March is a soul-stirring month to the people of Bangladesh. In this month in 1971, Bangladeshis began their war of emancipation under the leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Finally, in this month through declaring the independence of the dearest motherland, the Bengalis start giving fitting answer to the all oppression, tyranny, exploitation and cruelty of 24 years of the Pakistani dictatorial rulers.
On 1 March in 1971, according to the website of the Liberation War Museum, Yahya Khan, the then president of Pakistan, in a sudden radio speech suspended the national committee session to be held on 3rd march for an indefinite period. He said that as one of the major parties of Pakistan, People’s Party and some other parties have expressed that they are unwilling to join in the National Committee session scheduled for March 3, this decision has been taken.
Upon hearing the news of suspension of the National (parliamentary) committee by Yahya Khan, Dhaka city erupted in anger and people of all classes took to the streets. All stores and business centres in the city were shut spontaneously.
The cricket match being held in Dhaka stadium between Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP) and International XI was suspended. The audiences left the stadium to take part in protests and they headed towards Hotel Purbani in Motijheel to receive further directions from Awami League chief Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Political leaders from Bangladesh delivered individual statements expressing ardent opposition against suspension of National parliamentary Committee session and referred to the president’s announcement as an initiative to abolish the process of re-establishing sovereignty of citizens and handing over the power to the people’s representatives.
After the Parliamentary party meeting in Hotel Purbani in a crowded press conference, Awami league chief Sheikh Mujibur Rahman expressed deep objection to Yahya Khan’s announcement of suspending the Parliamentary committee meeting and also said that the people of the country have refused the decision and deemed it unacceptable.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called for a hartal in Dhaka on 2nd March, countrywide strike on 3rd March and a rally in Race Course field on 7th March as a part of an all pervading agitation or movement. He also said that in the Race Course rally the complete policy implications, as a part of the total agitation, will be announced, according to the Liberation War Museum website.
Later in the evening he talked about the changed political situation with various political leaders and after the evening he selected a delegation to talk to Maulana Bhashani.
Pakistan Muslim League Chief Khan Abdul Qayyum called the decision of Yahya Khan as ‘the only correct decision’ and welcomed it. In opposition to this, secretary general Khan A Shochib announced to resign as a member and secretary of the party.
That night, president and chief marshal law administrator General A M Yahya Khan, appointed Lieutenant General Shahebzada M Eyakur Rahman as the civil administrator of the state. Deep into the night, Kha region’s Military ruler sent out a new order wherein no news or photograph that hurts the oneness and sovereignty of the nation could be published.
The general strike that People’s Party have called in West Pakistan because of the National Committee meeting scheduled to be held is called off after the President announced the suspension of the meeting.