MINORITY GROUPS BACK AWAMI LEAGUE'S FOUR-POINT DEMAND-PLEA FOR INTERIM
GOVERNMENTS AT CENTRE AND PROVINCES
REPORT OF THE MEETING
BY MINORITY GROUPS IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Delegation to see President Yahya and Sheik Mujib
The minority groups in the National Assembly at a meeting held here today
accepted in principle, the four-point demand of Awami League Chief, Sheikh Mujibur
Rahman, and demanded that interim governments should be set up at the Centre and in the Provinces before the commencement of the Assembly Session on March 25.
The meeting which was convened and presided over by Maulana Mufti Mahmud, leader of the Jamiatul Ulema-i-Islam Parliamentary Party, was attended among others by Council League leaders, Mian Mumtaz Daultana and Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan, Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani of Jamiatul Ulema-i-Pakistan, Prof. Abdul Ghafoor of Jamaat-i-Islami, Mr. Jamal Mohammad Koreja of the Convention League, and Independent MNAs, Maulana Zafar Ahmad Ansari and Sardar Maula Bux Soomro.
The Wali Khan NAP was not represented at the meeting but the Convener, Maulana Mufti Mahmud claimed that the decisions of the conference enjoyed their backing. Qayyum Muslim League was the only minority party, which was conspicuous by its absence.
Delegation to see Yahya
The meeting decided that a delegation, headed by Mufti Mahmud, should at the earliest possible time call on President Yahya to discuss the mechanics of transfer of power.
The delegation would also meet Sheikh Mujib in the same connection.
The meeting felt that the two demands of
Sheikh Mujib, namely withdrawal of military to their barracks and judicial
enquiry into the firings in
But in the altered circumstances and in view of the gravity of the developments, a speedier process of bringing this about, as suggested by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, must be effectively considered, the meeting felt.
May see Bhutto also
Asked if the meeting itself discussed some mechanics for the withdrawal of Martial Law and transfer of power. Mufti Mahmud said a number of proposals were considered at the meeting but he would announce only that which would be agreed upon by the President and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Replying to a question, Mufti Mahmud said the delegation would also meet the People's Party Chairman, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto if needed. In fact, he added, the question of the withdrawal of Martial Law and transfer of power was to be decided by the Government and the majority party.
Mufti Mahmud also gave a written statement
to the Press which said: "In the present crisis which threatens the very
"There can be no
"No constitutional crisis, as such,
"Compromises insisted upon and arrived at outside the floor of the house and concealed from the scrutiny and vigilance of the people, can have no relevance to constitutional settlement, although they may have to arrangements for sharing power. '
"The disturbing developments of the
past fortnight have been tragic. They may have given rise to apprehensions and
suspicions that undemocratic manipulations may be on foot to negate the
verdict of the people, to obstruct the process of transfer of power to the
people, and to deprive the majority party its weight and effectiveness. We, the
representatives of the political parties and MNAs of West Pakistan assembled in
this meeting wish to announce without reserve, that if there is ever such a
manipulation, we will stand resolutely by the side of our brothers from
"We, however, feel that a great part
of the present crisis is due to misunderstandings. We feel that the immediate
step that must be taken is for the President of
"In spite of the disastrous gravity of the situation in East Pakistan, of the tremendous heat and pressure generated there and the scope thus given to disruptive forces, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has shown his stature and his firm commitment to the solidarity of Pakistan, by putting in the present crisis four demands that are not in the least parochial or regional, but exclusively based on a national approach.
"We are of the convinced opinion that
the Awami League's demand about judicial enquiry into the firings in
Request to President
"So that we can effectively convey
the solidarity of the people of West Pakistan with their brothers and
fellow-citizens in East Pakistan, as well as express our deepest concern about
the urgency of immediately resolving the present crisis and discuss our views
with respect to the ways and means of doing so, we request the President of
Pakistan to grant an immediate interview to a delegation of the parties and
MNAs represented in this meeting. For the same purpose we propose that a
similar delegation should, proceed to
"We call upon the people of West
Pakistan to express, by all democratic means, their commitment to the integral
"At the same time, we know that the leaders of East Pakistan will continue to inculcate, as they have done already, a spirit of restraint and moderation and show as Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has done in his statements, their attachment to the indivisible unity and solidarity of Pakistan."
(THE DAWN, Karachi-March 14, 1971)