Though separation of East Pakistan occurred in 1971, the separation’s elements had begun to work with the emergence of Pakistan in 1947. Following were the main causes of the separation of East Pakistan.
1. Hindu Influence
The 14% Hindu population had full control over the economy of East Pakistan. They were better educated than the native Bengali Muslims. They owned press and mass media. At First, the Hindus were the members of the Indian National Congress but after partition they founded their own organization, Pakistan National Congress (PAC). The members of PAC were, in fact, the political agents ofIndia in East Pakistan.
2. Failure of Muslim League leadership in East Pakistan
The Cabinet did not pay due attention towards the problems of the people, hence its capability became zero in the eyes of people. The selfish politicians fought among themselves for the lust of chair.
The principal leaders and groups representing East Bengal in the Muslim League came from upper-class, land-owning, Urdu speaking families of Dhaka or the mercantile group of Calcutta. Soon after the creation of Pakistan, the conflict between those who claimed to represent popular and more radical factors in Bengal and those more conservative elements, began.
3. The Conflict over Language
The Bengalis took processions in favour of their Bengali language even in the life time of Quaid-e-Azam. Although, Bengali was adopted as one of the two state languages, Governor Munim Khan banned the broad cast of Tagots songs or poems over Dhaka Radio and prevented the imports of the Bengali books from Calcutta.
4. Unity of Bengali Muslims and Hindus
To establish majority on Pak-legislature, they had to unite with their fellow Bengali Hindus. Therefore, the man like H.S. Sehrwardy was a consistent advocate of joint electorates.
5. The Delay in Constitution Making Process
The delay in Constitution making process gave rise to suspicions and misunderstandings between the people of two halves. The population of East Pakistan was 56%. The Bengalis demanded their representation according to the percentage of population in the national assembly.
6. Presidential Form of Government
A parliamentary system could have at least partially offset West Pakistan dominance in the civil and military services. Again the same mistake was made. Instead of opting for loose Confederate Form of Government, the power elite decided in favour of highly centralized presidential system. The opposition from East Pakistan was intense and un-equivocal for progressive increase in the amount of autonomy.
7. Six Point Formula of Sh. Mujeeb
The Awami League view was supported by 75% of the electorate in East Pakistan who voted in the elections in 1970.
Pakistan shall be Federation grooming full autonomy on the basis of 6 Points to each of Federating units.
i. The character of Government shall be Federal and Parliamentary. The representation in the Federal legislature shall be on the basis of population.
ii. The Federal Government shall be responsible only for Defence and Foreign Affairs.
iii. There shall be two separate currencies mutually or freely convertible in each wing for each region.
iv. Fiscal Policy shall be the responsibility of the Federating units.
v. Separate accounts of foreign exchange earning of each of the federating units.
vi. The units shall be empowered to maintain a Para-military fore in order to contribute towards national security.
These were interpreted by West Pakistan as designed to bring about the disintegration of the country.
8. Role of Ruling Elite
1) Civil Service
2) Military Hierarchy
Their clear ascendancy as a ruling group had long been established, particularly since military coup of Ayub in 1958.
· This group made all major decisions in terms of economic and defence policies.
· East Pakistan bitterly complained that there were few East Pakistani officers at highest posts of the civil service. Until 1969 all the higher officers were from West Pakistan or had emigrated from Muslim minority areas of India.
· Pakistan Army was recruited from 4 districts of Northern Punjab (Rawalpindi, Cambellpur, Jehlum and Gujrat ) and two districts of NWFP (Peshawar and Kohat). 60% Army consisted of Punjabi and 35% Pakhtoon Jawans.
· The Bengalis were still considered non-martial race.
· Separation between Ruling elite from the majority of population.
Pakistan bureaucratic and military elite were not only separated from the majority of their population who lived in East Pakistan, but they were also separated in both social and regional terms even from the people of regions like Sindh, Balochistan and Frontier.
9. Economic Disparity Between East and West Pakistan
· The West Pakistan elite favoured the policies of economic growth of the West Pakistan.
· The policy of industrialization through the encouragement of private sector dates back to 1948.
· Most of lucrative import licences were given to the West Pakistan.
· Share of East Pakistan was about 26% of total investment (Public and Private) during the First Five Years Plan (1955-1960). Total revenue expenditure in East Pakistan was 2.5 billion as compared to 8.9 billion in West Pakistan.
· The wave of resentment against this disparity had been rising since 1954 elections. But no drastic and significant change was made in policies. This resulted into bitter-opposition and resentment towards the central government.
· The major factor responsible for slower growth of East Pakistan was agriculture.
· Doctrine that economic inequalities were necessary for rapid economic growth of the country.
· 22 families controlled over the economy of the entire country.
· 66% Native industrial assets.
· 80% banking assets.
· 79% Insurance assets.
· Political system of Pakistan could not cope with the stresses and strains generated by native economic policies and so eventually broke down.
10. The Failure in the Enforcement of Legal Framework Order of 1970.
· This order was drawn up to provide a basis for the elections for the creation of National and Provincial assemblies and for the drafting of a constitution.
· National Assembly had to complete the task of framing a constitution within 120 days.
· After the original failure of the NA to meet in spring of 1971, modifications were introduced into LFO, relieving the assembly of the responsibility of framing a constitution but conferring powers to amend constitution.
· General Yahya Khan failed to enforce legal frame work order, and the result was the political unrest between the 2 parts of the country.
11. The War of Power Between Bhutto and Mujeeb
The Awami League, by virtue of its over-whelming majority in election, was entitled to establish its government, but Mr. Z.A. Bhutto having the patronage from General Yahya Khan boycotted the session of National Assembly at Dhaka, which was postponed by General Yahya Khan. Mr. Mujeeb-ur-Rehman alleged Yahya Khan with partiality and began to agitate the people for civil war.
12. Military Operation in East Pakistan
· Mr. Mujeeb refused to go to Islamabad.
· His home became centre of all policies and administrative affairs of East Pakistan.
· On March 23, 1971, a lot of West Pakistanis were massacred and Bangladesh Flag was hoisted instead of Pakistani Flag. The Pakistan Day was celebrated as the Resistance Day.
· General Tikka Khan was made the Governor of East Pakistan. He successfully crushed the anti-government elements, but could not manage the affairs properly due to the non-cooperation of Bengali bureaucracy who were responsible for the revolt.
· The military operation brought inexpressible miseries and sufferings to the Bengalis. The result was that Central Government deprived herself of the public support and sympathies.
13. Hijacking of Indian Plan to Lahore on Jan 30, 1971
· Hijacking if the aircraft Ganga was arranged by the Indian Intelligence Agencies as the culmination of a series of actions taken by the Indian Government.
· Incident occurred at a time when talks were in progress between the leaders of Awami League and PPP for the resolution of differences.
· India banned Pakistani flights over its territory to disrupt communications between two halves and strengthened the separatist tendencies.
14. The Intrigues of the Super-Powers
Pakistan was an intimate friend of China but the super powers like America and Russia wanted to terrorize China by surrounding it on all sides. This was not possible in case of united Pakistan. TheUSA not only encouraged Israel, provided arms to India but also forbade Saudi Arabia and Jordan to supply arms to Pakistan. The USA did not care for the defence treaty of 1959 (SENTO), by whichAmerica was bound to help Pakistan in case of foreign aggression.
15. Indra Gandhi’s Successful Tour of Europe and USA
Before military invasion, Mrs. Indra Gandhi, the then Prime Minister if India, toured Europe and America, got aid for the rehabilitation of refugees from East Pakistan and surety from US not to aid Pakistan in case of Indian invasion. She further tarnished the image of military dictatorship of Pakistan by doing propaganda against it.
16. Military Invasion of India
After winning political battle, the Indian Government began to send sabotagers into East Pakistan under the title of Mukti Bahni. The insurgents created a situation favourable to the Indian invasion. Pakistan Army fought gallantly but due to poor supply line, Pakistan Army had to surrender.
17. Misbehaviour of Pakistani Delegation at UN
Poland presented a resolution in UN for the cease-fire but it was torn into pieces by Mr. Zulifqar Ali Bhutto, and he refused to accept cease-fire proposal. This paved the way for the separation of East Pakistan.
When military action was being taken out in East Pakistan, the leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party demanded that the power should be transferred to the elected representatives in the Western Wing. This demand was repeated time and again, but the military leadership did not accept it. However, the fall of East Pakistan accounted for President Yahya Khan’s ouster and before that he transferred power to the Pakistan Peoples Party. The military junta might have acted otherwise but country-wide demonstrations left no other choice.
General public in Pakistan accused the Generals of causing the dismemberment of the country. Therefore, PPP came out as the custodian of the democratic process. As a result of public demands, some 43 high military officers were sacked.
In March 1972, General Gul Hamid, the Chief of the Army Staff and Air Marshal Rahim Khan, Chief of the Air Staff were removed. Main accusation against them was that they interfered the Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission inquiring into the Fall of Dhaka.
The PPP Government introduced a number of reforms including educational reforms. During PPP rule, Simla Agreement (1972) was signed between India and Pakistan which on one hand settled the issue of POW’s and occupied territories and on the other hand, it helped normalizing India-Pakistan relations. But the greatest of all, the achievements of the first PPP Government was the framing of 1973 Constitution; the First Constitution which enjoyed popular appraisal.