Cascon Case BAN: Bangladesh 1971

Bangladesh_sm99.jpg (122417 bytes)

Status Quo Side: Pakistan

Non-Status Quo Side: Bangladesh

Region: South Asia & SW Asia

Conflict Type: Interstate

Issues in Dispute: Ethnic, Independence

Phase 1: 1949

[See INP] East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) became part of Pakistan at independence in 1947. Resentful of West Pakistan's domination, the separatist Awami League formed in 1949. A United Front coalition of 5 discordant parties (including the Awami League) defeated the ruling West Pakistani Muslim League in 1954. Economic stagnation in East Pakistan accentuated cultural and linguistic rifts. In 1966 Awami leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman sought increased autonomy. His arrest helped coalesce Bengali opinion when Pakistani President Ayub Khan was forced out in 1969. Ayub's successor Yahya Khan called for elections.

Phase 2: 5/1970

The Awami League swept East Pakistan, and won a bare majority in the national assembly as well. The West Pakistan leadership was unwilling to accept Mujib as Prime Minister and the assembly never met. Martial law was declared March 1971. Mujib ordered a general strike. Yahya responded with West Pakistan troops. Civil disturbances increased in violence. Mujib was arrested again. On March 26 1971 the Awami League declared independence, and formed a government in exile in India.

Phase 3: 3/26/1971

Civil war ensued, with about a million Bengalis killed. Millions of refugees poured into India. India declared war on Pakistan on December 3.

Phase 4: 12/16/1971

The defeat of Pakistan permitted the creation of Bangladesh.

Phase 5: 1/8/1972

Mujib was freed, and took office. The United Front coalition dissolved and resultant rifts led to a series of coups and military rule.

Settled: 2/22/1974

Pakistan formally recognized Bangladesh's independence.

Cascon Home Copyright 1999 Lincoln P. Bloomfield and Allen Moulton