Road to Freedom: This Day in Bangladesh Liberation War History | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 07, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:13 AM, May 07, 2021

Road to Freedom: This Day in Bangladesh Liberation War History

May 7, 1971

SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL

US President Richard Nixon in a letter issued today to Pakistan President Yahya Khan expressed his concern over the loss of life and human suffering in East Pakistan. However, he sympathised with Yahya and said, "I understand the anguish you must have felt in making the difficult decisions you have faced."

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Nixon further said, "We look forward to an early renewal of your national development effort and of normal economic activity throughout Pakistan. We especially hope for the restoration of internal communications in East Pakistan to forestall food shortages, and we are prepared to support international humanitarian relief there."

The letter concluded, "It is to no one's advantage to permit the situation in East Pakistan to lead to an internationalization of the situation. Foreign involvement could create new problems and compound the difficulty of securing an ultimate settlement. We have been in touch with the Government of India and have discussed the implications of the present situation. We have stressed the need for restraint."

INDIA'S POSITION ON RECOGNITION OF BANGLADESH

Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi reportedly told opposition leaders today that her government wanted to watch developments for a while before deciding whether to recognise the government proclaimed by the Bangalee independence movement in Bangladesh.

Official sources reported that all the opposition leaders with the exception of two-- an independent member and the president of the Moslem League -- had pressed for immediate recognition of Bangladesh.

Indira Gandhi, according to these sources, said at the closed meeting that India was delaying a decision not because of the threat of war with Pakistan or out of fear of a confrontation with Communist China, but for "more weighty reasons".

Gandhi wanted to see if the Bangalee independence fighters could establish effective administrative control over a sizeable area. What other governments do about recognition will also be a factor, but not the deciding one, these sources said.

She told the opposition leaders that India had sounded out several friendly countries on the recognition issue, but that at least for now these countries tended to regard the crisis as a Pakistani internal matter.

Indira Gandhi reportedly contended that Indian recognition now might hurt the Bangalees' cause by seeming to substantiate the Pakistani charge that the independence struggle was engineered by India and was being kept alive only by Indian arms aid.

PRESS IS WARNED ON 'IRRESPONSIBLE' REPORTS

The military government of Yahya Khan warned the newspapers today "not to jeopardize efforts to bring the country back to normalcy by publishing irresponsible reports".

An official announcement said newspapers would not be allowed to infringe on a martial law regulation that bars publication of anything calculated to harm the integrity of Pakistan. The regulation was promulgated on March 26, when General Yahya announced the military crackdown.

"The nation today is faced with a crisis and everything has to be subordinated to it," the new announcement said.

"Some newspapers have started acting in an irresponsible manner which is against the interest of the nation," it added.

Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at sajen1986@gmail.com

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