Road to Bangladesh 1971

Thursday, December 14th, 2017




7 December: The general elections result in an outright victory for the Awami League. It ends up winning 167 out of 313 seats at the National Assembly election in Pakistan.


The Pakistan People’s Party emerges as the second largest party with 88 seats.




1 March: General Yahya Khan postpones National Assembly meeting. Protests erupt in East Pakistan as Mujib launches a non-violent non-cooperation movement.


7 March: At a massive public rally in Dhaka, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman tells Bengalis: ‘The struggle this time is the struggle for emancipation. The struggle this time is for independence.’


25 March: The Pakistan army launches Operation Searchlight in East Pakistan and goes into a spree of killing at Dhaka University, the headquarters of the East Pakistan Rifles and the Rajarbagh police lines.


26 March: Minutes after midnight, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declares the independence of Bangladesh. Sometime later, he is arrested by the Pakistan army and taken to Dhaka cantonment, whence he will be flown to West Pakistan a few days later. A day later, Major Ziaur Rahman announces the independence of Bangladesh from Kalurghat radio station in Chittagong on behalf of Bangabandhu.


17 April: The Bangladesh Provisional Government, comprising Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam, Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed and ministers A.H.M Quamruzzaman, M. Mansur Ali and Khondokar Moshtaque Ahmed, is formed in Meherpur, Chuadanga. The spot becomes known as Mujibnagar. Col. Ataul Gani Osmany is appointed chief of the liberation forces. Professor Yusuf Ali reads out the Proclamation of Independence.


May — December: Bangladesh government sets up Mukti Bahini, divides the country into eleven sectors and wages guerrilla warfare against the Pakistan occupation army.


11 August: Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is put on secret trial before a military court in Pakistan. He is accused of waging war against Pakistan. He will be sentenced to death in November of the same year by the military court.


3 December: War breaks out between India and Pakistan. Over the next couple of weeks, Indian and Bangladesh forces form a joint military command, landing devastating blows on the Pakistan military in occupied Bangladesh.


13-14 December: Local collaborators of the Pakistan occupation army, the Al-Badr and Al-Shams Razakars, pick up leading Bengali intellectuals even as Pakistan is collapsing in Bangladesh and torture them to death at various points in Dhaka. Their bodies are then dumped on the brickfields of Rayerbazar, where there is a memorial today.


16 December: 93,000 Pakistani military officers and jawans surrender to the Indo-Bangladesh Joint Command at the Race Course in Dhaka. Pakistan’s military commander Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi signs the instrument of surrender, after which his men become prisoners of war.


Nine months and three million Bengali deaths later, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is born.




8 January: The Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, is released by the new government of Pakistan, lead by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He flies to London.


10 January: Bangabandhu returns home and is welcomed by millions of people.

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