HT this day: January 9, 1972 – Mujib is free, flies to London | World news


Said Bangla Desh a reality

No commitment to Bhutto on links with Pak


LONDON – Sheikh Mujibur Rehman today proclaimed the Bangla Desh as “an indisputable reality” and called for global recognition and his country’s admission to the United Nations.

Sheikh Mujib, released by Pakistani President ZA Bhutto and airlifted to London early in the day, told a press conference that he had been held in a cell sentenced to death by hanging during his nine months of service. imprisonment in Pakistan.

Speaking in a vigorous voice and showing no signs of ill health, Bangapita, 51, said he had not promised Mr Bhutto that Bangla Desh would maintain a link with Pakistan.

Dozens of elated Bengalis gathered in front of the lavish Claridges Hotel as Sheikh Mujib held his press conference in the ballroom against the backdrop of ornate wall mirrors and the reflections of television lights.

First question

One of the first questions he was asked was, “Why did you come to London instead of flying to Dhaka?”

“I was a prisoner,” said the sheikh. “It was the will of the Pakistani government, not mine.”

The sheikh said the length of his stay had not yet been decided, but that he hoped to meet British Prime Minister Edward Heath before leaving.

Officials later announced that Sheikh Mujib would meet with Mr Heath in the evening.

The sheikh told reporters that Mr. Bhutto asked him to consider maintaining ties between Bangla Desh and Pakistan.

Merciless killings

“I told him that I couldn’t say anything about it until I returned to my people,” he said.

Sheikh Mujib was introduced to reporters as “our beloved leader, the free president of the free people of an independent sovereign state”.

The sheikh, dressed in a dark tunic, costume style, immediately paid homage to “the sacred memory of millions of martyrs who gave their lives” in the struggle for the establishment of the Bangla Desh.

Sheikh Mujib said Pakistani troops, who were trying to contain the aspirations of Bangla Desh, were guilty of “ruthless killings”.

Then he added: “If Hitler had been alive today, he would have put men to shame.

Cheikh Mujib would not be drawn into direct criticism of Mr. Bhutto.

“I wish him good luck,” he said.

The Sheikh expressed his best wishes to India, the Soviet Union, Poland, Great Britain, France and “also to freedom-loving people all over the world, including those in the United States. “.

Calling for worldwide recognition of the Bangla Desh, the Bangapita said: “I call on all citizens of the world to help my millions of hungry people.

Cheikh Mujib was asked if he had been physically abused or tortured during his imprisonment.

He replied that he had been held in a solitary confinement cell in a desert prison without visitors, letters and contact with the outside world. –

Mock trial

Cheikh Mujib said he had undergone a “mock trial” but refused to defend himself halfway through the hearing. The Pakistani authorities then appointed a lawyer to defend him, he said.

“It was a court martial of a civilian,” he said. “They wanted to hang me.”

He said the Bhutto regime, which replaced the government of former President Yahya Khan, which ordered the arrest of Sheikh Mujib, refused to carry out the sentence.

He said he only knew about the Indo-Pakistan war because of an air power failure in the area of ​​his prison. And he didn’t know anything about the freedom fighters’ victory until Mr Bhutto told him, Cheikh Mujib added.

“I am a free man now but I was cut off from the whole world,” the sheikh said.

He told reporters that after the mock trial, “I was mentally ready to die.”

“The day I went to jail, I didn’t know if I should live or not. But I knew Banda Desh would be released. he said.

The Sheikh was asked what his attitude would be towards the United States given Washington’s support for Pakistan in the conflict with India.

Triumphant shot

The Sheikh dodged the question by replying, “I was in prison and I don’t know a lot yet. I will have to discuss it with my people when I go to Dhaka.

Old acquaintances of the Sheikh said he looked slimmer than they remembered him, but still spirited despite his ordeal.

He concluded the press conference by saying that he was tired after the Rawalpindi flight. He then raised his voice in a triumphant cry of “Jai Bangla”.

Outside the hotel more and more of his supporters were gathering by the minute, kissing and shouting the same victory slogan.

Reuters adds:

The Sheikh declared, “I cannot wait a single moment to return to my people.

He said he hoped to return to Dhaka tomorrow or the day after. In a voice trembling with emotion, Sheikh Mujib told reporters: “No people have had to pay such a high price in human lives and suffering as the people of Bangla Desh.”

He arrived at the press conference 20 minutes late and greeted reporters with “Jai Bangla”.

“Today”, he said, “I celebrate the unlimited joy of freedom in a liberation struggle”,

Those responsible for the Bangla Desh mission said respite was needed before the sheikh returned to Dhaka. They said a million people would come to the airport to see him.

“I have nothing against the people of West Pakistan despite the way they have behaved. When they arrested me, they also arrested my children and interned them, and my house was set on fire.

He said Bangle Desh had been exploited for hundreds of years and that Britain bore some responsibility for it, although the British government had always been kind to him personally.

Loses 42 lbs

Bangla Desh officials said Sheikh Mujib appeared to have lost around 42 pounds (19 kg).

Asked about reports that the Bangla Desh government intended to nationalize banking, insurance and foreign trade, Sheikh Mujib said such action was implicit in his Awami League manifesto which won the elections. Pakistani women in December 1970.

He added that he had great confidence in what his colleagues were doing in Bangla Desh.

Sheikh Mujib said: “I will not lose my freedom in any war anymore. I am ready to cooperate with anyone.

He said Pakistan had played a dirty game and that there should be some sort of trial for the mass killings.

“But now that my people are released, I have nothing against the people of West Pakistan. I wish Mr. Bhutto success and good luck.”


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