RAWALPINDI: The outlawed Awami League had set the small hours of March 26 as the Zero Hour for an armed uprising and the formal laun­ching of “The Independent Republic of Bangla Desh”, an official spokesman of the Pakistan Government revealed ... today [May 6].

...[T]he spokesman said that the plan was to seize Dacca and Chittagong, lying astride the army’s air/ sea lifelines to West Pakistan. But, he said, the Army moved barely a few hours before the Awami League Zero Hour for action in response to a call from the President and made a series of pre-emptive strikes around midnight of March 25-26, seized the initiative and saved the country. He said the Army at that time consisted of a division of 18 battalions including 12 from West Pakistan, spread thinly over cantonment in the interior and deployed along the border with India. Arrayed against them were infiltrators from India and deserters from the East Pakistan Rifles, the East Bengal Regiment and other auxiliary forces....

“The Awami League’s bid for secession was now underway. Having already exhausted all avenues of peaceful transfer of power, the President now called upon the Armed Forces to ‘do their duty and fully restore the authority of the Government’.”

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2021

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