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Inbisat Shuja

Semester 3
English Literature

Causes of the Fall of East Pakistan

There are sociopolitical, economic and military causes of the fall of East Pakistan.

Forgotten Islamic ideology:

Pakistan was the only ideological country that was formed on an ideology. This ideology, the
ideology of Islam played a vital role in Pakistan movement and it was the only force that helped
Muslims of sub continent to achieve their homeland in such a short period of time. But
unfortunately after the formation of Pakistan this bond of brotherhood continuously went
downward and no serious steps were taken to increase bond of love between the people of two
parts of the country.

Provincial Prejudice:
Ideally speaking Pakistan should have formed its constitution with in one or two years after its
coming into being, So that all the emotion of national unity which were present at that time could
have been maintained. But unfortunately we could not even decide the basic principles and rules
for our country in 1st nine years which created provincial prejudice and so many other miss
understandings between two parts of the country. This provincial prejudice played a vital rule in
Pakistans disintegration.

No Land Route:
Geographically East Pakistan was situated 2500km away from West Pakistan and
there was no land route connecting the both sides.

No Economic Development:
Different governments did not bother to bring the Eastern Wing at par with the
Western Wing as far as the economic development was concerned. East Pakistan
was the largest producer of jute which was brought to West Pakistan as no
industrial setup was developed in East Pakistan. The economic conditions of East
Pakistan were miserable as recorded by Brigd Saddique Salik in his book

Witness to Surrender. According to him One could count the ribs of a

Bengali standing one hundred yards from the road while driving at a speed of
hundred miles per hour.

Elections of 1970:
The political history of Pakistan from 1947 to 1970 witnessed no general
elections. Thus, when Yahyas Regime decided to hold the first general
elections on, they were not only required to make a new mechanism but
were also required to set up a permanent election machinery. A threemember Election Commission was set up and Justice Abdus Sattar was
appointed as the first Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan.
The first task before the Election Commission was to enroll as voters all
citizens of Pakistan who were at least 21-years old on October 1, 1969. The
electoral rolls were put before the masses for corrections on January 16,
1970, and after necessary amendments, the final list was published on March
17. The total registered voters in the country were 56,941,500 out of which
31,211,220 were from the Eastern Wing, while 25,730,280 from the Western
Wing. The Election Commission also marked the constituencies, in
accordance with the seats allocated for the National and Provincial
Assemblies under Legal Framework Order, 1970. One hundred and ninety
nine Returning Officers were appointed for the National Assembly and 285
Returning Officers were appointed for the Provincial Assemblies.
Twenty four political parties participated in the elections. The public
meetings of Awami League in Bengal and Pakistan Peoples Party in the
Punjab and Sindh attracted huge crowds. Awami League mobilized support
on the basis of its Six-Points Program, which was the main attraction in the
partys manifesto. While Z. A. Bhuttos personality, his socialistic ideas and
his slogan of Rotti, Kapra aur Makan.
As a result of the general election of 1970 Awami League won 160
contested seats out of 162 seats and 7 uncontested seats also went in their
hands making it 167 out of 169. On the other hand PPP won 81 contested
seats out of 120 and 6 uncontested seats went to PPP making it 87 out of
In East Pakistan Awami League won 75.11% of total votes and PPP did not
contest at all. Whereas in West Pakistan Awami League obtained only .07%

of the total votes and PPP won 41.66% in Punjab, 45% in Sindh, 14.28% in
NWFP and only 2.8% in Balochistan.
Despite of the fact that Awami League won 167 out of 333 seats president
and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto did not allow Awami League to form Government.

Ganga Plane Hijacking:

India knew that East Pakistan is at the distance of 1000 miles from West Pakistan so they
started planning against Pakistan. India played a clever trick and got on of its planes high
jacked by its own agents and made it land on Pakistani soil. Later on they accused Pakistan
for its high jacking and banned all Pakistani planes to fly over Indian air way, by doing this
they practically cut off West Pakistan from East Pakistan

Six Points of Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman:

His demands were:
1. Pakistan to be a federation of state with parliamentary system of
The federal government should deal with only two subjects: Defence and
Foreign Affairs, and all other residual subjects should be vested in the
federating states.
3. Two separate, but freely convertible currencies for two wings should be
introduced; or if this is not feasible, there should be one currency for the
whole country, but effective constitutional provisions should be introduced
to stop the flight of capital from East to West Pakistan. Furthermore, a
separate Banking Reserve should be established and separate fiscal and
monetary policy be adopted for East Pakistan.

4. Taxes to be levied only by Regional Government and a portion to go to the

federal account.
5. Separate accounts to be maintained for foreign currecies earned by each
6. Eastern wing to have separate militia or parliamentary force.
His six points added fuel to the fire as conceding to these six points meant
giving actual ultimate freedom and liberty to East Pakistan.

Language Issue:
Demographically Eastern wing had more population than that of the western wing but
even than Urdu was made the national language of Pakistan which hurt the popular
feelings of Bengalis. The first ever attack on the national unity of Pakistan was the
language conflict which permanently divided Pakistan in two parts this problem arouse in
1948 for the first time when Quaid-E-Azam was alive but at that time this issue did not
take that much importance, but after Quaid E Azam this issue again arose and this time
there was no national leader who could handle this problem. The conflict was simple.
Bengali was the language of 56 % of Pakistani population and they logically and
justifiably wanted Bangla to be the national language but official always insisted on
having Urdu and only Urdu as national language which was spoken only by 12% of
Pakistani population. Ultimately both Bengali and Urdu were taken as national languages
but the damage now had been done.

The Agartala Conpiracy:

The Agartala conspiracy case agrivated the situation even more. In Dec 1967 a
conspiracy of kidnapping and killing of General Ayub was reveled after some days another
conspiracy was caught. This was the Agartala conspiracy. According to government reports
Indias first secretary Ojha and some leaders of Awami League were planning to disintegrate
Bengal from Pakistan and for that purpose they were holding talks on bringing the
ammunition in Bengal. In this accusation sheikh Mujeeb was arrested but unfortunately its
effects came really bad as Mujeeb became hero of the Bengalis and later on he was released.

Role of America:
Role of America is also quoted as one of the causes as America promised
Pakistani government to send a Naval Fleet for the help of Pakistani Army
but the fleet did not come and East Pakistan fell.

Role of General Tikka Khan and General Niazi:

Role of General Tikka Khan and General Niazi was also unprofessional as
compared to General Arora who commanded the Indian Army. When Yahya
khan showed hesitation in calling the assembly for its first meeting after elections, unrest and
frustration arose in East Pakistan but instead of talking it out Yahya ordered for a military
operation, general Tikka khan conducted the notorious operation and thousands of innocent
people were killed, this really added to the hatred of Bengali people

Indian Propaganda Machines:

Indian propaganda machines started propagating anti-Pakistan issues in Bengalis

especially through teachers in the school and colleges. The Bengali youth was made the
focus of this propaganda. Unfortunately Bengali Muslims were lagging behind in
education and majority of school and college teachers in Bengal was from Hindus who
tried their best to urge the youth of Bengal to revolt against the ideology of Pakistan and
guided them to fight for their freedom from Pakistan.

Massacre of Bengali Civilians:

During the war Pakistan army was reported to have targeted the civilian
population of the East Pakistan. There were reports that the Pakistani army
fell into moral activities to immoral activities.

Arrest of Mujeeb-ur-Rehman:
Dialogues were ongoing with Yahya but on 25 March 1971 Pakistan Army
arrested Mujeeb and launched attack on unarmed Bengalis.
By blood Bengalis are a revolutionary nation therefore when the revolution
started it had no ending. Pakistan Army had to fight against Indian Army
and against Mukti Bahini as well which crippled the economy of West
Pakistan also.