Kayhan International (Iran)

August 01 1971


The decline and fall of Sheikh Mujib

By Amir Taheri

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He had managed to advocate his Six-points with complete freedom despite the fact that the programme was a truly revolutionary one which, if implemented, would have led to a virtual end to central authority in East Pakistan. At the same time he had succeeded in holding his party together, and the Awami League which he headed with a spectrum of various political ideas and socio-economic interests. Inside his central committee there were sworn pro-Mao Communists, anti-Communist landlords and rich merchants, nihilistic student rebels, pompous middleclass lawyers and rustic jute- growers from the dark hinterland.

The election had been held for the formation of a constituent assembly that would write a constitution for Pakistan. But in the last days of March the Sheikh, no doubt, egged on by his extremist lieutenants, asked the military government to agree to an immediate transfer of power to the assembly.

In doing so he was encouraged by numerous West Pakistani leaders including Qayyum Khan of the Muslim League and other lesser figures such as Air-Marshal Asghar Khan, Nasrullah and Mian Mumtaz Daulatana. So he thought that his call for an immediate end of martial law and the hand over of power to the assembly would be backed by the West Pakistanis as well. The only man he did not count on was: Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Chairman of the West Pakistani People’s Party—the second largest group in the assembly that never met.


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