1947-1958 History of Bangladesh Bangladesh 1971-1990

East Pakistan, 1958-1971

Political History . In the frequent Indo-Palistani Wars (1948, 1965) East Bengal suffered, as the country possesses few natural defenses and as its location prevented Pakistan's army from effectively defending it.
When the (Bengali) Awami League secured a majority of seats in Pakistan's National Assembly in 1958, the military staged a coup d'etat and established dictatorship, banning political parties (a camouflage democracy was established).
Economical dissatisfaction caused riots in 1968 and 1969; the Awami League gained in strength. In the 1970 elections they swept the seats in East Pakistan und thus technically held the majority in Pakistan's parliament. Pakistan's president, fearing a constitutional crisis, postponed the convocation of parliament repeatedly.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, leader of the Awami League was arrested. Protests in East Bengal escalated; Civil War erupted on March 25th 1971. On March 26th, the Awami League proclaimed independence. Pakistani security forces acted violently, causing a mass exodus of refugees into India and triggering the Third Indo-Pakistani War. At the end of it, the independence of Bangladesh was an established fact.

The Economy . Within Pakistan, East Pakistan first provided the larger share of the revenue; but with the decline of Jute exports and prices after 1960, East Pakistan became the poorer part. It received some subsidies from the central government.
The economy of East Bengal, to a large extent, was controlled by West Pakistanis (from Punjab etc.); they preferred to employ Urdu speaking Biharis (i.e. refugees from Bihar) over local Bengalis; the Bengalis thus felt discriminated against in their own country. The population of East Pakistan grew from 48 million in 1958 to 69 million in 1971.

Library of Congress, Country Studies : Bangladesh
Article Bangladesh Awami League, from Wikipedia
Article History of Bangladesh, from Wikipedia
Article Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, from Wikipedia
Article East Pakistan, from Wikipedia
CASCON Case BAN : Bangladesh 1971, by L.P. Bloomfield, L. Moulton
DOCUMENTS Historical Population Statistics : Bangladesh, from Bangladesh
REFERENCE Article Pakistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1963 pp. 628-629 (on events of 1962) [G]
Article Pakistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1964 pp. 639-640 (on events of 1963) [G]
Article Pakistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1965 pp. 611-613 (on events of 1964) [G]
Article Pakistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1966 pp. 595-596 (on events of 1965) [G]
Article Pakistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1968 pp. 602-604 (on events of 1967) [G]
Article Pakistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1969 pp. 583-584 (on events of 1968) [G]
Article Pakistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1970 pp. 593-594 (on events of 1969) [G]
Article : East Pakistan, in : The Statesman's Year-Book 1970-1971 p. 398 (data of 1969-1970) [G]
Article : East Pakistan. Century's Worst Disaster takes Staggering Toll, in : Americana Annual 1971 pp.64-65 (on events of 1970) [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on November 10th 2006

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