11.1 POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT IN PAKISTAN. TOO EARLY TO MAKE CORRECT ASSESSMENT OF THE POLITICAL SITUATION

 

Public Record Office

 

REF: FCO 37/467

 

                                                                                                                      British High Commission,
                                                                                                                                 Rawalpindi.

 

1/49                                                                                                                      29 January,1969

 

Sir John Johnston, K.C.M.G.,

F.C.O.

London, S.W. 1.

 

Dear Johnston,

I realise of course that in your present mood in Whitehall you would not wish us to spend very much time on political reporting about events in this part of the world. In any case I doubt whether you would get a very balanced picture if we send on to you some of the details about the alarms and excursions which are occurring in the main cities. We shall continue to report the more serious but we do not propose to send daily bulletins.

     2. 1 do not think myself that the time has yet come for me to attempt a re­assessment of the present situation. The situation is fluid and until we know a little more about how the President's views are developing it is very difficult to assess developments over the next few months.

     3. I notice, however, that both on the B.B.C. and in British newspapers there are continual reports about the disturbances here. Certainly Roy Fox has had a fairly bad time in Dacca, but outside Dacca life is remarkably normal. In Rawalpindi, at least other than an occasional diversion of our motor cars to longer but safer routes we see very little of the excitement which appears so lurid on the lips of the B.B.C. announcer or from the pen of reporters in this part of the world.

     4. In brief, we have a fascinating but changing situation in which there is neither need for flap, apprehension nor yet particular perturbation.

     5. A great deal depends on the assessment of the reaction of individual key people and in particular the President. We may know a little more after the President's "First of the Month" broadcast on Saturday. Frankly it is extremely difficult to make that assessment, not least because they have not made up their minds themselves. When I feel we can say something coherent and useful I shall say it.

 

Your's ever

 

(C.S. Pickard)

 

 

Source: The British Papers – Secret and Confidential India.Pakistan.Bangladesh Documents 1959-1969, Oxford University Press. P. 770