From 1970 elections to March 7
01:56 PM, October 31, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:02 PM, October 31, 2017

Timeline: From 1970 elections to March 7

December 7, 1970:

  • General elections result in victory for the Awami League. The party ends up obtaining majority in the National Assembly.

January 10, 1971:

  • Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto says his party will consider overall solidarity of Pakistan and assist in implementation of governance policy.

January 12, 1971:

  • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman meets President Yahya Khan and discusses several important national issues for 2 hours. No specifics obtained.

January 14, 1971:

  • Yahya Khan leaves Dhaka for Karachi. He tells reporters that Sheikh Mujib is soon to become the prime minister of Pakistan.
  • Reports say Yahya Khan agreed to hand over power to Sheikh Mujib.

January 27, 1971:

  • Pakistan People’s Party chief ZA Bhutto arrives in Dhaka to meet Awami League chief Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • Sheikh Mujib and ZA Bhutto meet at a closed door meeting. Bhutto said he was delighted to have met Mujib and the two discussed on a lot of issues.  Mujib says: “We just began our talks and will continue.”

January 28, 1971:

  • A second closed door meeting is held.
  • Sheikh Mujib says the two discussed all national problems. Their topic of discussion did not come to light.

January 29, 1971:

  • Talks between Sheikh Mujib and Bhutto end. The duo could not reach a unity. However, they both opined for further talks.
  • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman advises President Yahya Khan to begin National Council sessions from February 15.

January 30, 1971:

  • Sheikh Mujib and Bhutto go on a boat trip. Sources say, the two leaders split from the others and went on a cruise alone together for 2 hours.

February 14, 1971:

  • President Yahya Khan calls for National Assembly Session on March 3 in Dhaka.

February 18, 1971:

  • Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto rules out any possibility of treaty or pact to have an agreement between Awami League and Peoples Party.

February 28, 1971:

  • Bhutto says dangerous situation will emerge if political standoff happens within the national assembly.
  • A draft governance policy is proposed at an Awami League meeting. It would be presented at National Assembly after approval.

March 1, 1971:

  • President Yahya suspends the national committee session.
  • Upon hearing the news, Dhaka city erupts in anger and eventually people take to the streets. Business centres in the city close down as well.
  • Sheikh Mujib objects to the suspension He calls for a hartal/strike in Dhaka on 2nd March, countrywide strike on 3rd March and a rally in Race course field on 7th March.

March 2, 1971:

  • In a historic student rally held in Bottola of the Dhaka University Premises, the Bangladesh flag with the Map of Bangladesh inlaid in it is hoisted.
  • In the afternoon, the Pakistani flag is pulled down and the Bangladeshi Flag inlaid with Bangladesh map is hoisted in the Dhaka University and in the Secretariat premises.
  • At night, a curfew is imposed in the Dhaka City. Throughout the city the curfew is broken and barricades are formed. Military opens fire on protesters. Reckless shots are fired at everyone who broke the curfew in various areas.

March 4, 1971:

  • During the strike, 6 people are martyred in Khulna, and in Chittagong, the death toll including March 4, rises at 121.
  • Sheikh Mujib says, without sacrifice no country has ever achieved independence.
  • Half-day hartals called for 5 & 6 March.

March 5, 1971:

  • On the fifth day of the hartal, armed forces open fire hurting 29. Upon receiving this news, people in Dhaka city burst in anger.
  • In Dhaka, announcements are made saying that the army has been moved back to the barracks.

March 7, 1971:

  • Sheikh Mujib, in a historical congregation of almost 10 lakh people and in a 20 minute long speech announces “Ebarer Shongram amader muktir shongram, Ebarer shongram, shadhinotar Shongram” (This war is a war for independence, this war is a war for Freedom)
  • Authorities are forced to allow the speech to be broadcasted and in deep into the night Bangabandhu’s speech is decided to be aired.

Source: Freedom in the Air 

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