Pakistan 1947 to 1971                                                                                           

Events leading to 1971 war of Independence

The very concept of Pakistan was an impractical proposition as 1000 miles of India territory separated its two wings. There were serious ethnic, cultural, linguistic and socio – economic differences between the provinces. Its inherent weaknesses grew when the ruling class continued to maintain their strangle hold over power through various devious ploys. They tried to impose their culture and language on the others and went ahead with their avowed policy of political subjugation and economic exploration.

The trouble started in the very second year of the existence of Pakistan when Jinnah, the Governor General of Pakistan declared at a public meeting in Dhaka in 1948 that only Urdu shall be the state language of Pakistan. Immediate protests followed and the ball was set in motion for the resurgence of Bengalee Nationalism. Then came the language movement of 1952 through which Bengalis shed blood to preserve the honor and dignity of their mother language. The Pakistani rulers were subsequently forced to recognize Bangla as one of the state language. In 1954 the united front representing the Bengalee nationalists emerged victorious in East Pakistan provincial elections. But the Pakistani ruling coterie were determined to keep the Bengalis out of power. Consequently, all kinds of trickery were employed, one government after another were made to tumble and ultimately Martial Law was proclaimed in October, 1958 by General Ayub Khan.

The decade of 1960’s saw the Bengalis becoming more and more convinced that there was no alternative for them other than to seek full autonomy . The Bengalis were facing all kinds of discriminations and the economy of East Pakistan was being ruthlessly exploited by the West Pakistani elite class, There were massive student’s protest in East Pakistan during 1961-62 against the Hamidur Rahman’s education commission report and government’s discriminatory education policy.

In 1966 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman rekindled the Bengali quest for autonomy and justice by announcing 6 points program. It was a charter of demands for complete autonomy of East Pakistan within the frame work of federal Pakistan. Sensing danger, the Pakistani authorities put Sheikh Mujib behind bars by framing Agartala Conspiracy Case.

But the Lion of Bengal Mulana Bhasani organized a mass upsurge and forced the Ayub regime to release Shekh Mujib in Feb,1969. The Anti Ayub movement intensified in both the wings forcing the Ayub to quite power in march 1969, and in his place General Yahya Khan was installed as the Chief Martial Law Administrator.

The Military regime of Yahya Khan held elections to the national and provincial assemblies of Pakistan in December 1970. The Awami League swept the polls and secured absolute majority in both the national and provincial assemblies. But the military junta assisted by the wily west Pakistani leader Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto employed a dilly dally tactic in order to avoid handing over power to the Awami League. To counter this, a non cooperation movement was launched throughout East Pakistan from 3rd march 1971. On 2nd march Mr. A.S.M. Rab hoisted the flag of independent Bangladesh for the first time at the Battala of Dhaka University on behalf of the Students and the Youths. Shekh Mujib rebuked the student leader for that act. Many eyewitnesses are still alive to testify that fact. On 3rd march in the meeting of the Chattra League at Paltan Maidan the General Secretary Mr. Shajahan Shiraj read out the "Declaration of Independence." Sudden declaration of independence annoyed Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and he refused to lead the possession as it was announced earlier. On 7th march Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave his much-trumpeted speech in a mammoth public meeting at Race Course. In his speech inter-alia he said, " This struggle of ours is the struggle for the emancipation. This struggle is the struggle for our Independence." But at the end of the speech he himself raised the slogan, "Joy Bangla , Joy Punjab, Joy Sind, Joy Balochistan, Joy Fronteir and Joy Pakistan." This was published in all the daily newspapers following day.

Finally, when talks on a power transfer deal with the Pakistani rulers broke down the Military Junta sought for and armed solutions to the political impasse. They launched the genocidal attack against un armed Bengalis at mid night of March 25-26th 1971.