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Dhaka Tribune

March 11, 1971: Pakistani rulers get wary

Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani announced his support to freedom fighters in Tangail

Update : 11 Mar 2022, 02:42 PM

After ten consecutive days of the non-cooperation movement, it became apparent to the Pakistani rulers that things were not going according to plan for them.

On March 11, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party, sent a telegram to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman expressing concern over the overall situation and calling for a compromise.

"I am deeply shocked and disturbed by the recent developments. We are facing a huge crisis today. The future of the country is uncertain now. We both have a lot of responsibilities in this regard. We have to do everything possible to avoid destruction. We have to protect the country at any cost," Bhutto said in a statement.

However, Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, a political leader of West Pakistan, stated that it is not possible to "keep Pakistan united" without realizing the rights of the people of East Pakistan.

At  a press conference in Karachi, he said: "Awami League Chief Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is now the government of Bengal. All government employees and secretaries there are following his instructions. The Pakistani flag is flying only at the military headquarters in Dhaka. It will not be possible to keep the two parts of the country together without the immediate transfer of power to the leader of the majority party.”

In line with the demand for an independent Bangladesh, under the instructions of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, all co-operation with the government was suspended. 

On this day, High Court judges and administrative secretaries along with many other employees throughout the country quit office.

Civilians put up barriers and created obstacles to deny day-to-day items to the military authorities..

In Sylhet, one convoy supplying rations was intercepted by civilians.

That night, the army released its 114th military order saying any civilian, willingly or unwillingly, harming government property or obstructing military personnel would be punished as per law.

During a people’s rally in Tangail, NAP leader Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani announced his support for the freedom fighters and said Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the leader of the Bangali people and told everyone to follow his instructions.

Awami League General Secretary Tajuddin Ahmed thanked the people of Bangladesh for rallying behind the party and making the civil disobedience movement launched by Bangabandhu a success.

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