FANDOM


اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکستان
Islāmī Jumhūrī-ye Pākistān

Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Flag of Pakistan 1956–1971 Flag of Pakistan
Flag of Bangladesh
Flag of Pakistan Coat of Arms of Pakistan
Motto
Ittehad, Tanzeem, Yaqeen-e-Muhkam
اتحاد، تنظيم، يقين مُحکم
Unity, Discipline, Faith
Anthem
Qaumī Tarāna
Map of the Dominion of Pakistan
East Pakistan (1971) Flag of the Provisional Government of Bangladesh
CapitalIslamabad
Government Republic
President
- 1956-1958Iskander Mirza
- 1958-1969Muhammad Ayub Khan
- 1969-1971Yahya Khan
Prime Minister
- 1956Chaudhry Muhammad Ali
- 1956-1957Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy
- 1957Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar
- 1957-1958Sir Feroz Khan Noon
Legislature Majlis-e-Shoora
- Upper houseSenate
- Lower houseNational Assembly
History
August 14, 1947 Indian Independence Act
March 23, 1956Constitution of Pakistan
December 16, 1971East Bengal secedes
Commonwealth accessionyes
CurrencyPakistani rupee
Flag of Pakistan Pakistan Pakistan Flag of Pakistan
Bangladesh Flag of Bangladesh
v

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (1956-1971) was a period when Pakistan also included the province of East Bengal, the future independent nation of Bangladesh. By the Constitution of Pakistan in 1956 the country abolished the monarchy and became an islamic republic. It also divided the country into two separate provinces. West Pakistan became a single province lead by a governor, and East Bengal (|) which already was a province was renamed to East Pakistan. In 1971 East Pakistan declared its independence and with the support of the Indian army it seceded from Pakistan.

Background Edit

In January 1951, Ayub Khan succeeded General Sir Douglas Gracey as commander in chief of the Pakistan Army, becoming the first Pakistani in that position. Although Ayub Khan's military career was not particularly brilliant and although he had not previously held a combat command, he was promoted over several senior officers with distinguished careers. Ayub Khan probably was selected because of his reputation as an able administrator, his presumed lack of political ambition, and his lack of powerful group backing. Coming from a humble family of an obscure Pakhtun tribe, Ayub Khan also lacked affiliation with major internal power blocks and was, therefore, acceptable to all elements.

Within a short time of his promotion, however, Ayub Khan had become a powerful political figure. Perhaps more than any other Pakistani, Ayub Khan was responsible for seeking and securing military and economic assistance from the United States and for aligning Pakistan with it in international affairs. As army commander in chief and for a time as minister of defense in 1954, Ayub Khan was empowered to veto virtually any government policy that he felt was inimical to the interests of the armed forces.

By 1958 Ayub Khan and his fellow officers decided to turn out the "inefficient and rascally" politicians--a task easily accomplished without bloodshed. Ayub Khan's philosophy was indebted to the Mughal and viceregal traditions; his rule was similarly highly personalized. Ayub Khan justified his assumption of power by citing the nation's need for stability and the necessity for the army to play a central role. When internal stability broke down in the 1960s, he remained contemptuous of lawyer-politicians and handed over power to his fellow army officers.

Ayub Khan used two main approaches to governing in his first few years. He concentrated on consolidating power and intimidating the opposition. He also aimed to establish the groundwork for future stability through altering the economic, legal, and constitutional institutions.

The imposition of martial law in 1958 targeted "antisocial" practices such as abducting women and children, black marketeering, smuggling, and hoarding. Many in the Civil Service of Pakistan and Police Service of Pakistan were investigated and punished for corruption, misconduct, inefficiency, or subversive activities. Ayub Khan's message was clear: he, not the civil servants, was in control.

Sterner measures were used against the politicians. The PRODA prescribed fifteen years' exclusion from public office for those found guilty of corruption. The Elective Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) authorized special tribunals to try former politicians for "misconduct," an infraction not clearly defined. Prosecution could be avoided if the accused agreed not to be a candidate for any elective body for a period of seven years. About 7,000 individuals were "EBDOed." Some people, including Suhrawardy, who was arrested, fought prosecution.

The Press and Publications Ordinance was amended in 1960 to specify broad conditions under which newspapers and other publications could be commandeered or closed down. Trade organizations, unions, and student groups were closely monitored and cautioned to avoid political activity, and imams (see Glossary) at mosques were warned against including political matters in sermons.

On the whole, however, the martial law years were not severe. The army maintained low visibility and was content to uphold the traditional social order. By early 1959, most army units had resumed their regular duties. Ayub Khan generally left administration in the hands of the civil bureaucracy, with some exceptions.

Efforts were made to popularize the regime while the opposition was muzzled. Ayub Khan maintained a high public profile, often taking trips expressly to "meet the people." He was also aware of the need to address some of the acute grievances of East Pakistan. To the extent possible, only Bengali members of the civil service were posted in the East Wing; previously, many of the officers had been from the West Wing and knew neither the region nor the language. Dhaka was designated the legislative capital of Pakistan, while the newly created Islamabad became the administrative capital. Central government bodies, such as the Planning Commission, were now instructed to hold regular sessions in Dhaka. Public investment in East Pakistan increased, although private investment remained heavily skewed in favor of West Pakistan. The Ayub Khan regime was so highly centralized, however, that, in the absence of democratic institutions, densely populated and politicized Bengal continued to feel it was being slighted.

Between 1958 and 1962, Ayub Khan used martial law to initiate a number of reforms that reduced the power of groups opposing him. One such group was the landed aristocracy. The Land Reform Commission was set up in 1958, and in 1959 the government imposed a ceiling of 200 hectares of irrigated land and 400 hectares of unirrigated land in the West Wing for a single holding. In the East Wing, the landholding ceiling was raised from thirty-three hectares to forty-eight hectares. Landholders retained their dominant positions in the social hierarchy and their political influence but heeded Ayub Khan's warnings against political assertiveness. Moreover, some 4 million hectares of land in West Pakistan, much of it in Sindh, was released for public acquisition between 1959 and 1969 and sold mainly to civil and military officers, thus creating a new class of farmers having medium-sized holdings. These farms became immensely important for future agricultural development, but the peasants benefited scarcely at all.

In 1955 a legal commission was set up to suggest reforms of the family and marriage laws. Ayub Khan examined its report and in 1961 issued the Family Laws Ordinance. Among other things, it restricted polygyny and "regulated" marriage and divorce, giving women more equal treatment under the law than they had had before. It was a humane measure supported by women's organizations in Pakistan, but the ordinance could not have been promulgated if the vehement opposition to it from the ulama and the fundamentalist Muslim groups had been allowed free expression. However, this law which was similar to the one passed on family planning, was relatively mild and did not seriously transform the patriarchal pattern of society.

Ayub Khan adopted an energetic approach toward economic development that soon bore fruit in a rising rate of economic growth. Land reform, consolidation of holdings, and stern measures against hoarding were combined with rural credit programs and work programs, higher procurement prices, augmented allocations for agriculture, and, especially, improved seeds to put the country on the road to self-sufficiency in food grains in the process described as the Green Revolution.

The Export Bonus Vouchers Scheme (1959) and tax incentives stimulated new industrial entrepreneurs and exporters. Bonus vouchers facilitated access to foreign exchange for imports of industrial machinery and raw materials. Tax concessions were offered for investment in less-developed areas. These measures had important consequences in bringing industry to Punjab and gave rise to a new class of small industrialists.[1]

Collapse of the Parliamentary System Edit

The parliamentary system outlined in the 1956 constitution required disciplined political parties, which did not exist. The Muslim League--the one political party that had appeared capable of developing into a national democratic party--continued to decline in prestige. In West Pakistan, Sindh and the North-West Frontier Province resented the political and economic dominance accorded Punjab and were hostile to the "One Unit Plan" introduced by the Constituent Assembly the year before. The One Unit Plan merged the western provinces of Balochistan, the NorthWest Frontier Province, Punjab, and Sindh into a single administrative unit named West Pakistan, which in the new Legislative Assembly was to have parity with the more populous province of East Pakistan.

In 1956 Suhrawardy formed a coalition cabinet at the center that included the Awami League and the newly formed Republican Party of the West Wing, which had broken off from the Muslim League. Suhrawardy was highly respected in East Pakistan, but he had no measurable political strength in West Pakistan. By taking a strong position in favor of the One Unit Plan, he lost support in Sindh, the North-West Frontier Province, and Balochistan.

Societal violence and ethnic unrest further complicated the growth and functioning of parliamentary government. In West Pakistan, chief minister Khan Sahib was assassinated. In the North-West Frontier Province, Khan Sahib's brother, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, of the National Awami Party, turned his back on national politics and said he would work for the attainment of a separate homeland for the Pakhtuns. And in Balochistan, the khan of Kalat again declared his independence, but the Pakistan Army restored Pakistani control.

On October 7, 1958, President Mirza, with the support of the army, suspended the 1956 constitution, imposed martial law, and canceled the elections scheduled for January 1959. Mirza was also supported by the civil service bureaucracy, which harbored deep suspicions of politicians. Nonetheless, on October 27 Mirza was ousted and sent into lifetime exile in London. General Ayub Khan, the army commander in chief, assumed control of a military government.[2]

Martial Law Edit

Ayub Khan's martial law regime, critics observed, was a form of "representational dictatorship," but the new political system, introduced in 1959 as "Basic Democracy," was an apt expression of what Ayub Khan called the particular "genius" of Pakistan. In 1962 a new constitution was promulgated as a product of that indirect elective system. Ayub Khan did not believe that a sophisticated parliamentary democracy was suitable for Pakistan. Instead, the Basic Democracies, as the individual administrative units were called, were intended to initiate and educate a largely illiterate population in the working of government by giving them limited representation and associating them with decision making at a "level commensurate with their ability." Basic Democracies were concerned with no more than local government and rural development. They were meant to provide a two-way channel of communication between the Ayub Khan regime and the common people and allow social change to move slowly.

The Basic Democracies system set up five tiers of institutions. The lowest but most important tier was composed of union councils, one each for groups of villages having an approximate total population of 10,000. Each union council comprised ten directly elected members and five appointed members, all called Basic Democrats. Union councils were responsible for local agricultural and community development and for rural law and order maintenance; they were empowered to impose local taxes for local projects. These powers, however, were more than balanced at the local level by the fact that the controlling authority for the union councils was the deputy commissioner, whose high status and traditionally paternalistic attitudes often elicited obedient cooperation rather than demands.

The next tier consisted of the tehsil (subdistrict) councils, which performed coordination functions. Above them, the district (zilla) councils, chaired by the deputy commissioners, were composed of nominated official and nonofficial members, including the chairmen of union councils. The district councils were assigned both compulsory and optional functions pertaining to education, sanitation, local culture, and social welfare. Above them, the divisional advisory councils coordinated the activities with representatives of government departments. The highest tier consisted of one development advisory council for each province, chaired by the governor and appointed by the president. The urban areas had a similar arrangement, under which the smaller union councils were grouped together into municipal committees to perform similar duties. In 1960 the elected members of the union councils voted to confirm Ayub Khan's presidency, and under the 1962 constitution they formed an electoral college to elect the president, the National Assembly, and the provincial assemblies.

The system of Basic Democracies did not have time to take root or to fulfill Ayub Khan's intentions before he and the system fell in 1969. Whether or not a new class of political leaders equipped with some administrative experience could have emerged to replace those trained in British constitutional law was never discovered. And the system did not provide for the mobilization of the rural population around institutions of national integration. Its emphasis was on economic development and social welfare alone. The authority of the civil service was augmented in the Basic Democracies, and the power of the landlords and the big industrialists in the West Wing went unchallenged.[3]

The 1962 Constitution Edit

In 1958 Ayub Khan had promised a speedy return to constitutional government. In February 1960, an eleven-member constitutional commission was established. The commission's recommendations for direct elections, strong legislative and judicial organs, free political parties, and defined limitations on presidential authority went against Ayub Khan's philosophy of government, so he ordered other committees to make revisions.

The 1962 constitution retained some aspects of the Islamic nature of the republic but omitted the word Islamic in its original version; amid protests, Ayub Khan added that word later. The president would be a Muslim, and the Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology and the Islamic Research Institute were established to assist the government in reconciling all legislation with the tenets of the Quran and the sunna. Their functions were advisory and their members appointed by the president, so the ulama had no real power base.

Ayub Khan sought to retain certain aspects of his dominant authority in the 1962 constitution, which ended the period of martial law. The document created a presidential system in which the traditional powers of the chief executive were augmented by control of the legislature, the power to issue ordinances, the right of appeal to referendum, protection from impeachment, control over the budget, and special emergency powers, which included the power to suspend civil rights. As the 1965 elections showed, the presidential system of government was opposed by those who equated constitutional government with parliamentary democracy. The 1962 constitution relaxed martial law limitations on personal freedom and made fundamental rights justiciable. The courts continued their traditional function of protecting the rights of individual citizens against encroachment by the government, but the government made it clear that the exercise of claims based on fundamental rights would not be permitted to nullify its previous progressive legislation on land reforms and family laws.

The National Assembly, consisting of 156 members (including six women) and elected by an electoral college of 80,000 Basic Democrats, was established as the federal legislature. Legislative powers were divided between the National Assembly and provincial legislative assemblies. The National Assembly was to hold sessions alternatively in Islamabad and Dhaka; the Supreme Court would also hold sessions in Dhaka. The ban on political parties was operational at the time of the first elections to the National Assembly and provincial legislative assemblies in January 1960, as was the prohibition on "EBDOed" politicians. Many of those elected were new and merged into factions formed on the basis of personal or provincial loyalties. Despite the ban, political parties functioned outside the legislative bodies as vehicles of criticism and formers of opinion. In late 1962, political parties were again legalized and factions crystallized into government and opposition groups. Ayub Khan combined fragments of the old Muslim League and created the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) as the official government party.

The presidential election of January 1965 resulted in a victory for Ayub Khan but also demonstrated the appeal of the opposition. Four political parties joined to form the Combined Opposition Parties (COP). These parties were the Council Muslim League, strongest in Punjab and Karachi; the Awami League, strongest in East Pakistan; the National Awami Party, strongest in the North-West Frontier Province, where it stood for dissolving the One Unit Plan; and the Jamaat-i-Islami, surprisingly supporting the candidacy of a woman. The COP nominated Fatima Jinnah (sister of the Quaid-i-Azam and known as Madar-i-Millet, the Mother of the Nation) their presidential candidate. The nine-point program put forward by the COP emphasized the restoration of parliamentary democracy. Ayub Khan won 63.3 percent of the electoral college vote. His majority was larger in West Pakistan (73.6 percent) than in East Pakistan (53.1 percent).[4]

War with India Edit

Ayub Khan articulated his foreign policy on several occasions, particularly in his autobiography, Friends not Masters. His objectives were the security and development of Pakistan and the preservation of its ideology as he saw it. Toward these ends, he sought to improve, or normalize, relations with Pakistan's immediate and looming neighbors--India, China, and the Soviet Union. While retaining and renewing the alliance with the United States, Ayub Khan emphasized his preference for friendship, not subordination, and bargained hard for higher returns to Pakistan.

Other than ideology and Kashmir, the main source of friction between Pakistan and India was the distribution of the waters of the Indus River system. As the upper riparian power, India controlled the headworks of the prepartition irrigation canals. After independence India had, in addition, constructed several multipurpose projects on the eastern tributaries of the Indus. Pakistan feared that India might repeat a 1948 incident that curtailed the water supply as a means of coercion. A compromise that appeared to meet the needs of both countries was reached during the 1950s; it was not until 1960 that a solution finally found favor with Ayub Khan and Jawaharlal Nehru.

The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 was backed by the World Bank and the United States. Broadly speaking, the agreement allocated use of the three western Indus rivers (the Indus itself and its tributaries, the Jhelum and the Chenab) to Pakistan, and the three eastern Indus tributaries (the Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej) to India. The basis of the plan was that irrigation canals in Pakistan that had been supplied by the eastern rivers would begin to draw water from the western Indus rivers through a system of barrages and link canals. The agreement also detailed transitional arrangements, new irrigation and hydroelectric power works, and the waterlogging and salinity problems in Pakistan's Punjab. The Indus Basin Development Fund was established and financed by the World Bank, the major contributors to the Aid-to-Pakistan Consortium, and India.

Pakistan's tentative approaches to China intensified in 1959 when China's occupation of Tibet and the flight of the Dalai Lama to India ended five years of Chinese-Indian friendship. An entente between Pakistan and China evolved in inverse ratio to Sino-Indian hostility, which climaxed in a border war in 1962. This informal alliance became a keystone of Pakistan's foreign policy and grew to include a border agreement in March 1963, highway construction connecting the two countries at the Karakoram Pass, agreements on trade, and Chinese economic assistance and grants of military equipment, which was later thought to have included exchanges in nuclear technology. China's diplomatic support and transfer of military equipment was important to Pakistan during the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War over Kashmir. China's new diplomatic influence in the UN was also exerted on Pakistan's behalf after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Ayub Khan's foreign minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, is often credited for this China policy, which gave Pakistan new flexibility in its international relationships. The entente deepened during the Zia regime (1977-88).

The Soviet Union strongly disapproved of Pakistan's alliance with the United States, but Moscow was interested in keeping doors open to both Pakistan and India. Ayub Khan was able to secure Soviet neutrality during the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War.

Ayub Khan was the architect of Pakistan's policy of close alignment with the United States, and his first major foreign policy act was to sign bilateral economic and military agreements with the United States in 1959. Nevertheless, Ayub Khan expected more from these agreements than the United States was willing to offer and thus remained critical of the role the United States played in South Asia. He was vehemently opposed to simultaneous United States support, direct or indirect, for India's military, especially when this assistance was augmented in the wake of the Sino-Indian War of 1962. Ayub Khan maintained, as did many Pakistanis, that in return for the use of Pakistani military facilities, the United States owed Pakistan security allegiance in all cases, not merely in response to communist aggression. Especially troublesome to Pakistan was United States neutrality during the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War. The United States stance at this time was a contributing factor to Pakistan's closing of United States communications and intelligence facilities near Peshawar. Pakistan did not extend the ten-year agreement signed in 1959.

The 1965 war began as a series of border flare-ups along undemarcated territory at the Rann of Kutch in the southeast in April and soon after along the cease-fire line in Kashmir. The Rann of Kutch conflict was resolved by mutual consent and British sponsorship and arbitration, but the Kashmir conflict proved more dangerous and widespread. In the early spring of 1965, UN observers and India reported increased activity by infiltrators from Pakistan into Indian-held Kashmir. Pakistan hoped to support an uprising by Kashmiris against India. No such uprising took place, and by August India had retaken Pakistani-held positions in the north while Pakistan attacked in the Chamb sector in southwestern Kashmir in September. Each country had limited objectives, and neither was economically capable of sustaining a long war because military supplies were cut to both countries by the United States and Britain.

On September 23, a cease-fire was arranged through the UN Security Council. In January 1966, Ayub Khan and India's prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, signed the Tashkent Declaration, which formally ended hostilities and called for a mutual withdrawal of forces. This objectively statesmanlike act elicited an adverse reaction in West Pakistan. Students as well as politicians demonstrated in urban areas, and many were arrested. The Tashkent Declaration was the turning point in the political fortunes of the Ayub Khan administration.

In February 1966, a national conference was held in Lahore, where all the opposition parties convened to discuss their differences and their common interests. The central issue discussed was the Tashkent Declaration, which most of the assembled politicians characterized as Ayub Khan's unnecessary capitulation to India. More significant, perhaps, was the noticeable underrepresentation of politicians from the East Wing. About 700 persons attended the conference, but only twenty-one were from the East Wing. They were led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (known as Mujib) of the Awami League, who presented his controversial six-point political and economic program for East Pakistani provincial autonomy. The six points consisted of the following demands that the government be federal and parliamentary in nature, its members elected by universal adult suffrage with legislative representation on the basis of distribution of population; that the federal government have principal responsibility for foreign affairs and defense only; that each wing have its own currency and separate fiscal accounts; that taxation occur at the provincial level, with a federal government funded by constitutionally guaranteed grants; that each federal unit control its own earnings of foreign exchange; and that each unit raise its own militia or paramilitary forces.

Ayub Khan's also lost the services of Minister of Foreign Affairs Bhutto, who resigned became a vocal opposition leader, and founded the Pakistan People's Party. By 1968 it was obvious that except for the military and the civil service, Ayub Khan had lost most of his support. Ayub Khan's illness in February 1968 and the alleged corruption of members of his family further weakened his position. In West Pakistan, Bhutto's PPP called for a "revolution"; in the east, the Awami League's six points became the rallying cry of the opposition.

In October 1968, the government sponsored a celebration called the Decade of Development. Instead of reminding people of the achievements of the Ayub Khan regime, the festivities highlighted the frustrations of the urban poor afflicted by inflation and the costs of the 1965 war. For the masses, Ayub Khan had become the symbol of inequality. Bhutto capitalized on this and challenged Ayub Khan at the ballot box. In East Pakistan, dissatisfaction with the system went deeper than opposition to Ayub Khan. In January 1969, several opposition parties formed the Democratic Action Committee with the declared aim of restoring democracy through a mass movement.

Ayub Khan reacted by alternating conciliation and repression. Disorder spread. The army moved into Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Dhaka, and Khulna to restore order. In rural areas of East Pakistan, a curfew was ineffective; local officials sensed government control ebbing and began retreating from the incipient peasant revolt. In February Ayub Khan released political prisoners, invited the Democratic Action Committee and others to meet him in Rawalpindi, promised a new constitution, and said he would not stand for reelection in 1970. Still in poor health and lacking the confidence of his generals, Ayub Khan sought a political settlement as violence continued.

On March 25, 1969, martial law was again proclaimed; General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan, the army commander in chief, was designated chief martial law administrator (CMLA). The 1962 constitution was abrogated, Ayub Khan announced his resignation, and Yahya Khan assumed the presidency. Yahya Khan soon promised elections on the basis of adult franchise to the National Assembly, which would draw up a new constitution. He also entered into discussions with leaders of political parties.[5]

Civil War in East BengalEdit

The new administration formed a committee of deputy and provincial martial law administrators that functioned above the civil machinery of government. The generals held power and were no longer the supporting arm of the civilians--elected or bureaucratic--as they had been throughout much of the country's history. In the past, every significant change of government had relied, in large part, on the allegiance of the military. However, Yahya Khan and his military advisers proved no more capable of overcoming the nation's problems than their predecessors. The attempt to establish a military hierarchy running parallel to and supplanting the authority of the civilian administration inevitably ruptured the bureaucratic-military alliance, on which efficiency and stability depended. Little effort was made to promote a national program.

These weaknesses were not immediately apparent but became so as events moved quickly toward a crisis in East Pakistan. On November 28, 1969, Yahya Khan made a nationwide broadcast announcing his proposals for a return to constitutional government. General elections for the National Assembly were set for October 5, 1970, but were postponed to December as the result of a severe cyclone that hit the coast of East Pakistan. The National Assembly was obliged within 120 days to draw up a new constitution, which would permit maximum provincial autonomy. Yahya Khan, however, made it clear that the federal government would require powers of taxation well beyond those contemplated by the six points of the Awami League. He also reserved the right to "authenticate" the constitution. On July 1, 1970, the One Unit Plan was dissolved into the four original provinces. Yahya Khan also determined that the parity of representation in the National Assembly between the East Wing and the West Wing that had existed under the 1956 and 1962 constitutions would end and that representation would be based on population. This arrangement gave East Pakistan 162 seats (plus seven reserved for women) versus 138 seats (plus six for women) for the new provinces of the West Wing.

An intense election campaign took place in 1970 as restrictions on press, speech, and assembly were removed. Bhutto campaigned in the West Wing on a strongly nationalist and leftist platform. The slogan of his party was "Islam our Faith, Democracy our Policy, Socialism our Economy." He said that the PPP would provide "roti, kapra, aur makhan" (bread, clothing, and shelter) to all. He also proclaimed a "thousand year war with India," although this pronouncement was played down later in the campaign. In the East Wing, the Awami League gained widespread support for the six-point program. Its cause was further strengthened because West Pakistani politicians were perceived as callously indifferent to the Bengali victims of the October cyclone and slow to come to their aid.

The first general election conducted in Pakistan on the basis of one person, one vote, was held on December 7, 1970; elections to provincial legislative assemblies followed three days later. The voting was heavy. Yahya Khan kept his promise of free and fair elections. The Awami League won a colossal victory in East Pakistan, for it was directly elected to 160 of the 162 seats in the east and thus gained a majority of the 300 directly elected seats in the National Assembly (plus the thirteen indirectly elected seats for women, bringing the total to 313 members) without winning a seat in the West Wing (see Yahya Khan, 1969-71 , ch. 4). The PPP won a large majority in the West Wing, especially in Punjab and Sindh, but no seats in the East Wing. In the North- West Frontier Province and Balochistan, the National Awami Party won a plurality of the seats. The Muslim League and the Islamic parties did poorly in the west and were not represented in the east.

Any constitutional agreement clearly depended on the consent of three persons: Mujib of the East Wing, Bhutto of the West Wing, and Yahya Khan, as the ultimate authenticator representing the military government. In his role as intermediary and head of state, Yahya Khan tried to persuade Bhutto and Mujib to come to some kind of accommodation. This effort proved unsuccessful as Mujib insisted on his right as leader of the majority to form a government--a stand at variance with Bhutto, who claimed there were "two majorities" in Pakistan. Bhutto declared that the PPP would not attend the inaugural session of the assembly, thereby making the establishment of civilian government impossible. On March 1, 1971, Yahya Khan, who earlier had referred to Mujib as the "future prime minister of Pakistan," dissolved his civilian cabinet and declared an indefinite postponement of the National Assembly. In East Pakistan, the reaction was immediate. Strikes, demonstrations, and civil disobedience increased in tempo until there was open revolt. Prodded by Mujib, Bengalis declared they would pay no taxes and would ignore martial law regulations on press and radio censorship. The writ of the central government all but ceased to exist in East Pakistan.

Mujib, Bhutto, and Yahya Khan held negotiations in Dhaka in late March in a last-ditch attempt to defuse the growing crisis; simultaneously, General Tikka Khan, who commanded the Pakistani forces in East Pakistan, prepared a contingency plan for a military takeover and called for troop reinforcements to be flown in via Sri Lanka. In an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion, the talks broke down, and on March 25 Yahya Khan and Bhutto flew back to West Pakistan.

Tikka Khan's emergency plan went into operation. Roadblocks and barriers appeared all over Dhaka. Mujib was taken into custody and flown to the West Wing to stand trial for treason. Universities were attacked, and the first of many deaths occurred. The tempo of violence of the military crackdown during these first days soon accelerated into a full-blown and brutal civil war (see The Military Reasserts Itself , ch. 5).

On March 26, Yahya Khan outlawed the Awami League, banned political activity, and reimposed press censorship in both wings. Because of these strictures, people in the West Wing remained uninformed about the crackdown in the east and tended to discount reports appearing in the international press as an Indian conspiracy.

Major Ziaur Rahman, a political unknown at the time, proclaimed the independence of Bangladesh from Chittagong, a city in the southeast of the new country. He would become president of Bangladesh in April 1977. A Bangladeshi government in exile was formed in Calcutta.

Ziaur Rahman and others organized Bengali troops to form the Mukti Bahini (Liberation Force) to resist the Pakistan Army. The East Pakistan Rifles, a paramilitary force, mutinied and joined the revolutionary forces. Nevertheless, the Pakistan Army pressed its heavy offensive and in early April controlled most of East Pakistan. More than 250,000 refugees crossed into India in the first few days of the war. The influx continued over the next six months and reached a total of about 10 million. No accurate estimate can be made of the numbers of people killed or wounded or the numbers women of raped, but the assessment of international human rights organizations is that the Pakistani crackdown was particularly alarming in its ferocity.

Relations between Pakistan and India, already tense, deteriorated sharply as a result of the crisis. On March 31, the Indian parliament passed a resolution in support of the "people of Bengal." The Mukti Bahini, formed around regular and paramilitary forces, received equipment, training, and other assistance from India. Superpower rivalries further complicated the situation, impinged on Pakistan's war, and possibly impeded its political resolution.

In the fall, military and guerrilla operations increased, and Pakistan and India reported escalation of border shelling. On the western border of East Pakistan, military preparations were also in evidence. On November 21, the Mukti Bahini launched an offensive on Jessore, southwest of Dhaka. Yahya Khan declared a state of emergency in all of Pakistan on November 23 and asked his people to prepare for war. In response to Indian military movements along and across the Indian-East Pakistani border, the Pakistan Air Force attacked military targets in northern India on December 3, and on December 4 India began an integrated ground, naval, and air invasion of East Pakistan. The Indian army launched a five-pronged attack and began converging on Dhaka. Indian forces closed in around Dhaka and received the surrender of Pakistani forces on December 16. Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi proclaimed a unilateral cease-fire on December 17.

Violent demonstrations against the military government soon broke out at the news of Pakistan's defeat. Yahya Khan resigned on December 20. Bhutto assumed power as president and chief martial law administrator of a disgraced military, a shattered government, and a bewildered and demoralized population. Formal relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh were not established until 1976.[6]

President

  • Iskander Mirza () (March 23, 1956 - October 27, 1958)
  • Muhammad Ayub Khan () (October 27, 1958 - March 25, 1969)
  • Yahya Khan () (March 25, 1969 - December 16, 1971)


Prime Minister

  • Chaudhry Muhammad Ali () (March 23, 1956 - September 12, 1956)
  • Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy () (September 12, 1956 - October 17, 1957)
  • Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar () (October 17, 1957 - December 16, 1957)
  • Sir Feroz Khan Noon () (December 16, 1957 - October 7, 1958)

See alsoEdit

References

  1. The Library of Congress: Pakistan - A Country Study, Chapter 1
  2. The Library of Congress: Pakistan - A Country Study, Chapter 1
  3. The Library of Congress: Pakistan - A Country Study, Chapter 1
  4. The Library of Congress: Pakistan - A Country Study, Chapter 1
  5. The Library of Congress: Pakistan - A Country Study, Chapter 1
  6. The Library of Congress: Pakistan - A Country Study, Chapter 1

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