New York Times

August 01 1971

East Pakistan: Shades Of the Vietnam War

By Malcolm W. Browne

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In Dacca, guerrillas have made their presence felt during the past two weeks by knocking out the city gas supply and damaging the electricity supply badly enough so that there are frequent blackouts. There are nightly sounds of explosions and gunfire. Neighborhoods that were blasted and burned out in March are still flat. But Dacca is again full of people, rickshaws and commerce and looks as though it is nearly back to normal.

In many populous areas in the countryside crops are growing, and if there are serious food shortages they are not evident.

The political background to this strife is easy enough to trace. East and West Pakistan, separated from each other by 900 miles of Indian territory, share a belief in the Muslim faith but little else. The Bengalis of the east speak a different language from the Urdu of the west; they have different cultural and social traditions and even look different. The Bengalis have long regarded the Punjabi of West Pakistan as economic exploiters of the eastern region.

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