MARCH 18, 1971: So-called talks enter third day | Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 18, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:10 AM, March 18, 2019

MARCH 18, 1971: So-called talks enter third day

The so-called negotiation, which will later be proved as a ploy of the Pakistan military junta to kill time for military buildup in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, rolled into third day.

Following the previous day's meeting between General Yahya Khan and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and their advisers, the Pakistan president ordered the army to make preparation for action against the Awami League leadership.

He gave a green signal to General Tikka Khan for the operation. Tikka Khan, infamous as the Butcher of Baluchistan for his murderous operations against Baluch tribal in the early 1960s, authorised General Khadim Hussain Raja and General Rao Farman Ali to work out the details of the planned operation, which later came to be known as Operation Search Light.

And they started their preparations for the operation successfully with the people in East Pakistan still in the dark about what is going on in the name of talks.

Although the talks between the military regime and the Awami League continued, very few were convinced about any positive outcome from the meetings. They rather demanded that Bangabandhu declare independence of Bangladesh immediately.

On this day, Sheikh Mujib declines to accept the probe body set up by the Martial Law Administrator Zone B, Tikka Khan, “to go into the circumstances which led to the calling of the army in aid of civil power in various parts of East Pakistan between March 2 and March 9″.

Bangabandhu clearly felt that an inquiry by the army itself would not be fair and as such the people would not accept such a commission.

Sheikh Mujib, rather, sent an Awami League delegation that included Captain Mansur Ali to make an on-the-spot enquiry into the recent shootings and other incidents there.

[Sources: The Daily Star archive and Bangladesh Genocide Archive]

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