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October 24, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-10-24

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Number 50 Night Editor: Geri Sprungc

Sunday, October 24, 1971

Bang desh:





EDITOR'S NOTE: The author, a
graduate student in political science, is
president of the Ann Arbor Bangladesh
Association and serves on the executive
committee of the national Bangladesh
Defense League.
IN SOME PARTS of Africa, there is
a saying that "things done with-
out you are done against you." East
Pakistanis would undoubtedly agree.
While composing about 55 per cent
of the total population of Pakistan,
the Bengalis have participated little
in their country's political decision-
making or its economic prosperity, al-
though they have earned more than
50 per cent of the total foreign ex-
change earnings of Pakistan since
1947 - the date Pakistan became in-
dependent from Great Britain.
At that time, the fusion of 60 mil-
lion Muslims of East Bengal (Bangla-
desh) with about 30 million Muslims
of northwestern India (what is now
West Pakistan) was heralded as a new
experiment - governing a nation di-
vided into two parts, and widely sep-
arated geographically. Now, 24 years

were the instruments of industrial
and commercial progress, the wealthy
Muslim migrants from all over India
went to Karachi with their capital.
Only a few went to East Pakistan,
which was far ,removed from the seat
of patronage. Only those whose for-
tune was tied up in the jute trade
went to East Pakistan.
Economically, both East and West
Pakistan were poor; which was poor-
er is dificult to establish. On t h e
whole, perhaps West Pakistan was
better off, with much less population
pressure. .In development potential,
East Pakistan offered greater promise
for agricultural development because
its alluvial soil could give better
yields, whereas water scarcity was a
hurdle to West Pakistan's agricul-
tural progress.
And some Indian Muslim entrepre-
neurs apparently realized this early.
For in 1947, they came into East Pak-
istan with hopes of extracting profit
from the land, and raw materials

cated earlier, Bengali participation
had been marginal in the national
power elite structure ever since Pak-
istan's inception. A number of histori-
cal factors led to nominal Bengali re-
presentation in the civil-military bur-
eaucrtic elite and entrepreneurial
Only in the political elite, Bengali
representation was substantial, and
the Bengalis hoped to gain economic
redress and equal representation in
other sectors by dominating politics.
The military coup, however, swept
away the political elite and brought
the civil-military bureaucracy to the
The elimination of the political elite
from the national power elite meant
that Bengalis had little representa-
tion in it. Bengali representation in
the higher civil services, even after
years of a quota system in recruit-
ment, remained less than 40 per cent.
As late as 1966, Bengali formed 34.1
per cent of the Civil Service of Paki-
stan (CSP) and among Class I offi-
cers' of the Central Secretariat they

ricultural sector by improving i t s
terms of trade. He made "parity" in
per capita regional income a consti-
tutional mandate and ushered in the
era of economic "liberalism". He
promised East Pakistan better treat-
ment than it had received from the
rulers of the earlier decade.
Ayub's first five-year plan, Paki-
stan's second, sought to maximize de-
velopment in the less developed parts
of the country without prejudicing
national development as a whole.
AYUB'S THIRD PLAN aimed at eli-
minating disparity by 5 per cent.
Public sector gross allocation for East
Pakistan was 53 per cent of total
public sector allocation. 50 per cent
of the total private sector investment
was the target for East Pakistan. Sub-
santial allocation outside the P 1 a n
was reserved for the Indus Basin Re-
placement works in West Pakistan.
Including this, tjal planned ex-
penditure for East Pakistan m u s t
have been lower than that for West
Pakistan. At the end of the first three
years of the Plan, only 22 per cent
of the total private investment i
Pakistan had taken place in the east.
ern region.
In spite of incentives like tax holi-
days and reduced import duty on
machinery, "the private sector in East
Pakistan had not responded ade-
quately to these incentives nor has a
favorable climate been created for the
flow of private capital to that region,"
according to the government plan-
ning commission.
But, considering the paucity of big
business in the east, and the absence
of central government to provide ini-
tial loans, it is only natural that pri-


Plan (1960-65), and about one-third
during the Third Plan (1965-70).
Discussions on the deal East Paki-
stan received from the Ayub regime
can be overwhelmed with statistics.
But the heart of the problems lies in
the fact that East Pakistan had little
say or choice in managing the af-
fairs. If with equal participation by
East Pakistan in the management of
the economy, East Pakistan had ach-

Statistics on Pakistan
Approximate Total Development Expenditures
(in millions dollars)


East C
540 26
1,940 31

West %
1,514 74
4,300 69

IN GENERAL, though the regime of
Ayub Khan adopted some respon-
sive policies toward East Pakistan,
these were far from adequate, a n d
failed to satisfy the Bengalis.
In a highly elitist regime, the Ben-
galis, have only nominal representa-
tion (roughly 30 per cent in the high-
er civil bureaucracy, 10 per cent in
the army, and 10 per cent in the en=-
trepreneurial class). This failure to
give representation to the Bengali
elite made mobilizational institution
building imperative, Ayub's inability
tp share power with his institutions
made them his hand maidens.
Ayub's economic and administrative
policies did accommodate some Ben-
gali demands. More attention W a s
paid to the East Wing's economic de-
velopment and greater efforts were
made fQr administrative decentrali-
zation. But the visible gains in both
were marginal; and the regime's pub-
licity about East Pakistan's progress
created a classic case of rising ex-
pectations and rising frustration of
the Bengalis.
Moreover, to the extent that Ayub's
economic policies succeeded, they led
to increased social mobilization. But
the new forces, generated as a result
of his economic policy, were denied
participation in the system.
It has been this mobilization that
has fueled the Bengali autonomy de-
mands of ShaikhMajibur Rahman -
the Bengali leader who was over-



Representation of East Pakistanis in the Armed Forces in 1963


later, it appears the partnership has
failed conclusively.
THE SETTING for the East-West
partnership was stacked against
the Bengalis to begin with - large-
ly as a result of the favored treat-
ment the British gave West Pakistan
for their unabiding loyalty to t h e
Politically, the .East Pakistan Mus-
lim League had a strong hold on peo-
ple, but in all Pakistan politics, it was
a minor partner, at least in leader-
ship, despite the fact that it repre-
sented the majority of the people.
Administratively, the relative back-
wardness of the Bengali Muslims was
clearly manifested by the fact that
almost the entire administration of
the central government, the admin-
istration of the provincial secretariat
and most of the divisional and dis-
trict headquarters of East Pakistan
lay in the hands of non-,East Pakis-
tanis. West Pakistan, on the other
hand, was fully administered by West
Karachi became the nation's capital
and the seat of decision-making ma-
chinery. Since licenses and permits

But their profit was not to remain
in East Pakistan - when they dis-
covered the seat of government was
located in Karachi, and that capital,
licenses and trained manpower offer-
ed far better prospects for industrial
commercial progress in the W e s t,
they transported the riches of East
Pakistan to Karachi's business con-
cerns, thereby robbing the Bengalis
of approximately $5 billion in po-
tential income.
THE ABOVE setting had its logical
consequence in the decade to fol-
low. West Pakistan experienced much
greater economic development where-
as East Pakistan stagnated. T h e
administration pursued a policy of
maximum economic growth for the
country - East Pakistan had only a
minor part in administering and de-
veloping the country. But the trag-
edy of Pakistan's development was
that in the setting of economic part-
nership the concept of the "country"
did not have the same connoation as
he concept of the "people".
With the Military Coup of 1958,
led by General Ayub Khan, the pow-
er elite structure in Pakistan under-
went further modification. As indi-

were less than 30 per cent. In the
military elite, in the absence of a
quota system in recruitment, Bengali
representation remained nearly as
poor as it had been in the 1950's. And,
of the 20 families who reportedly
benefited most from Ayub's economic
policies and monopolized the wealth
in the country, none were Bengali.
tional power elite under the Ayub
regime had hardly any visible Bengali
representation. This had a tremend-
ously negative effect on economic de-
velopment during the decade of
Ayub's rule.
As I have mentioned earlier, E a s t
Pakistan had little say or choice in
the affair of its economic develop-
ment. It had only one asset: its poli-
tical force. It exercised this force in
the election of 1954, and annihilated
the local collaborators of the central
power. But this asset was made com-
pletely ineffective by a change from
the system of democracy to something
called "basic" by President Ayub
In the 1960's, East Pakistan's poli-
tical force could not fully express it-
self in elections, but it could not be
contained for long. It expressed itself
violently in the winter of 1968/69 and
threatened the very foundation of the
country. President Ayub Khan, find-
ing no other alternative, quickly ab-
dicated by handing over the power
to General Yahya Khan - who was
responsible for the massacres, start-
ed last spring.
WITHIN TWO WEEKS after the mil-
itary takeover, Ayub visited East
Pakistan and promised that hence-
forth East Pakistan would no longer
he dominated hv West Pakistan. The

1. a. Army
b. Medical
2. Air Force

5% G





3. Navy

vate initiative in East Pakistan would
be at a poor level.
THE UNBALANCED resource allo-
cation between East and W e s t
Pakistan is also reflected in the dis-
tribution of foreign aid, which h a s
been one of the prime movers of Paki-
stan's economic growth in the 1960's.
Estimation of net inflow of external
resources to the regions is rendered
difficult by conceptual problems and
lack of appropriate statistics. How-
ever, an analysis of. the available data
indicates that East Pakistan's share
in the total net foreign resources was
also one quarter during the Second

ieved the same results it has, the
crisis of trust would not have develop-
It has often been argued that there
has been no deliberate policy of dis-
crimination against East Pakistan.
This may or may not be true; one
could doubt the validity of this as-
sertion because economists of East
Pakistan gave their opinions and re-
commendations in various discussions,
but the administration ignored them.
It appears that what the intellec-
tuals of East Pakistan failed for
many years to communicate, the up-
rising of the people in the country-
side in the winter of 1968/69 express-
ed quite convincingly.


whelmingly elected last year,


whose victory was never recognized
by the Khan regime.
And the mobilization among t h e
Bengalis, coupled with the govern-
ment's repressive policies, not only
created the present crisis, but p r o-
bably signals the end of Pakistan as
it now exists. For all practical p u r-
poses, Pakistan is buried under the
dead bodies of the Bengalis.




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