West Pakistani officials were afraid of Bengali dominance in the political affairs of the nation, so the Pakistan People's Party leader from the West, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, supported by senior army officers (most Punjabi), brought pressure to prevent the opening of the new National Assembly. The Bengalis of East Pakistan revolted against this move. The Pakistani military then banned the Awami league and arrested its leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and instituted a massive military crackdown. A savage civil war then begin during which tens of thousands of Bengalis were killed, and some ten million people sought refuge in India. India entered the war in December 1971, and within weeks India decisively defeated Pakistan, producing the final dismemberment of Pakistan into Pakistan and Bangladesh. this had a profound effect on the people of Pakistan:
To most Pakistanis, the news of Pakistan's defeat came as a numbing shock--their military was both disgraced and condemned for its brutal crackdown in East Pakistan. Literally overnight, the country had lost its status as the largest Muslim nation in the world. Gone, too, were any illusions of military parity with India (Blood xxxiv).
The regime in place at the time of the war was that of Yahya Khan. when he first took power, he made many unpopular decisions in order to deal with the national turmoil of the era, and among these decisions was ordering punishment of those accused of corruption, nepotism, blackmail, and intimidation and an investigation of those who unlawfully maintained large bank accounts abroad. He further increased East Pakistani representation at decision-making levels in the central secretariat, raising the number from one to six out of fourteen. He also proposed doubling the East Pakistani presence in the military. President Khan also announced that elections would be held and that the martial law regulations would be relaxed to allow political gatherings and...
History of Pakistan: "Great Leader". (2000, January 01). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 08:12, October 30, 2014, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1303976771.html