How do the people of Pakistan see Bangladesh

East Pakistan versus West PakistanShared Country: The war around Bangladesh

When the independent state of Bangladesh was founded on December 16, 1971, the war in divided Pakistan came to an end. After the division of India in 1947, the country consisted of East and West Pakistan. Up to six million people perished in the war for an independent state on the territory of East Pakistan.

In November 1970 a severe storm hit East Pakistan. A hurricane destroys large parts of the country, razes the already sparse infrastructure and kills hundreds of thousands. The country is thrown into chaos in a single day. But it is not just the storm that is responsible for this.

Most East Pakistani people have long lived in poverty because large landowners exploit the peasants. The farmers have to give up 50 percent of their income. The other half is not enough to feed the 50 million or so people in East Pakistan.

About a month after the devastating storm, parliamentary elections are held in December 1970 in Pakistan, for which the Awami League party competes in East Pakistan. Because of the Mountbatten Plan of 1947, both parts of Pakistan are separated from each other, India lies between them, with many more people living in East Pakistan than in the western part of the country.

Plans for a New Independent State

The Awami League wants to split off East Pakistan from West Pakistan, which is more than 1,500 kilometers away, and establish an independent state. When she is elected with 98 percent of all votes in East Pakistan, she wants to put this plan into action, but is met with strict rejection by the Pakistani army chief and President Yahya Khan.

A divided nation at war

Yahya Khan pretends to want to negotiate, but is actually only wasting time to get the West Pakistani army in position. On March 26, 1971, the time had come: with the first shot, a war for the independence of East Pakistan began, which only ended in mid-December 1971 and in which an estimated six million people were killed.

West Pakistan is withdrawing its troops from the eastern part of the country. After the return of the political leaders of the Awami League, the independent state of Bangladesh was founded on December 16, 1971 on the territory of East Pakistan.

You hear in One Hour History:

  • Historian Michael Mann explains the complicated relationship between East and West Pakistan after the state was founded in 1947.
  • Bangladesh expert Alexander Benatar describes the European relationship with Bangladesh.
  • Musician Klaus Voormann organized the "Concert for Bangladesh" in New York's Madison Square Garden in the summer of 1971, with performances by George Harrison and Eric Clapton, among others.
  • Max Stille from Netz, Partnership for Development and Justice, reports on coming to terms with the war - both in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • Deutschlandfunk Nova history expert Matthias von Hellfeld looks back at the eventful history of Bangladesh before and after the state was founded in 1971.
  • Deutschlandfunk-Nova reporter Arne Hell describes the beginning of the struggle for the independence of East Pakistan from West Pakistan.