President Yahya Khan told a press conference in Dacca, East Pakistan on Friday (November 21) that Pakistan's General Elections, due on December 7, will go on despite the cyclone and tidal wave disaster in the Ganges Delta.
GV INT President Khan addresses the press
GV SILENT Khan speaking.
KHAN (SEQ 2): "Elections will take place. I have left this decision to the Chief Election Commissioner, who is a completely independent body. He has come up here to assess the situation of the cyclone affected area. Whether these elections shall be held on the seventh or delayed a few weeks....But as far as the rest of the country is concerned, I have no doubt in my mind that elections will he held."
KHAN (SEQ 4): Within the resources that my country has; within the capacity and capability that my people have, everything possible has been done and is being done, and will be done. It's not ideal, but I would like to know a country that can achieve an ideal. Similarly my country. But within the limitations of that capacity, capability and resources, there has been no let-up bringing succour to the devastated area of Pakistan."
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Background: President Yahya Khan told a press conference in Dacca, East Pakistan on Friday (November 21) that Pakistan's General Elections, due on December 7, will go on despite the cyclone and tidal wave disaster in the Ganges Delta. The President had just returned from a tour of the disaster area.
President Khan added that if polling had to be postponed for a few weeks in the constituencies of the disaster area, it would not delay the convening of the National Assembly as practical considerations would prevent it from being summoned immediately.
The President's statement quashed speculation that the tragic plight of East Pakistan's coastal areas might mean putting off the choice of the first elected Parliament since Martial Law was proclaimed in 1958.
Any postponement of the elections had been strenuously opposed by East Pakistan leader Sheik Mujibur Rahman, head of the powerful Awami League. His party is expected to win all 165 seats in the 300-Member Assembly and he is tipped as a possible Prime Minister when a new constitution is adopted.
President Yahya told the conference:
Defending his Government against criticism that its own reaction to the disaster had been inadequate and too slow, he said: