Six-Point Day: The Foundation of Liberation War

93
15th august

MNA Feature Desk: Political and economic deprivation of the Bengalis prompted Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to put forward in 1966 his historic six points, the “Magna Carta” which in effect structured the foundation for East Pakistan`s future independence.

Following the partition of India, the new state of Pakistan came into being. The inhabitants of East Pakistan (later Bangladesh) made up the majority of its population, and exports from East Pakistan (such as jute) were a majority of Pakistan’s export income.

However, East Pakistanis did not feel they had a proportional share of political power and economic benefits within Pakistan.

East Pakistan was facing a critical situation after being subjected to continuous discrimination on a regional basis, year after year. As a result, the economists, intelligentsia and the politicians of East Pakistan started to raise questions about this discrimination, giving rise to the historic six-point movement.

The historic six-point at a glance:

  1. The constitution should provide for a Federation of Pakistan in its true sense based on the Lahore Resolution and the parliamentary form of government with supremacy of a Legislature directly elected on the basis of universal adult franchise.
  2. The federal government should deal with only two subjects: Defence and Foreign Affairs, and all other residual subjects should be vested in the federating states.
  3. Two separate, but freely convertible currencies for two wings should be introduced; or if this is not feasible, there should be one currency for the whole country, but effective constitutional provisions should be introduced to stop the flight of capital from East to West Pakistan. Furthermore, a separate Banking Reserve should be established and separate fiscal and monetary policy be adopted for East Pakistan.
  4. The power of taxation and revenue collection should be vested in the federating units and the federal centre would have no such power. The federation would be entitled to a share in the state taxes to meet its expenditures.
  5. There should be two separate accounts for the foreign exchange earnings of the two wings; the foreign exchange requirements of the federal government should be met by the two wings equally or in a ratio to be fixed; indigenous products should move free of duty between the two wings, and the constitution should empower the units to establish trade links with foreign countries.
  6. East Pakistan should have a separate militia or paramilitary force.

Indeed, it was Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the undisputed leader of his people, who had spearheaded Bangladesh’s struggle for full-blown foundation of independence.

The timing, first for framing and articulating the six-point formula, and then launching and sustaining a nationalistic movement for realizing the goals of six-point formula, was crucially important.

The economic and political demands, as stipulated and enumerated in the historic six-point formula, were the frontal assault on the foundation of Pakistan’s colonial and authoritarian modes of governance.