The President of Pakistan General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan held free and fair elections in December 1970. The Awami League won the elections of 1970 based on the Six Points Agenda. Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman mounted pressure to establish his government while the Pakistan Peoples’ Party opposed it strongly. In the meantime, Sheikh Mujeeb-Ur- Rehman launched the Non-Cooperation Movement in the state. He also established a parallel government with the unlawful help of India and declared Bangladesh as an independent state. Moreover, No instant and effective operation could be done in East Pakistan because of the vast distance of land as well as disconnected air communication and non-cooperation of the local people. Eventually, India succeeded in achieving its objectives and East Pakistan appeared on the map of the world with the name of Bangladesh on 16 December 1971.
Causes of Separation of East Pakistan:
East Pakistan was the right-wing of the Federation of Pakistan. This wing separated in 1971 due to internal and external reasons. Thus, Pakistan was cut into two pieces. The causes of separation of East Pakistan are:
1. Geographical Location of East and West Pakistan:
The East and West parts of Pakistan were at a distance of 1600 km and India was in between the two parts. This physical distance not only created many difficulties in defence of both the parts but also created the problem of the means of transport. India had never accepted the division of the subcontinent and the establishment of Pakistan. It took advantage of misunderstanding and started vicious propaganda against the people of West Pakistan to misguide the people of East Pakistan.
2. The difference in the Social Structure:
The problems of the people of both provinces were different. The officers belonging to East Pakistan were more friendly and close to the people. They tried to solve the problems of their people. On the contrary, when these officers from West Pakistan were posted in East Pakistan, they had a different attitude towards the people of the East wing. They maintained a distance from the people, which created a sense of hatred against West Pakistan. The people of East Pakistan started feeling that they were not made real partners in the administration of the government.
3. Martial Laws:
The imposition of Martial Laws created a sense of deprivation among the people of East Pakistan. General Muhammad Ayub Khan accused the politicians that they were responsible for the failure of the parliamentary system of government whereas the public leaders believed that Martial Laws were the real obstacle in the way of the establishment of a parliamentary system of government. Thus, democracy could not flourish in the country.
4. Language Issue:
The issue of the Bengali language played a vital role in disintegrating national unity. Urdu was regarded as the National language of Pakistan, which was opposed by the people of East Pakistan. Therefore, the demonstration was held against the government and some Bengali students lost their lives, which created hatred against West Pakistan.
5. Provincial Autonomy:
East Pakistan was one of the five units of Pakistan but politicians of East Pakistan demanded complete provincial autonomy. This demand was not accepted until India had attacked East Pakistan in 1971.
6. Economic Deprivation and Propaganda
Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman, the leader of the Awami League Party in Bengal propagated that Bengalis were economically deprived and demanded a separate economic system for East Pakistan. He presented a six-point manifesto of the Awami League and started developing secret relations with India.
7. International Conspiracies:
About 10 million Hindus were living in East Pakistan. India stood at the back of these Hindus to protect their interests. India wanted to separate East Pakistan to strengthen the economic position of the Hindus. Many Hindus acted as spies for India. Russia was against Pakistan because Pakistan had allowed America to establish military bases in Pakistan. America was also involved in these conspiracies. It was proved because when Israel supplied American manufactured armaments to India, America did not object to it. Therefore, the separation of East Pakistan was the secret agreement of big powers.
8. Military Action in East Pakistan:
After the general elections of December 1970, the law and order situation in East Pakistan had deteriorated. Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman announced a revolt on 23 March 1971. Even the flags of Bangladesh were hoisted and people belonging to West Pakistan and Bihari were massacred. In these circumstances, it was decided to launch military action. This created hatred among Bengalis and they also started-armed struggle.
9. India’s Attack:
India pretended the safety of its borders to invade thousands of terrorists of Mukti Bahni in East Pakistan. India also started attacks on the Pakistan Army. On December 3, 1971, the war between Pakistan and India began. Due to the lack of support of the local people and the poor arrangements of supply of men and material, Pakistani soldiers surrendered before the Indian army on December 16, 1971, whereas the cease-fire on the West Pakistan front was declared without launching a significant attack. On December 16, 1971, East Pakistan became an independent and free state of Bangladesh.
The separation of East Pakistan was a great setback to Pakistan. By 1970, the sentiments for national unity had weakened in East Pakistan to the extent that constant conflict between the two Wings dramatically erupted into mass civil disorder, which led to major conflicts. Moreover, the lack of loyal leadership further aggravated the situation and no political solution was experimented to end the crisis. That had ended the united Pakistan and Pakistan was disintegrated into two wings.