March 23 in 1971 was a very significant day. On 22 March, Yahya Khan postponed the National Assembly session reconvened for 25 March.Radio Pakistan had reported that President Yahya Khan will address the nation on Pakistan Day- 23rd March. Speculations were rife that the President may announce a compromise formula. But later, the decision was cancelled and no address was made.
On 23 March a new history was created in Bangladesh. Everywhere new Bangladesh flag was hoisted instead of Pakistani flag. Not only Bangalees, foreign missions also hoisted Bangladesh flag. Students hoisted Bangladesh flag at Bangabandhu’s house and presented a new flag to Bangabandhu. Holding it in his hand Bangabandhu told a huge gathering, “Get ready for final struggle. I shall repay the debt of blood of Bangalees, if necessary, with my own blood.”
Reaching Lahore by air from Dhaka on the day, Air Marshal Asghar Khan said, “I found Pakistani- flag flying nowhere other than the President House and the Cantonment. Time for compromise is still there. It has to be kept in mind that Sheikh Mujib is the last link between East and West Pakistan.”
On 23 March aides of Bangabandhu and Yahya Khan met twice to finalise the “Compromise Formula”. Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed and Dr. Kamal Hossain represented Bangabandhu and M M Ahmed, Justice Cornelius and General Peerzada represented Yahya Khan. On Behalf of Bangabandhu a draft of the constitution was placed for the President.
On the day, Bhutto told a press conference, “I am examining the issues of agreement reached between the President and Sheikh Mujib. I have had satisfactory discussions with Sheikh Mujib and I hope more discussions will take place.”
(Amir Hossain was the acting editor of daily sun. He wrote this article before his demise.)