May 19, 1971
UN Secretary General U Thant appealed today to all governments and private sources to send relief assistance for the Bangladesh refugees who had crossed over to India. In a public statement he said while he could not estimate the exact number of refugees who had crossed the border there was no doubt that the "unfortunate people" needed immediate assistance from all quarters of the world.
"The Indian government's preliminary estimates indicate that such assistance might be of the order of about £73 million for the next six months," he added.
He expressed the hope that the refugees would be voluntarily repatriated at the earliest possible time. U Thant had under consideration a request from Pakistan for food and equipment to ease the situation in Bangladesh.
BANGLADESH LIBERATION COUNCIL ESTABLISHED
Noted intellectuals of Bangladesh today formed Bangladesh Liberation Council with Dr AR Mullick, vice chancellor of Chittagong University, as president. Aims of the Council included support to the Bangladesh government in the war, mobilisation of the displaced intellectuals and publicity for the liberation movement at national and international level.
The council would also produce feature and documentary films on the Bangladesh Liberation War, send abroad intellectual squads to organise an international conscience troop for defence of human rights and democracy. Famed writer and film director Zahir Raihan is the secretary of the council.
ARAFAT CONVEYS GOOD WISHES TO BANGLADESH
The Palestine guerilla leader Yasser Arafat conveyed his good wishes to Bangladesh through Indian political leader Jayaprakash Narain who called on him yesterday. Jayaprakash Narayan arrived in Cairo on a two-day visit in the course of a global tour he had undertaken on behalf of the Gandhi Peace Foundation and Sarva Seva Sangh to mobilise public and government opinion about the situation in Bangladesh.
Yasser Arafat was found "very understanding and sympathetic" about Bangladesh developments. He told the Indian leader that he could quite understand the military character of the Pakistan regime because "we have suffered in Jordan", where the Pakistan army helped the Jordanian army to fight the commandos.
PAKISTAN REJECTS INDIAN PROPOSAL
In Islamabad, it was stated that Pakistan had rejected an Indian proposal that a Swiss representative should visit Dhaka to try to resolve the difficulties facing members of the Indian diplomatic mission there.
COLD LONDON WELCOME FOR YAHYA'S ENVOY
MM Ahmad, special envoy of Pakistan President Yahya Khan, had talks in London today with Sir Alec Douglas-Home, the UK Foreign Secretary. They discussed emergency food supplies and Pakistan's financial crisis. MM Ahmad had previously had discussions with US President Richard Nixon and the United Nations Secretary General U Thant. Although no statement was issued, MM Ahmad was believed to have received in London the same correct and chilly treatment he had in America.
Basically, Britain and the United States, supported by Canada, West Germany, and other governments in the World Bank aid consortium, were saying that Pakistan must reduce expenditure on troops in East Pakistan, and put her finances in order, if she expects assistance.
Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at email@example.com