October 25, 1972
Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has told two Pakistani journalists who met him recently in Dhaka that Pakistan is hindering progress towards solution to the humanitarian as well as political problems in the sub-continent by deferring recognition of Bangladesh. In written replies to a set of questions submitted by the Pakistani journalists, the prime minister said, “Pakistan should seize the historic opportunity for the settlement of outstanding problems for the well-being of the people of this subcontinent.” The interviewers were Mazher Ali Khan, acting chief editor, Karachi Dawn and Syed Naziullah, a columnist of the same paper.
Bangabandhu told the Pakistani journalists that Pakistan has “quite unnecessarily and illegally injected bilateral problems into the deliberation of the United Nation in its attempt to block Bangladesh’s admission.” He also said, “Pakistan is vitiating the climate by its inhuman treatment of Bangalis and forcibly preventing them from returning to their homeland. The climate is also vitiated by the propaganda campaign which is being launched with regards to the political and economic situation in Bangladesh.”
Pointing out the quick economic recovery that Bangladesh is making form a state of total devastation and also the political progress that the country was making by adopting a constitution soon and holding an election, the prime minister added, “While were are thus promoting the welfare of our people, we have also brought an equally constructive approach to the solution of the problems of the sub-continent. He asked the Pakistani journalists to apprise the people of their country with the reality so that some of them may “stop living with illusions”.
The Pakistani journalists thought that it was a procedural wrangle which was holding back the settlement and asked if this “procedural wrangle was removed what would be the relationship of Pakistan and Bangladesh?” The prime minister in his reply said, “this is here I differ with you. There is no procedural wrangle. There is the simple question of accepting that meaningful negotiations can only be held on the basis of sovereign equality.”
Continuing, Bangabandhu said, “Once negotiation starts there is no reason why we cannot settle all our problems and eventually move towards the establishment of friendly relations to the benefit of all the people of the sub-continent.”
SOURCES: October 26, 1972 issues of Bangladesh Observer, Dainik Bangla and Dainik Ittefaq.