GLOCAL March 2014 - Page 10

8 The President of Pakistan came to Dacca on 15 March, 1971 again to hold dialogue with the leader of Awami League, the leader of the majority party in the Parliament. Apparently, talks were progressing satisfactorily between leaders of Awami League and the military regime to resolve the crisis. The President of Pakistan came to an agreement on four points: lifting of Martial law, and transfer of power to the civilian authority by a presidential proclamation, transfer of power in the provinces to the majority parties, continuation of Aga Muhammad Yahya Khan as President and in control of the central government, and separate sitting of the National Assembly members from the East and the West prior to preparatory joint session of the house to finalize the constitution. That was the impression given to the people following discussion between leaders of Awami League and army officers, including the President. Meanwhile, President of Peoples party Zulfiqar Ali landed in Dacca on February 21 and apparently disagreed with the decision. In collusion with topnotch Generals of the armed forces Zulfiqar Ali cooked out a conspiracy to spoil the decision. He met separately with the President. President again postponed inauguration of National Assembly and on the night of March 25 President Yahya Khan, Z.A Bhutto and others suddenly dashed out of Dacca. Simultaneously, the Pakistan army launched what was clearly a wellprepared and pre-planned brutal attack on the unarmed, unsuspecting and defenseless population of Dacca and other towns of East Pakistan. The leader of majority Awami League surrendered to the army while he instructed his followers to go underground. Anthony Mascarenhas , who was Assistant Editor of Morning News of Karachi and later Joined London Sunday Time, in his book: The Rape of Bangladesh( page 137) said,“ in effect the President was saying that East and West had separate, conflicting interests and that one man one vote had been a joke. His absurd reasoning not only negated Page Law immediately, transfer of power to the elected representatives; recall of the troop to their barracks and to hold an enquiry into the killings of civilians by the army. He appealed to the people to remain vigilant and prepared with whatever materials they possess to fight the enemy and declared that this time the movement is meant for freedom.