DHAKA, March 05, 2015 (BSS) -As the general strike continued in Bangladesh Pakistan's president General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan spoke to the nation, a day ahead (on March 6) of Bangabandhu's speech of March 7, 1971.
Yahya in his speech tried to justify his earlier order to postpone the
meeting of the National Assembly on "disagreement among political parties" and gave a new date for the inaugural National Assembly session which was March 25, 1971.
He blamed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for not being "helpful" and blamed him for the entire crisis.
In his own words, broadcast over Radio Pakistan, in English, he said: "My dear countrymen, "Assalam-o-Alaikum,
.....As the resulting environments were not conducive to constitution
making in that a very large number of West Pakistani representatives refused to attend the Assembly session on the 3rd of March, I came to the conclusion that having the inaugural session of the National Assembly on that date would be futile exercise and was likely to result in the dissolution of the Assembly itself. I therefore, tried to save the situation by postponing the date of the session. I had thereby hoped to achieve two purposes-firstly, to save the assembly and all the national effort that had gone into its birth and secondly, allow time for passions to cool down and a fruitful dialogue to take place. But instead of accepting the decision in the spirit in which it was taken, our East Pakistan leadership reacted in a manner which resulted in destructive elements coming out in the streets and destroying life and property. Needless to say, no Government could have remained a silent spectator in such a situation. It was, therefore, my moral obligation to take the minimum essential measures for protecting the lives and property of the innocent and otherwise peaceful law-abiding citizens who in the absence of any such measures would have fallen victims to extremist elements. I am,however sorry to say that lawlessness continues to be the order of the day in East Pakistan.
For some reason, the postponement of the date of the Assembly session has been completely misunderstood. Whether this is deliberate or otherwise I cannot say but one thing is certain this misunderstanding has become the rallying cry for the forces of disorder.............. .
"God bless you all. "Pakistan Paindabad".
Meanwhile in Washington DC the Senior Review Group met under the
chairmanship of the US president's special assistant on national security affairs, Henry Kissinger, on the evolving situation in "East Pakistan".
SUMMARY OF DECISIONS it was agreed to: -discuss the situation with the
British to see if they would take the lead in an approach to West Pakistan to discourage the use of force, if it should become necessary; -advise our (US) missions at Dacca and Islamabad of our thinking and instruct Dacca, if they receive an approach from Mujib on recognition of a separate East Pakistan regime, to say nothing and refer it to Washington;
-consult by telephone on Sunday, March 7 following word on (Bangabandhu Sheikh) Mujib's speech./
Kissinger: The judgement of all of us is that with the number of troops available to Yahya (a total of 20,000, with 12,000 combat troops) and a hostile East Pakistan population of 75 million, the result would be a blood- bath with no hope of West Pakistan reestablishing control over East Pakistan. In this event, we would be interested in bringing about a cessation of hostilities, but the question of whether we or others should take the lead remains to be seen.
We are talking with the British this afternoon about the situation. Mujib has unparalleled political control, capturing 160 of the 162 seats up for grabs in the last election. And he is friendly toward the US. In West Pakistan, Bhutto is almost unparalleledly unfriendly to the US. While we have maintained a posture of hoping the country can be brought together and its unity preserved, the chances of doing so now are extremely slight. It is only a question of time and circumstances as to how they will split, and to what degree the split is complete or may be papered over in some vague confederal scheme.
Mr. Van Hollen: There are three possibilities for Mujib tomorrow: a
unilateral declaration of independence; something just short of that-possibly a suggestion for two separate constitutions; or acceptance of Yahya's proposal that the National Assembly meet on March 25.
Mr. Kissinger: But doesn't Mujib control the Assembly?
Mr. Van Hollen: Yes, but Yahya controls its convening.
Mr. Kissinger: Why wouldn't the convening of the National Assembly on March 25 be acceptable to East Pakistan? They control the Assembly and nothing can pass without them.
Mr. Van Hollen: They may interpret it as another stalling tactic by Yahya.
....................... Mr. Kissinger: I agree that force won't work.
Mr. Van Hollen: Yes, but they might try.
Mr. Johnson: They have some C-130's which could fly around India by
refueling in Ceylon.
Mr. Kissinger: Ceylon wouldn't let them, would they? Mr. Van Hollen: They do it now, but they might not if circumstances should change.
Mr. Noyes: India would put pressure on Ceylon to refuse.
Mr. Johnson: They could use their jet transports.
Mr. Noyes: They only have 11 of limited capacity.
Mr. Kissinger: They would have to have some logistics back-up. Mr. Noyes:
They have three ships which could move 8000 men in a week's time.
Mr. Van Hollen: Despite all the problems, our mission in Islamabad
estimates that Yahya is prepared to use force.