Bangalee diplomats in US opt for Bangladesh
August 4, 1971
14 BANGALEE DIPLOMATS QUIT MISSIONS IN US
Fourteen Pakistani diplomats -- all of Bengalee origin -- resigned today from their embassy in the US or from the mission to the United Nations in protest of what they called "crimes against humanity" in East Pakistan by the government of Pakistan President Yahya Khan.
The group of 14 diplomats was headed by SA Karim, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN.
"This is our moment of decision," said Karim. "We have decided to join the suffering millions of Bangladesh who are resisting with their lives the barbarity of the West Pakistan Army who are determined to reduce East Bengal to a colony."
AMA Muhith, economic counselor of the Pakistani embassy and a leader of the group, said at a news conference at the National Press Club that he and his colleagues felt they could no longer remain silent while the Pakistani government "violates elementary norms of civilised conduct and commits crimes against humanity".
On receipt of the information, Khandaker Moshtaque Ahmed, Bangladesh foreign minister, conveyed his warm congratulations to the defecting diplomats. "The mass transfer of allegiance to Bangladesh by Bengali diplomats is another clarion call to all others at home and abroad who may still be in the employ of the Government of Pakistan to sever their connections and pledge themselves to save the lives and honour of their own country and compatriots," said Moshtaque.
A spokesman for the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service said some of the diplomats who resigned had applied for permission to remain in the country under political asylum.
BANGABANDHU'S FATE WORRIES INDIA
Indian Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram expressed in the Lok Sabha today the government's concern at the reported statement of General Yahya Khan of Pakistan about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman whom the minister described as the "uncrowned leader of Bangladesh". He said his government had approached various governments to exercise pressure on the Government of Pakistan so that no harm was done to Bangabandhu.
BHUTTO URGES COMPROMISE
WITH AL, BANGABANDHU
BBC reported today that Pakistan People's Party leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had urged Pakistani rulers to negotiate a compromise formula with the Awami League and its leader Bangabandhu to meet the country's present crisis.
According to the report, Bhutto in his interview with an Iranian Newspaper had said the army could not solve the present problem in East Bengal and civilians' rule should therefore be established as early as possible. He had also expressed the fear that by-elections, proposed to be held under martial law, would not be fair.
NOEL BAKER SUPPORTS BANGLADESH
Philip Noel Baker, a Nobel laureate for peace and a former secretary in the Atlee Government which was responsible for the transfer of power in India and the creation of Pakistan, came out in support of Bangladesh against Pakistan in an outspoken letter in the Times today. His denunciation of Pakistan was all the more significant as Noel Baker had all along been a supporter of Pakistan and sided with them on the Kashmir issue.
Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org