Source 4

West Pakistan did not accept the 1970 election results (in which the Awami League, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won), leading to escalating protests in East Pakistan. On 7 March 1971, Sheikh Mujibur held a speech, reported on in source 4.


Pakistan situation report from the British government – up to 0930 hours on 8 March 1971. Catalogue ref: PREM 15/567






(Up to 0930 hours on 8 March)


We now have a fuller account of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s speech in Dacca on 7 March. We still do not have a text. But it is clear that Mujib has set 5 conditions for his participation in the Assembly Meeting proposed by President Yahya Khan for 25 March. The conditions are:


  1. Withdrawal of all troops to barracks
  2. No further firing on civilians’
  3. No further military reinforcement from West Pakistan;
  4. No military interference in the working of Bangla Desh Government;
  5. Maintenance of law and order to be left exclusively to the Police and Bengali Rifles (East Pakistanis) (A press report mentions also assistance by Awami League Volunteers).
  6. Mujib also named an enquiry into “murders” committed in the past week by the military forces. He said his immediate goal was termination of marshall law [military rule] and the transfer of power to elected representatives. Meanwhile the non-violent, non-co-operation movement must continue. In the coming week this would entail:
  7. No payment of taxes
  8. Government offices and Courts to remain closed
  9. Rail and port workers to cease work if they are used for mobilising forces of repression
  10. Bengali “radio television, newspapers” not to co-operate in suppressing news of People’s Movement
  11. Telephone to work only for calls within East Pakistan
  12. Banks to make no remittances within West Pakistan
  13. All buildings to hoist black flags daily and
  14. Further Hartal to be declared at any moment depending on the situation
  15. Liberation Committees to be formed in every village under local Awami League leaders.


« Return to The Independence of Bangladesh in 1971
  • Look at a video of this speech. What is the atmosphere like when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is giving the speech? How do you think the crowd is feeling?
  • Why do you think Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has made the demands listed here?
  • What is the tone of this report? How does it compare to the tone of the actual speech in the video?
  • This speech is still played on many streets and national events in Bangladesh. Why do you think it resonated with so many Bengalis?