The people of Bangladesh, in every sector of life, demonstrated remarkable unity under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as he carried his non-violent non-cooperation movement along throughout the better part of March 1971.
On March 8, the civil administration, which had already decided to follow Bangabandhu's leadership, set about implementing the new directives relating to banking, trade and other essential services announced the previous day.
The directives stipulated that railways and ports would operate as usual. However, any attempt by the Pakistan army to transport soldiers through river and railway routes to various parts of Bangladesh would be resisted through non-cooperation by railway and river port workers.
On March 8, specific directives were issued on behalf of the Awami League by General Secretary Tajuddin Ahmed regarding services provided by banks operated by Bangalees. As Dr Kamal Hossain would later note, the move came after meetings between the bankers and leaders of the Awami League where problems faced by depositors and others came up for discussion. The directives also included measures for the purchase of raw materials by industries engaged in production of various goods throughout Bangladesh. Factories would remain open and normal work would go on. It was also stipulated that at the individual level, people could withdraw a maximum of a thousand rupees from their bank accounts.
On the agricultural front, the directive made note of the fact that in order for emergency economic activities to go on, offices and departments responsible for the supply of fertiliser and diesel for power pumps would remain open. Additionally, supplies of food and food items would remain uninterrupted. Coal would continue to be supplied to brick kilns across Bangladesh and provision of rice and jute seeds would be ensured by the departments concerned.
The administration was thus under the direct, effective control of the Awami League leadership. The only place where the Pakistan government had any presence at all was in the cantonments. On the political front, a day after Bangabandhu had outlined his demands at the Race Course, political quarters in West Pakistan, with the exception of the Pakistan People's Party and the faction of the Muslim League led by Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, brought pressure to bear on General Yahya Khan for a speedy transfer of power to the Awami League.