QUETTA: President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto has offered full and unconditional co-operation to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman including renunciation of his present office in order to preserve Pakistan’s oneness. No sacrifice, he said, was too great, no cost too high to maintain the integrity and unity of the country. The President was commenting in a sentiment read out to correspondents in Quetta today [Jan 17] on a London newspaper interview which quoted the Awami League leader as having stated that if Mr Bhutto persisted in speaking of East and West as “one Pakistani nation” then he (Sheikh Mujib) should be considered the “Prime Minister of Pakistan” being leader of the majority party. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had also said that he would in that case “take over” West Pakistan and appoint his own people all over the western provinces.

President Bhutto in his statement said: “I am willing to step aside today because if that is the condition it can be assumed to have been met by me willingly and without a single counter condition except the oneness of Pakistan.” … President Bhutto said: “I am willing ... to abandon politics altogether and hand over authority to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman if this is required to preserve the oneness of Pakistan.”

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2022

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