Thant for political solution
September 19, 1971
BANGLADESH ISSUE DISCUSSED AT THE UN
The UN Secretary General U Thant affirmed that the basic problem in East Pakistan could be solved only "if a political solution based on reconciliation and the respect of humanitarian principles was achieved."
"The crux of the matter is that international and government efforts in East Pakistan," he added, "are increasingly hampered by the lack of substantial progress towards a political reconciliation and the consequent effect on law and order and public administration in the region."
U Thant made these observations today in the Secretary General's report on the work of the UN. U Thant listed Bangladesh among the current issues facing the world. He noted that President Yahya Khan's appeal to the refugees to return had no effect. He said that in a disaster of such vast proportions the international community "has a clear obligation to help the government and the people concerned in every possible way."
He foresaw serious food shortage and even famine in East Pakistan. These could soon add to the suffering of the population unless conditions could be improved to the point where a large-scale relief programme could be effective, he said.
ON THE WAR FRONT
At Baliadanga, Satkhira, 62 freedom fighters fought valiantly against a large Pakistani army of 1200 men. Seventeen freedom fighters embraced martyrdom during this operation.
In the Mymensingh-Sylhet sector, Mukti Bahini exchanged fires with Pak troops in Manipur and Lakhipur areas. Three Pak soldiers were killed. On the same day, Mukti Bahini successfully repulsed a Pak attack in Berigaon and Badiptek in Sylhet. Five Pak troops were killed in this action. Another group of Mukti Bahini made a raid in Baraganj area killing four enemy troops.
In the Rangpur-Dinajpur-Rajshahi sector, Mukti Bahini exchanged fires with Pak troops in Chakramari area in Rajshahi district killing five Pak soldiers. On the same day, in another clash with the enemy troops in Baolia area, Mukti Bahini killed six enemy soldiers. In Khandakhan area, Mukti Bahini encountered with enemy troops, and three enemy soldiers were injured in this action.
YAHYA'S NEW TIME-TABLE FOR POWER TRANSFER
Yahya Khan announced a new time-table for transferring power to elected civilians. He said, "after careful thought and detailed consultations with political leaders I have come to the conclusion that the Constitution which will be prepared by a committee of my officials should be presented to the National Assembly. Once the Assembly meets in its full strength that is to say when by-elections have been held the assembly shall discuss the Constitution." That meant by-elections would be held for vacant seats in the National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly from East Pakistan.
According to the new time-table, polls would be taken for elections to the two Assemblies simultaneously commencing from December 12, 1971, and would be conducted by December 23, 1971.
Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at email@example.com