SOURCE: THE DAILY STAR
West Pakistan newspapers on May 3 quoted government sources as denying that large numbers of refugees were fleeing East Pakistan to neighbouring India. Statements attributed to officials in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad said the majority of persons who had crossed from East Pakistan into India since March 25 were Indian military infiltrators who had been sent to cause trouble in Pakistan.
According to the Pakistan government, these and local “miscreant” followers were crushed by the Pakistani army and survivors were returning to West Bengal Province in India. The Pakistani statement followed reports from India that roughly one million East Pakistani refugees had arrived in India, posing a severe economic problem for the New Delhi government.
The Dawn quoted Pakistani government officials as saying:
“West Bengal in India under the best of circumstances has a large floating population and hundreds of thousands sleep on the pavement in Calcutta as a matter of daily routine. To any unsuspecting foreign visitor these could be shown as refugees from across the border.”
JAPAN SUSPENDS FOOD SHIPMENTS TO PAKISTAN
Japan successfully resisted pressure from West Pakistan to divert to Karachi shipments of textile machinery and food originally meant for Bangladesh. The Japanese government, which maintained a neutral position in the fighting in Bangladesh, ordered the shipments be suspended as neither the Japanese government nor the business wanted to take any risk regarding payment. The Japanese authorities were now looking for alternative markets for goods originally meant for Pakistan against aid agreements.
MAHMUD ALI SETS UP BANGLADESH MISSION IN NEW YORK
Mahmud Ali, who on April 26 denounced Islamabad and swore allegiance to the Government of Bangladesh, was authorised by the provisional government to establish a Bangladesh mission in New York. In fact, Bangladesh already had the nucleus of its first political presence abroad except the one in Kolkata because Mahmud Ali, without wasting a moment, rented a small office near the UN headquarters and declared it as the Bangladesh Mission in New York. The mission under Mahmud Ali would try to provide a broad general platform to be used to create in this part of the world public opinion in favour of accepting Bangladesh as a new member in the family of nations.
UN WON’T RESUME WORK ON PROJECTS IN BANGLADESH
The United Nations decided that there was no early prospect of its resuming work on various development and aid projects in Bangladesh. A UNDP circular to various UN-specialised agencies conveyed this view and advised that technical experts engaged for work in Bangladesh should be resigned or their services terminated. The move was essentially one based on financial and economic considerations. After the outbreak of fighting in Bangladesh, UN Secretary General U Thant ordered the evacuation of all personnel working in Bangladesh for the UN or its specialised agencies.
PAKISTAN ACCUSES INDIAN AIR FORCE
Amid signs of a deterioration in the already hostile relations between India and Pakistan, Pakistan charged that Indian fighter planes had violated Pakistani air space on May 3 on two occasions.
The Pakistani radio reported that Indian aircraft had flown over the Rangpur district of East Pakistan in the morning and again at noon. The broadcast did not identify the type of aircraft allegedly involved.
It was the first time in the present crisis that Pakistan had charged that Indian planes had violated her air space.
In another development, it appeared that negotiations had been nearly completed for the repatriation of Pakistani diplomats from Calcutta in India and of Indian diplomats from Dacca in East Pakistan.
Pakistan’s deputy high commission, or consulate, in Calcutta had been the centre of a diplomatic war since the predominantly Bangalee staff took it over and transformed it into a mission of the newly-proclaimed provisional government of Bangladesh.