Austerity budget set in Pakistan | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 26, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:12 AM, June 26, 2021

Road to Freedom: This Day in Bangladesh Liberation War History

Austerity budget set in Pakistan

June 26, 1971


Pakistan, faced with the prospect of sharply reduced foreign aid during the coming year, announced a budget today that called for stringent national austerity but provided substantially more money for the military.

Mirza Muzaffar Ahmad, President Yahya Khan's economic adviser, said Pakistan was able to do without British economic assistance. In an explanation of budget, he said Britain's share of aid amounted to 7 per cent or about £10 million. "We could do without these £10 million or more," he added.

Ahmad had warned Pakistanis in his budget speech that Pakistan might have to manage without it. He emphasised that Pakistan would not let foreign pressures influence her domestic political situation. Asked which countries had tried to influence decisions, he said that only Sir Alec Douglas-Home was on record as having said that British assistance was linked with a political settlement of East Pakistan's crisis.

The budget introduced measures to cut government and private spending, reduce domestic consumption, increase exports, and conserve foreign exchange.


In a telegram sent to the US embassy in India, the state department provided a brief of the discussion with UNHCR Chief Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan who had recently visited Pakistan and India. Sadruddin indicated grave consequences which could flow from presence of East Pakistan refugees in India. He described his efforts to obtain a UNHCR presence in East Pakistan and India in order to facilitate return flow of refugees.

The UNHCR chief further said Pakistan government had agreed to UNHCR's presence in Dhaka and he believed he could obtain Pakistani agreement to their presence in refugee reception centers. The Indian government, however, had categorically refused to accept UNHCR presence beyond New Delhi. Sadruddin, who was quite critical of Indian policies regarding refugee return said Indian refusal, according to him, appeared a result of the government's desire to protect cross-border infiltration from international view.

He believed some return flow was possible on the basis of restoration of peace, even before political accommodation, but Indian cooperation, which thus far was not forthcoming, would be essential. Sadruddin also expressed concern regarding possible Soviet objection to UN operation of the sort he was planning. The US state department encouraged Sadruddin to continue his efforts and it was agreed that they would keep in close touch in future.


The acting president of Bangladesh Syed Nazrul Islam today sent a telegram to Tunku Abdur Rahman, general secretary of the Islamic Conference at Jeddah to use its influence and authority to put an immediate end to the genocide in Bangladesh. The telegram, copies of which were sent to all members of the organisation including King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, said, "Innocent people have been killed in hundreds of thousands. Houses burnt and looted. Womenfolk raped and molested -- all because they had exercised their right to franchise ... to secure an end to the exploitation perpetrated on them over the last 23 years.

"Seventy-five million people of Bangladesh, nearly 80 percent of whom are Muslims, declared independence only when the ruthless and dictatorial Yahya regime had unleashed a treacherous war on helpless people to undo the verdict of the election," added the telegram. 

Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at

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