Civil War Continues in East Pakistan
Civil war continued to rage in East Pakistan yesterday amidst reports that the West Pakistani army is using artillery and machine guns against unarmed East Pakistani civilians.
Sheik Mujibur Rahman, leader of the powerful East Pakistani Awami League, proclaimed independence Friday and called for East Pakistan to resist the central government.
The Sheik was reported captured by government troops Sunday, but the reports are conflicting and unclear.
Heavy fighting has been reported throughout East Pakistan between West Pakstani troops and East Pakistani police and civilians.
The East Pakistani capitol of Dacca was reported under firm government control Sunday, but fighting still raged in smaller cities and in the countryside.
President Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan imposed martial law and a 24-hour curfew over East Pakistan on Friday. He called the insurgents traitors and vowed to restore central government control over the area.
Casualties reports were conflicting, but one Indian press report said the death toll has reached 10,000.
The outbreak of civil war was preceded by increasing tension between the two Pakistans, which are separated by 1000 miles of Indian territory. East Pakistan, which contains 72 million of Pakistan's 130 million people, has long demanded greater autonomy from the West.
The East Pakistanis maintain that they are essentially a colony controlled by the central government in Karachi, West Pakistan. The army is 90 per cent West Pakistani and West Pakistan gets 70 per cent of the foreign aid the country receives.
Inequality between the two regions has been increasing since the country's founding in 1947, according to a February 1971 article in Trans-Action magazine. Per capita income in the East was 85 per cent that of the West in 1951. That figure dropped to 62 per cent in 1968.
Mchiuddin Alangir, a fourth year graduate student in Economies, announced the formation of the Bangla Desh Association on Friday. East Pakistan has been renamed Bangla Desh by the insurgents.
Alangir called for international support for the new nation. "We want the great powers and the United Nations to exert their influence to prevent genocide in East Pakistan," he said Friday, "West Pakistani troops are using machine guns on unarmed civilians."
Alangir also called for a focusing of international attention on the problems of Bangla Desh.