto felt he was the majority party leader per LFO requirements though does not have the absolute majority in terms of number. The LFO became a true barrier for the transfer of power unless some extraordinary manipulation is done. Because of this potential manipulation which Yahya could handle single-handedly, Yahya approached Mujib for some assurance of continued office work. Poor Mujib did not understand the language and stood by the civilian architecture of his administration.

Refusing to use bullets on the mass of the then East Pakistan Ahsan left his position from the Governor’s house. Quickly the position was given to Tikka Khan and he arrived on March 6, 1971. At the same time, Shahebzada Yakub Khan, another popular General, left the office of the zonal Martial Law office. This position was filled with Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi at a later date. Both Tikka and Niazi came almost at the same time to fill the gaps. Tikka was refused to get sworn in as Governor on March 7th 1971 by Justice B. A. Siddiky and his staff.

After Yahya’s 6th March 1971 Radio Broadcast series of ships began to arrive in Chittagong port filled with Arms and Army Personnel. The arms were cleared with the help of the Bengali speaking employees using them as labors. These ships continued coming at least until March 25, 1971 without interruption. Often exchanges of firing took place due to unhappiness of the common people. Such events continued various parts of unborn Bangladesh.

Meanwhile March 6th 1971 came when Yahya voiced to meet Mujib on 15th March 1971 in Dacca. He assured to meet the National Assembly in Dacca on March 25, 1971. Mujib became very angry with the process that Yahya adopted. He blamed Yahya for not consulting him to make decisions on choosing the dates either for postponing or for rescheduling the National Assembly Meeting. Mujib pretended not to understand that Yahya apparently did not consult anyone to schedule these dates. It was mere presumptions by Mujib.

Finally, Yahya came to Dacca on March 15th 1971 at an unscheduled time in the mid afternoon where Tikka Khan received him at the Dacca Airport. On the next morning Mujib and Yahya met without aide. They discussed various issues for at least two hours. Mujib was let go without lunch for that day. He came out of the President’s House (later Gonovaban) and told present journalists that talks were very fruitful.

The next day, Mujib sat down with five advisors while Yahya was primarily assisted with Peerzada, a diehard discriminator. After a long time Meeting with Yahya, Mujib came out of the room and declared talks are advancing toward power transfer. He also asserted that Yahya was agreeing all issues that Mujib wanted in the constitution. Meanwhile Yahya announced on March 17th 1971 that the National Assembly Meeting scheduled on March 25, 1971 is canceled and will be rescheduled after discussing with Mujib.

It is very irony that Mujib never told truth to the people at all. Each day Mujib met Yahya, and Yahya repeated the content of LFO to Mujib implying MJUIB WAS THE PROVINCIAL MAJORITY LEADER. Therefore, Mujib will have to accept the outcome of the LFO. Morally Mujib agreed each day this warning from Yahya but remained silent tom the public. Yahya never felt any problem with the LFO as it was not his matter at all. Yahya was only a fabricator while Mujib and other political leaders were just law abiding followers of the same document.

Bhutto and a few of his party members came to participate in the discussion with Yahya and Mujib. In fact this should have been done perhaps in early January 1971 instead of at this moment. Bhutto practically remained ineffective as if he knew what the consequence would be very soon.

Mujib continued bluff to the people until the late afternoon of March 25, 1971. It is really a concern that on that day Mujib also told the journalists that Yahya was finalizing transfer of power to the people elected representatives very soon. That time never came but realized with bullets within hours. The people of the soil began to absorb bullets after bullets which came without warning.

In the late afternoon on March 25, 1971 all party leaders headed by Wali Khan with Asghar Khan, Qaiyum Khan, Momtaj Daultana, and other party leaders of the then West Pakistan met Mujib to convince him from his adamant attitude of transferring power to the elected representatives at once. This never came as a fact from the mouth of Mujib but reveled in the utterances of Yahya Khan and then again in the White Paper published in October 1971.

The rest is the history as alive as if floating in the eyes of the people those who experienced the liberation war. Soon a new country emerged as Bangladesh on the global map. In fact, Mujib’s hiding of the LFO signed document from the public has caused harm but eventually people realized to retaliate with arms to liberate the land without knowing about the LFO. The LFO is a mystery even today among the Bangladeshis, older or younger. No one knew about the consequence of LFO although Mujib and his close associate knew about it.

Today Kamal Hossain is alive. He knew about LFO. It was his recommendation to Mujib to sign this document and never talk about it to the public arena. Kamal Hossain possibly advised Mujib to go for voting and assured to make a deal about it at a later date. But Mujib was adamant Mujib about capturing the throne of Pakistan without a degree of compromise. His mind did not thaw from frozen mind-set with the Army Personnel as the “constitutional President of Pakistan” having a civilian Government headed by Mujib. While Yahya was in the steering holding the gear perfectly and Mujib seating in the driver’s seat should have compromised to get the throne which he craved for a long time if truly Mujib wanted integrated Pakistan per requirements of LFO. Yahya’s indication for transfer of power, though seemed very sincere from day one, but became very confusing only after January 16th 1971 Meeting with Mujib in Dacca. All actions after this time seemed very erratic from Yahya’s corner and always gave a flavor that Yahya was engaged in a conspiracy of killing people instead of framing a genuine constitution of Pakistan.

Yahya could sit down with both Mujib and Bhutto together to clear out confusion about the LFO if he was so genuine to his promise. Also Yahya could assert publicly the consequence of LFO as Mujib was not talking about it in public. Yahya knew very well that Mujib was bluffing to the people but remained silent to look ahead with the consequence of bullets. His cruelty was eventually punished by his humiliated departure from the office on December 20, 1971. Personal interest became very prominent and important for Yahya which eventually brought brutal sentiment in Yahya’s mind that prompted him to send Arms and Personnel to Chittagong on February 15, 1971. Had Yahya been a slight intelligent then he could have saved his favorite Pakistan simply by handing over power to Mujib by ignoring Bhutto. Rather he sided with Bhutto and saved him to see him as his successor but never realized humiliation.

Unplanned liberation war was never been successful if Pakistan had been a continuous land. Thus, Mujib should have been little more careful if he had decided for Bangladesh. Mujib could have earned independence on March 1, 1971 with minimal loss of life if he had vision and honesty. His bluffing nature never made him a man of character as well as a statesman. He continued telling lies that his grave was dug next to the cell in Pakistan even after coming back from the Pakistani custody. This blunt lie had no room to accommodate if any one becomes critical reviewer of Mujib’s chronological political career.

Another issue concerning a Meeting with Bhutto before Mujib’s departure from Islamabad Airport for London on January 8, 1972 is a mystery. Many analyzers predict that Mujib assured Bhutto with promises but later became null and void because of Indian influence in his administration. Further, Mujib was believed to have received a copy of the Holy Quo’ran from Bhutto which was never mentioned by Mujib at all.

Whatever Altaf Gauhar has documented about Mujib never coincided with what Mujib uttered about his cell life which was usually an ultra-brief note. Mujib’s screaming in the next cell of Altaf Gauhar contained aspiration of an integrated Pakistan, if released. Mujib used to utter he could make Pakistan united. He wanted to meet Yahya repeatedly. Unfortunately Altaf Gauhar was still in custody though Mujib enjoyed power sitting in the office of anew country. Thus, no one knew what Altaf had to say about Mujib until later date when Mujib was no more.

It is very difficult to extract truth of the liberation war and all the events as why happened. This is because most of them are now dead. There are many fake associates of Mujib who were simply in touch with Mujib but knew nothing about the liberation war. Today Kamal Hossain is the only chap who has all the information. He must be arrested and quizzed to extract correct history of the liberation war of Bangladesh. After Kamal Hossain there would be no one to get truth about the incidents of 1970-1972 politics of our country. Before time runs out it is better to extract information as much as the nation could to erect a sound history and the role of Mujib during the liberation war of Bangladesh. Any sensible nation would do so in the greater interest of the generations to come. How long Kamal Hossain would remain silent? He is not going to be punished for revealing the truth which will aid to form a new dimension of the history of Bangladesh.

Mohammad Abdullah, USA


The Legal Framework Order was issued as President’s Order No. 2 of 1970 by the President
and Chief Martial Administrator, General A. M. Yahya Khan on March 30, 1970 in
Rawalpindi. Although the Order mainly dealt with election procedures, it can still be counted as a constitutional landmark because it was in this order that the principle of adult franchise was reintroduced to promote direct election of legislature and executive.

Also, the Order provided some basic principles for the future constitution of the country. WHEREAS in his first address to the nation on the 26th March, 1969, the President and Chief Martial Law Administrator pledged himself to strive to restore democratic institutions in the country;AND WHEREAS in his address to the nation on the 28th November, 1969, he reaffirmed that pledge and announced that polling for a general election to a National Assembly of Pakistan will commence on the 5th October, 1970;
AND WHEREAS he has since decided that polling for elections to the Provincial Assemblies
shall commence not later than the 22nd October, 1970; AND WHEREAS provision has already been made by the Electoral Rolls Order, 1969, for the preparation of electoral rolls for the purpose of election of representatives of the people on the basis of adult franchise
AND WHEREAS it is necessary to provide for the constitution of a National Assembly of
Pakistan for the purpose of making provision as to the Constitution of Pakistan in accordance with this Order and a Provincial Assembly for each Province; NOW, THEREFORE, in pursuance of the Proclamation of the 25th day of March, 1969, and in exercise of all powers enabling him in that behalf, the President and Chief Martial Law Administrator is pleased to make the following order:

Short Title
Article 1

(1) This Order may be called the Legal Framework Order, 1970.
(2) It shall come into force on such date as the President may, by notification in the officialGazette, appoint in this behalf.

To override other laws

Article 2
This order shall have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the
Provisional Constitution Order, the Constitution of 1962 of the Islamic Republic of Pakistanor any other law for the time being in force.


Article 3
(1) In this order unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context.
(i) “Assembly” means the National Assembly of Pakistan or a Provincial Assembly for a
Province provided for in this Order;
(ii) “Commission” means the Election Commission constituted under Article;
(lit) “Commissioner” means the Chief Election Commissioner appointed or deemed to be
appointed under the Electoral Rolls Older, 1969 (P. 0. No. 6 of 1969);
(iv) “electoral roll” means the electoral roll prepared under the Electoral Rolls Order, 1969,(P.O. No. 6 of 1969);

(v) “member” means member of an Assembly.
(vi) “Speaker” means the Speaker of the National Assembly; and
(vii) “Centrally Administered Tribal Areas” has the same meaning as in the Province of WestPakistan (Dissolution) Order, 1970.

(2) In relation to the territories included at the commencement of this Order in the Province of West Pakistan, references to a Province and a Provincial Assembly shall be construed as references respectively to a new Province provided for in the Province of West Pakistan (Dissolution) Order, 1970, and the Provincial Assembly for such Province.
Composition of National AssemblyArticle 4
(1) There shall be a National Assembly of Pakistan consisting of three hundred and thirteen members of -whom three hundred shall be elected to fill general seats and thirteen to fill seats reserved for women.

(2) In conformity with the population figures appearing in the Census of 1961, the number of seats in National Assembly shall be distributed amongst the Provinces and the Centrally Administered Tribal Areas, as set out in Schedule I.

(3) Clause (1) shall not be construed as preventing a woman from being elected to a general seat.

Provincial Assemblies
Article 5

(1) There shall be a Provincial Assembly for each Province consisting of the number of
members elected to fill general seats and to fill seats reserved for women, as set out in
Schedule II in relation to such Province.

(2) Clause (1) shall not be construed as preventing a woman from being elected to a general seat.

Principle of election
Article 6

(1) Except as provided in clause (2), the members shall be elected to the general seats from territorial constituencies by direct election on the basis of adult franchise in accordance with law.

(2) The President may, by regulation, make separate provision for election of members from the Centrally Administered Tribal Areas.

(3) As soon as practicable after the general election of members of the National Assembly, the members from a Province for the seats reserved for women in that Assembly shall be elected by persons elected to the general seats from that Province in accordance with law.
(4) The members for scats reserved for women in a Provincial Assembly shall be elected by
persons elected to the general seats in that Assembly in accordance with law.
Casual vacancy Article 7

Where a seat in the National Assembly has become vacant, an election to fill the vacancy
shall be held within three weeks from the occurrence of the vacancy.
Election Commission

Article 8
For the purposes of election of the members of an Assembly and matters connected
therewith, the President shall constitute an Election Commission consisting of the following members namely:(a) the Commissioner, who shall be the Chairman of the Commission;and (b) two other members, each being a person who is a permanent Judge of a High Court.

Qualifications and disqualifications.

Article 9
(1) A person shall, subject to the provisions of Clause (2), be qualified to be elected as, and to be, a member if-

(a) he is citizen of Pakistan;
(b) he has attained the age of twenty-five years;and
© his name appears on the electoral roll for any constituency in the Province or Centrally

Administered Tribal Areas from which he seeks election.
(2) A person shall be disqualified from beings-elected as, and from being, a member if-
(a) he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court;or
(b) he is an undischarged insolvent unless a period of ten years has elapsed since his being

adjudged as insolvent;or

© he has been, on conviction for any offence, sentenced to transportation for any term or to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years, or such less period as the President may allow in any particular case, has elapsed since his release;or (d) he has been a member of the President’s Council of Ministers at any time following the 1st August, 1969 unless a period of two years or such less period as the President may allow in any particular case, has elapsed since he ceased to be a Minister;or (e) he holds office in the service of Pakistan other than an office which if not a wholetime office remunerated either by salary or by fee;or

(f) he has been dismissed for misconduct from the service of Pakistan, unless a period of five years, or such less period as the President may allow in any particular case, has elapsed sincehis dismissal;or
(g) such person is the spouse of a person in the service of Pakistan;or
(h) he, whether by himself or by any person or body of persons in trust for him or for his benefit or on his account or as a member of a Hindu undivided family, has any share or interest in a contract not being a contract between a co-operative society and Government, for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any contract or the performance of any services undertaken by Government:

Provided that the disqualification under sub-clause, (h) shall not apply to a person –
(i) where the share or interest in the contract devolves on him by inheritance or succession oras a legatee, executor or administrator, until the expiration of six months after it has so devolved on him or such longer period as the President may, in any particular case, allow; or (ii) where the contract has been entered into by or ‘ on behalf of a public company as defined in the Companies Act, 1913 (VII of 1913), of which he is a share-holder but is neither a director holding an office of profit under the company nor a managing agent;or (iii) where he is a member of a Hindu undivided family and the contract has been entered into by any other member of that family in the course of carrying on a separate business in which he has no share or interest.

(3) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that a Judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court, the Comptroller and Auditor General of Pakistan, the Attorney General of
Pakistan and an Advocate General of a Province are persons holding offices in the service of Pakistan.

(4) If any question arises whether a member has after his election, become subject to any
disqualification the Commissioner shall place the question before the Election Commission
and, if the opinion of the Commission be that the member has become so subject, his seat
shall become vacant.

Bar against candidature
Article 10
(1) No person shall at the same time be a member of more than one Assembly or a member of
the same Assembly for more than one constituency.

(2) Nothing in clause (1) shall prevent a person from being at the same time a candidate for election from | two or more constituencies, but if a person has been elected as a member for two or more constituencies and does not within fifteen days of the notification of his election by the constituency by which he has been elected last, make a declaration in writing under his hand addressed to the Commissioner specifying the constituency which he wishes to represent, all his seats shall become vacant, but so long as he is a member for two or more constituencies he shall not sit or vote in an Assembly.

Article 11
(1) A member may resign his seat by notice in writing under his hand addressed to the

(2) If a member is absent from the Assembly without leave of the Speaker for fifteen
consecutive sitting days, his seat shall become vacant.

(3) If a member fails to take and subscribe an oath in accordance with Article 12 within a
period of seven days from the date of the first meeting of the Assembly after | his election, his

seat shall become vacant :
Provided that the Speaker or, if the Speaker has not been elected, the Commissioner, may,
before the expiration of the said period, for good cause shown, extend the period.

Article 12

A person elected as a member of an Assembly shall, before entering upon the office, take and subscribe, before a person presiding at a meeting of the Assembly, an oath or affirmation in the following form, namely :-

“I… do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and that I will discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter honestly, to the best of my ability, faithfully in accordance with the provisions of the Legal Framework Order, 1970, the law and rules of the Assembly set out in that Order, and always in the interest of the solidarity, integrity, well-being and prosperity of Pakistan.”

Date of polling

Article 13
Polling for election to the National Assembly shall commence on the 5th October, 1970 and
polling for election to the Provincial Assemblies shall commence on a date not later than the 22nd October, 1970.

Summoning of Assembly

Article 14
(i) After the close of the general election of members of the National Assembly, the President shall, for the purpose of framing a Constitution for Pakistan, summon the National Assembly to meet on such day and at such time and place as he may think fit;and the National

Assembly so summoned shall stand constituted on the day of its first meeting:
Provided that nothing in this clause shall be construed as preventing the President from
summoning the National Assembly on the ground that all the seats of the members have not
been filled.

(2) After meeting as convened under clause (1), the National Assembly shall meet at such
times and places as the Speaker may decide.

(3) The National Assembly shall, subject to reasonable adjournments, meet from day to day
to transact its business.

Article 15

The President may address the National Assembly and send a message or messages to the


Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Article 16
(1) The National Assembly shall, as soon as may be, elect two of its members to be
respectively the Speaker and Deputy Speaker thereof and shall, so often as the office of
Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, elect another member to be the Speaker, or, as
the case may be. Deputy Speaker.

(2) Until the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected, the Commissioner shall preside at the
meetings of the National Assembly and perform the functions of Speaker.
(3) Where the office of the Speaker is vacant, the Deputy Speaker, or, if the office of the

Deputy Speaker is also vacant, the Commissioner, shall perform the functions of Speaker.

(4) During the absence of the Speaker from any meeting of the National Assembly, the
Deputy Speaker or if the Deputy Speaker is also absent, such member, as may be determined
by the rules of procedure of the Assembly, shall perform the functions of Speaker.

(5) A member holding office as Speaker or Deputy Speaker shall cease to hold that office-
(a) if he ceases to be a member of the National Assembly;

(b) if he resigns his office by writing under his hand addressed to the President;or
© if a resolution expressing want of confidence in him is moved in the Assembly after notless than fourteen days’ notice of the intention to move it and passed by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the total number of members of the National Assembly.
Quorum and Rules of Procedure

Article 17

(1) If, at any time during a meeting of the National Assembly, the attention of the personpresiding at the meeting is drawn to the fact that the number of persons present is less thanone hundred, the person presiding shall either suspend the meeting until the number of members present is not less than one hundred or adjourn the meeting.

(2) The procedure of the National Assembly shall be regulated by the rules of procedure set out in Schedule III; in particular the National Assembly shall decide how a decision relating to the Constitution Bill is to be taken.

(3) The National Assembly may act notwithstanding any vacancy in the seat of a member and
no proceedings in the Assembly shall be invalid by reason that some members whose election is subsequently held to have been void or who, after election had incurred a disqualification for membership voted or otherwise took part in the proceedings.

Privileges, etc
Article 18

(1) The validity of any proceeding? in the National Assembly shall not be called in question
in any court.

(2) A member or a person entitled to speak in the National Assembly shall not be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in the Assembly or in any committee thereof.

(3) The exercise by an officer of the National Assembly of the powers vested in him for the regulation of procedure, the conduct of business or the maintenance of order, in or in relation to any proceeding in the Assembly shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of any court.

(4) A person shall not be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of the publication by, or under the authority of the National Assembly of any report, paper, vote or proceedings.

(5) No process issued by a court or other authority shall, except with the leave of the Speaker,be served or executed within the precincts of the place where a meeting of the National Assembly or of any Committee thereof is being held.

Allowances of members

Article 19
The Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the other members shall be entitled to such allowances and privileges as the President may, by order, prescribe.

Fundamental Principles of the Constitution
Article 20
The Constitution shall be so framed as to embody the following fundamental principles:-
(1) Pakistan shall be a federal republic to be known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in which the provinces and other territories which are now and may hereinafter be included in Pakistan shall be so united in a federation that the independence, the territorial integrity and the national solidarity of Pakistan are ensured and that the unity of the federation in not in any manner impaired.

(2) (a) Islamic ideology which is the basis for the creation of Pakistan shall be preserved;and (b) the Head of the State shall be a Muslim.

(3) (a) Adherence to fundamental principles of democracy shall be ensured by providing-
direct and free periodical elections to the federal and the provincial legislatures on the basis of population and adult franchise;(b) the Fundamental Rights of the citizens shall be laid down and guaranteed;© the independence of the judiciary in the matter of dispensation of justice and enforcement of the fundamental rights shall be secured.

(4) All powers including legislative, administrative and financial, shall be so distributed between the Federal Government and the Provinces that the Provinces shall have maximum autonomy, that is to say maximum legislative, administrative and financial powers but the Federal Government shall also have adequate powers including legislative, administrative and financial powers, to discharge its responsibilities in relation to external and internal affairs and to preserve the independence and territorial integrity of the country.

(5) It shall be ensured that-
(a) the people of all areas in Pakistan shall be enabled to participate fully in all forms of
national activities;and
(b) within a specified period, economic and all other disparities between the Provinces and between different areas in a Province are removed by the adoption of statutory and other measures.

Preamble of the Constitution
Article 21
The Constitution shall contain, in its preamble, an affirmation that-
(1) the Muslims of Pakistan shall be enabled, individually and collectively, to order their lives in accordance with the teachings of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah; and (2) the minorities shall be enabled to profess and practise their religions freely and to enjoy all rights, privileges and protection due to them as citizens of Pakistan.

Directive Principles
Article 22
The Constitution shall set out directive principles of State Policy by which the State shall beguided in the matter of-

(1) promoting Islamic way of life;

(2) observance of Islamic moral standards;

(3) providing facilities for the teaching of Holy Quran and Islamiat to the Muslims of

(4) enjoining that no law repugnant to the teachings and requirements of Islam, as set out inthe Holy Quran and Sunnah, is made.

Assemblies to be first legislatures
Article 23
The Constitution shall provide that-
(1) the National Assembly, constituted under this Order, shall-
(a) be the first legislature of the Federation for the full term if the legislature of the Federation consists of one House, and (b) be the first Lower House of the legislature of the Federation for the full term if thelegislature of the Federation consists of two Houses.

(2) The Provincial Assemblies elected in accordance with this Order shall be the first
legislatures of the respective Provinces for the full term.Time for framing Constitution

Article 24
The National Assembly shall frame the Constitution in the form of a Bill to be called the
Constitution Bill within a period of one hundred and twenty days from the date of its firstmeeting and on its failure to do so shall stand dissolved.


Article 25
The Constitution Bill, as passed by the National Assembly, shall be presented to the President
for authentication. The National Assembly shall stand dissolved in the event that
authentication is refused.9

Article 26
(1) Save as provided in this Order for the purpose of framing a constitution for Pakistan, the National Assembly shall not meet in that capacity, until the Constitution Bill passed by thatAssembly and authenticated by the President, has come into force.
(2) A Provincial Assembly shall not be summoned to meet until after the Constitution Bill
passed by the National Assembly has been authenticated by the President, and has come intoforce.

Interpretation of Order etc

Article 27
(1) Any question or doubt as to the interpretation of any provision of this Order shall be resolved by a decision of the President, and such decision shall be final and not liable to be questioned in any Court.(2) The President and not the National Assembly shall have the power to make any
amendment in this Order.

Reaction to LFO

In the then East Pakistan the LFO received a mixed response. While the parties with mass
following such as Awami League, and both factions of National Awami Party led Abdul
Hamid Khan Bhashani and Muzaffar Ahmed. Given that Awami League had the biggest mass
following Sheikh Mujib wanted to play his cards as sated by Siddiq Salik:
It was the first anniversary of the second martial law in Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman was on his way to a rural town in East Pakistan to address an election rally.

On the back seat of his rattling car sat with him a non-Bengali journalist who covered
his election tours. He provoked Mujib on some current topic and quietly switched on his
cassette tape recorder. Later he entertained his friends with his exclusive possession.

He also played it to me. Mujib’s rhetorical voice was clearly intelligible. He was saying:‘Somehow, Ayub Khan has pitched me to a height of popularity where nobody can so
“no” to what I want. Even Yahya Khan cannot refuse my demands’.

What were his demands? A clue was provided another tape prepared by Yahya Khan’s
intelligence agencies.

The subject was the Legal Framework Order (LFO) issued by the Government on 30 March 1970. Practically it was an outline of constitution which denied a free hand to Mujib to implement his famous Six Points. He confined his views on LFO to his senior colleagues without realizing that these words are being taped for Yahya’s consumption. On the recording, Mujib said: ‘My aim is to establish Bangla Desh. I shall LFO into pieces as soon as the elections are over.

Who could challenge me once the elections are over?’ When it was played to Yahya Khan, he said, ‘I will fix him if he betrays me’. (Siddiq Salik, Witness to Surrender, Dhaka: University Press Limited, 1997, p.1 and G.W. Chowdhury , Last Days of United Pakistan, London: C. Hurst & Co., 1974, p.98).

Fwd By Dr Mohammad Alauddin
Senior Lecturer in Economics
School of Economics
The University of Queensland

Credit: AK Zaman