Inaugural speech on February 15, 1971, at a joint meeting of the National Assembly
and East Pakistan Assembly Members elected on Awami League tickets.


Sheikh Mujibur Rahman asserted in Dacca on Monday that the future Constitution of the country would be framed on the basis of Six-Points and gave a call to those who believed in democracy to accept the verdict of the majority. He also requested President Yahya to ensure early transfer of power.


The Awami League President was inaugurating a joint meeting of the National Assembly and East Pakistan Assembly Members elected on Awami League tickets at the Institute of Engineers.


Addressing the meeting Sheikh Mujibur Rahman expressed his hope that President Yahya who had so long fulfilled all his pledges to the nation would not listen to " conspirators " who, according to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, were trying to create internal and international problems and chaos and confusions in the country in order to nullify the result of the elections.


Sheikh Mujibur Rahman expressed his indignation at the fact that the Government had briefed six Ambassadors of foreign countries on international tension, but did not discuss it with the country's majority party which was going to take over the responsibility of running the country shortly. He thought that the Government should have talked with the majority in the matter.


Sheikh Mujibur Rahman alleged that a conspiracy was being hatched to delay the transfer of power and create various problems in the meantime so that when Awami League would come to power it would become unpopular.


Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said that the conspirators had forgotten that this was 1971 and not 1954 or 1952. He recalled that in 1968-69 when "we were in prison ", the workers and peasants of this country had brought down Ayub Regime. Now that " we are outside the prison," they should understand what could happen.


Happy over summoning of National Assembly


Referring to the summoning of the National Assembly Session Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said that they had been happy at this, because they would now be in a position to sit and discuss and pass the constitution. He asserted that only the elected representatives of the people had the right to frame the constitution. He said that none would be able to impose a constitution with the strength of a gun.


Sheikh Mujib called upon the members of the Provincial Assembly to mobilise public opinion in support of Six and Eleven Points in their respective constituencies when the National Assembly will deliberate on the draft constitution bill. He reminded the National and Provincial Assembly members that they had taken a public oath to fulfil the pledge made to the people.


People want food, shelter


He reminded the MNAs and MPAs that the people of Bangla Desh voted for them as they had a programme and principle. He said, "They voted for you since they want to live, they want food, shelter, cloth and medicine. They want to live like civilised men." He said that he demanded autonomy for achieving these very goals. He said that this autonomy was given a shape by Awami League in its Six Point Programme and by students in their Eleven Point programme.


Referring to his talks with various political leaders from West Pakistan he said " We want to talk to all."


About his talks with Mr. Bhutto " who came as representative of Punjab and Sind " Sheikh Mujib said, "He (Bhutto) was neither satisfied, nor dissatisfied at the talks. I was also neither satisfied, nor dissatisfied." Sheikh Mujib gave a call to Mr. Bhutto to accept the majority opinion.


Sheikh Mujibur Rahman wondered what was there to discuss on Six Points which were an old issue. He recalled the repressions that had been let loose by Ayub Regime to suppress the Six Point Movement and reminded that people gave a verdict in favour of Six Points in a "referendum."


Stating that Six Points were for all provinces of Pakistan, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said that since Awami League was the majority party in the whole country, it had a responsibility to save the common man in West Pakistan from exploitation.


Warning against bureaucrats


He alleged that some bureaucrats were conspiring to unite West Pakistan for bringing about a confrontation with East Pakistan. But these people did not know what politics was and would have been nowhere but for the guns, he observed.


Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was also bitter about a section of bureaucrats for their alleged collaboration with political leaders opposed to Awami League before the elections. He alleged that these bureaucrats had visited those leaders' houses with funds brought from Lahore and Karachi. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman alleged that some bureaucrats were still engaged in conspiracy " sitting on the soil of Bangla,"


At the outset of his speech Sheikh Mujibur Rahman remembered those who laid down their lives for the sake of the people including the martyrs of the Language Movement. He recalled that on this day two years ago Sergeant Zahurul Huq, a co-accused in the Agartala Conspiracy Case, was shot dead while in detention.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman announced at the meeting that the draft constitution being prepared by the party would be discussed in a meeting of the party MNAs to be held on February 27.


Mujib authorised to take any decision


The joint meeting of Awami League MNAs and MPAs which was also attended by Central and Provincial Working Committee members, by a resolution, bestowed upon Sheikh Mujibur Rahman absolute authority to decide any course of action for achieving the goals of the party.


The resolution was moved by East Pakistan Awami League Vice-President Syed Nazrul Islam. It was supported by Khandker Mushtaq Ahmed, another Vice-President of East Pakistan Awami League.


Socialist economy under democracy


Syed Nazrul Islam speaking at the meeting said that his party would introduce socialist economy under a democratic political system.


Syed Nazrul Islam said that his party got the mandate of the people in favour of six points and also for establishing a society free from all sorts of exploitations. He observed that in achieving the goals for a changed society many odds might come. " But we must overcome them," he added.


Democracy and one Pakistan


Khandker Mushtaq Ahmed speaking at the meeting said that his party believed in democracy and one Pakistan. Time has now come for those who had called Awami League secessionist to show that they themselves believed in democracy and one Pakistan, he added.


Criticising the delay in summoning the National Assembly and in transfer of power Khandker Mushtaq said that according to democratic principles the majority party used to form the government just after the announcement of the election results. In this regard he cited the example of Britain.


Khandker Mushtaq said that those who claimed themselves to be democrats must recognise if they were not hypocrats, that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the leader of the nation. He also maintained that the democratic camp in the world outside recognised Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the national leader of Pakistan.


Khandker Mushtaq Ahmed alleged that a section of bureaucrat's vested interests and " some invisible forces in the administration " were trying to create obstacle in the process of, transfer of power. He warned those conspirators that Awami League would resist those forces at all cost. Indirectly criticising Mr. Bhutto, Khandker Mushtaq said: " Some people forget the geographical realities of Pakistan and whisper to others. Leave it to me."


Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed, General Secretary, East Pakistan Awami League, while welcoming the MNAs and MPAs to the meeting, expressed his surprise at the fact that the summoning of the National Assembly took such a long time when the government itself wanted the constitution to be framed in only 120 days.


He said that Awami League was determined to continue relentless struggle till the demands were met. He said that the elected representatives of the people Would have to show that they were worthy of the trust the people had reposed in them. He expressed grave concern at the economic problems facing the people.


Mr. A. H. M. Qamruzzaman, General Secretary of All Pakistan Awami League, .also addressed the meeting.


(PAKISTAN OBSERVER-February 16, 1971)



Source: Bangladesh Documents, vol-I, p.152-155