East Pakistan
مشرقی پاکستان
Flag of East Pakistan
Coat of arms of East Pakistan
Coat of arms
Motto: "The "defence of East Pakistan lay in West Pakistan"
Anthem: "Qaumī Tarāna"
("National Anthem")
Location of East Pakistan
CapitalDhaka (proclaimed)
Common languagesOfficial: Bengali
Unofficial minority languages: English and Urdu
GovernmentMilitary government
Martial Law Administrator 
• 1960-62
Azam Khan
• 1962-69
Abdul Monem Khan
• 1969-71
Syed Mohammad Ahsan
• 1971
Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi
• 1955-56
Amiruddin Ahmad
• 1956-58
A. K. Fazlul Huq
• 1958-60
Zakir Husain
LegislatureEast Pakistan Legislative Provincial Assembly
Historical eraCold War
14th August 1947
22 November 1954.
• Succession of Bangladesh
December 16 1971
CurrencyPakistan Rs. (M)December 16, 1971
Calling code92
Internet TLD.pk1
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Provisional Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh
Today part of Bangladesh

The East Pakistan (Bengali: পূর্ব পাকিস্তান Purbo Pakistan, Urdu: مشرقی پاکستان Mashriqī Pākistān), formally called East Pakistan, was a provincial state of Pakistan established in August 14, 1947. The provincial state existed until 16th December, 1971, and it is now the independent nation of Bangladesh. East Pakistan was created from Bengal Province based on the 'Mountbatten Plan' in what was then British India in 1947. Eastern Bengal was given to the Dominion of Pakistan and became a province of Pakistan by the name East Bengal. East Bengal was renamed East Pakistan in 1956 and later became the country of Bangladesh after the bloody Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, which took place after the General Elections of 1970.

The East Pakistan had an area of 147,570 km2 (56,977 mi2), bordering India on all three sides (East, North, and West) and Bay of Bengal from South. East Pakistan was one of the largest provincial state of Pakistan, with largest population and shared a largest economic share. In 1971, a violent Liberation war ended the writ of Pakistan, and Pakistan was divided as a result of Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Finally, on 15th December 1971, East Pakistan was officially disestablished and became an independent state of Bangladesh.

Naming conventions

History and partition

Main article: History of Bangladesh (1947–1971)

The Bengal was divided into two provinces on 3 July, 1946 in preparation for the partition of India - the Hindu-majority West Bengal and the Muslim-majority East Bengal. The two provinces each had their own Chief Ministers. In August 1947 West Bengal became part of India and East Bengal became part of Pakistan. Tensions between East Bengal and the western wing of Pakistan led to the One-Unit policy. In 1955, most of the western wing was combined to form a new West Pakistan province while East Bengal became the new province of East Pakistan.


See also: Bangladesh Liberation War

Separatist/nationalistic flag of East Bengal

The tension between East and West Pakistan reached a climax in 1970 when the Awami League, the largest East Pakistani political party, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a landslide victory in the national elections in East Pakistan. The party won 167 of the 169 seats allotted to East Pakistan, and thus a majority of the 300 seats in the National Assembly. This gave the Awami League the constitutional right to form a government. However, Yahya Khan, the leader of Pakistan, refused to allow Rahman to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. This increased agitation for greater autonomy in the East.

On 26 March 1971, the day after the military crackdown on civilians in East Pakistan, Sk. Mujibur Rahman declared the independence of Bangladesh just after midnight of March 25, 1971 before he was arrested by Pakistan army. All major Awami League leaders including elected leaders of national Assembly and Provincial Assembly fled to neighboring India and an exile government was formed headed by Sk. Mujibur Rahman. While he was in Pakistan Prison, Syed Nazrul Islam was the acting President with Tazuddin Ahmed as the Prime Minister. The exile government took oath on April 17, 1971 at Mujib Nagar, within East Pakistan territory of Kustia district and formally formed the government. Col (retd) MAG Osmani was appointed the commander in chief of liberation forces and whole East Pakistan was divided into eleven sectors headed by eleven sector commanders. All sector commanders were Bengali officers from Pakistan army. This started the Bangladesh Liberation War in which the freedom fighters, joined in December 1971 by 400,000 Indian soldiers, faced the Pakistani Army of 100,000 plus paramilitary and collaborationist forces. An additional approximately 25,000 ill-equipped civilian volunteers and police forces also sided with the Pakistan army. On 16 December 1971, the Pakistani Army surrendered to the joint liberation forces of Bangladesh freedom fighters and Indian army Headed by Lt. Gen Jagjit Singh Arora. Air Vice Marshall AK Khondoker represented the Bangladesh freedom fighters. Pakistan General AAK Niazi signed the surrender letter. Bangladesh quickly gained recognition from most countries and with the signing of the Shimla Accord, most of the countries accepted the new state. Bangladesh joined the United Nations in 1974. Sk. Mujib returned to free Bangladesh on January 10, 1972. Upon his request, India withdrew all of its forces. 40,000 Pakistan soldiers and 45,000 civilians were transferred to India as prisoners of war.[citation needed]


On 14 October 1955, the last governor of East Bengal (Amiruddin Ahmad) became the first Governor of East Pakistan. At the same time the last Chief Minister of East Bengal became the first Chief Minister of East Pakistan. This system lasted until the military coup of 1958 when the post of Chief Minister was abolished in both East Pakistan and West Pakistan. From 1958 to 1971 the administration was largely in the hands of the President of Pakistan and the Governor of East Pakistan who at times held the title of Martial Law Administrator.

Military presence

Main article: Evolution of Pakistan Eastern Command plan

Since its unification with Pakistan, the East Pakistan had only consisted of only 1 infantry brigade, which was made up of 2 battalions, the 1st East Bengal Regiment and the 1/14 or 3/8 Punjab Regiment in 1948. Between them these two battalions boasted only 5 rifle companies (a single battalion normally had 5 companies).[1] This weak brigade, under the command of Brigadier Ayub Khan (local rank Major General – GOC 14 Division), and a few EPR wings, was tasked with defending East Pakistan during the Kashmir War of 1947.[2] The Pakistan Air Force and Navy had little presence in the region. Only one Combatant Squadron No. 14 Tail Choppers was active in East Pakistan which was commanded by a Squadron Leader or Major. The Navy had only 4 gunboats, inadequate to function in deep water. The Marines were also presented tasked to carried out the shoreline and riverine operations. All these services operated under one single high command, the Eastern Military High Command, commanded by a 3 star officer who is designated as its unified commander.


Tenure Governor of East Pakistan[3] Political Affiliation
14 October 1955 – March 1956 Amiruddin Ahmad Muslim League
March 1956 – 13 April 1958 A. K. Fazlul Huq Muslim League
13 April 1958 – 3 May 1958 Hamid Ali (acting) Awami League
3 May 1958 – 10 October 1958 Sultanuddin Ahmad Awami League
10 October 1958 – 11 April 1960 Zakir Husain Muslim League
11 April 1960 – 11 May 1962 Lieutenant-General Azam Khan, PA Military Administration
11 May 1962 – 25 October 1962 Ghulam Faruque Independent (politician)
25 October 1962 – 23 March 1969 Abdul Monem Khan Civil Administration
23 March 1969 – 25 March 1969 Mirza Nurul Huda Civil Administration
25 March 1969 – 23 August 1969 Major-General Muzaffaruddin[4], PA Military Administration
23 August 1969 – 1 September 1969 Lieutenant-General Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, PA Military Administration
1 September 1969 – 7 March 1971 Vice-Admiral Syed Mohammad Ahsan, PN Military Administration
7 March 1971 – April 1971 Lieutenant-General Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, PA Military Administration
April 1971 – 31 August 1971 Lieutenant-General Tikka Khan, PA Military Administration
31 August 1971 – 14 December 1971 Abdul Motaleb Malik Independent
14 December 1971 – 16 December 1971 Lieutenant-General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi, PA Military Administation
16 December 1971 Province of East Pakistan dissolved

Chief Ministers

Tenure Chief Minister of East Pakistan[3] Political Party
August 1955 – September 1956 Abu Hussain Sarkar Krishak Sramik Party
September 1956 – March 1958 Ata-ur-Rahman Khan Awami League
March 1958 Abu Hussain Sarkar Krishak Sramik Party
March 1958 – 18 June 1958 Ata-ur-Rahman Khan Awami League
18 June 1958 – 22 June 1958 Abu Hussain Sarkar Krishak Sramik Party
22 June 1958 – 25 August 1958 Governor's Rule
25 August 1958 – 7 October 1958 Ata-ur-Rahman Khan Awami League
7 October 1958 Post abolished
16 December 1971 Province of East Pakistan dissolved

See also


  1. ^ Major Nasir Uddin, Juddhey Juddhey Swadhinata, pp49
  2. ^ Major Nasir Uddin, Juddhey Juddhey Swadhinata, pp47, pp51
  3. ^ a b Ben Cahoon, WorldStatesmen.org. "Bangladesh". Retrieved 2007-10-03.
  4. ^ (acting martial law administrator and governor as he was the GOC 14th Infantry Division)