April 8, 1971
BRIDGE REPORTED DESTROYED
Bangladesh independence forces said today they had blown up a rail bridge linking the army held cities of Dhaka and Chittagong, destroyed an airfield near Comilla and captured an army depot holding nine tonnes of arms and ammunition.
AIR STRIKES ANNOUNCED
The Pakistan government announced today that it had mounted air strikes on "hostile pockets of armed infiltrators" in East Pakistan and had also raided "roadblocks erected by miscreants". The government denied Indian press reports that its warplanes had used bombs or napalm, and it said there had been "no attack of any description" against any city or populated area.
FAMILIES FLEE TOWN
Scores of terror-stricken families tonight fled Satkhira amid reports that a Pakistani army column was moving on the area. A Pakistani column of hundreds of men with artillery was reported to have left Jessore yesterday and to be moving towards Khulna. Naik Subedar Ayub, commander of the local Rifles company, said the army convoy was destroying everything in its path as it moved toward the district. [New York Times, April 9, 1971]
PAK ALLEGATIONS AGAINST INDIA
Pakistan charged today that India was interfering directly in East Pakistan, using "armed infiltrators in plain clothes" by sending in truckloads of army and by massing six divisions on the border.
These moves have been checked by Pakistan, it said, in spite of hostile propaganda.
The charges were in a note with a covering letter from Ambassador Agha Shahi of Pakistan asking UN Secretary General U Thant to circulate the note to the 127 member governments.
India, the note said, "while professing allegiance to the United Nations Charter, is attempting to demolish one of its cornerstones by flouting the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of member states".
TRANSFERRING POWER TO A PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT
Joseph S Farland, the US ambassador in Pakistan, sent a telegram today to the US State Department reporting on a conversation on April 7, 1971 between US Assistant Secretary Sisco and Pakistan Ambassador Hilaly. Hilaly offered a hopeful prognosis for political developments in East Pakistan. He anticipated that the Martial Law Administration would be willing to concede on the Awami League's six-point agenda, with minor adjustments. He also noted that President Yahya Khan had reiterated his intention to transfer power to a provincial government in East Pakistan, and he speculated that the change would take place within the next few months. Hilaly did not feel that the arrest of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman or the outlawing of the Awami League would significantly affect the political outcome in East Pakistan.
Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at email@example.com