12:00 AM, February 13, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 13, 2013

Nurul Amin irritated by Nazimuddin

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Syed Badrul Ahsan

Pakistan's first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated while addressing a public meeting in Rawalpindi on October 16, 1951. His assassin was swiftly pounced upon by a mob and killed on the spot. To this day, it has never been made clear as to who were behind the murder of the prime minister.
Liaquat was succeeded by Khwaja Nazimuddin, who had in September 1948 succeeded Mohammad Ali Jinnah as governor general. With Nazimuddin now taking over as prime minister, Ghulam Mohammad became the governor general.
Nazimuddin soon made it clear that under his stewardship, Pakistan's crisis over the language question would only be exacerbated. He visited Dhaka in January 1952. At a public meeting on January 27, he reiterated the old argument of the ruling classes that Urdu would be the state language of the country as noted in the report of the Basic Principles Committee. His pronouncement left Nurul Amin, chief minister of East Bengal, surprised and irritated. Amin, who briefly was to serve as Pakistan's prime minister nearly two decades later in December 1971 before going on to serve as its vice president under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was on the dais that day. He was to recall the day 20 years after Nazimuddin made his comments:
“In the course of (Nazimuddin's) lengthy speech from a written script, he mentioned that Urdu shall be the state language. The statement was not only uncalled for but also inconsistent with the stand of the Muslim League members of the CA (Constituent Assembly) from East Pakistan and the assurances received from a section of their counterparts from the West. . .
“The prime minister seemed to have been so effectively briefed from interested quarters that he kept such an inflammable issue a guarded secret from me even and did not have the courtesy to consult me. . . I was sitting on the dais where he was speaking from and as soon as he uttered the sentence I could foresee its consequences. When I charged him after the meeting, he told me that the brief was prepared in Karachi.”

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