U.S. National Archives

June 30 1971

Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Sisco) to Secretary of State Rogers

Pakistan: Yahya’s June 28 Address on Political Formula

Foreign Relations of the United States
Volume X1
South Asia Crisis, 1971

By Joseph Sisco

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Source: National Archives, RG 59, NEA/PAB Files: Lot 77 D 91, POL 15–1, Head of State. Confidential. Drafted on June 29 by Joel M. Woldman (NEA/PAF) with the concurrence of Van Hollen. The memorandum is stamped June 29, but Sisco corrected the date by hand.

Washington, June 30, 1971.

SUBJECT: Pakistan: Yahya’s June 28 Address on Political Formula

Pakistani President Yahya Khan, in a long-awaited nationwide broadcast on June 28, outlined his plans for a conditional return to representative government within approximately four months. Yahya stated, however, that even after the promulgation of a new constitution and the convening of national and provincial legislatures, martial law would continue to be “at their disposal for a period of time.”

Yahya has given up his original intention to have an elected constituent assembly adopt a constitution for him to “authenticate.” Pakistan’s new constitution will be written by a group of experts after consultation with political leaders and can be amended by the National Assembly, which would function as a legislature immediately upon being convened. This new constitution would follow the outline of Yahya’s Legal Framework Order of 1970, i.e., an Islamic Republic, a federal state with adequate financial, administrative and legislative powers for the Center and “maximum” autonomy for the provinces. The new element would be a modified version of martial law to serve as a protective cover for the new government for an unspecified period.

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