Relations with the former parent government are understandably bitter because of the events of 1971. Rahman insists on recognition of Bangladesh‘s independence before he will discuss anything. Pakistani president Bhutto, on the other hand, is under domestic pressure to dissuade Rahman from going ahead with war crimes trials.
The situation is further complicated by minority communities who are virtually imprisoned in each other’s countries. Bhutto demands guarantees of safety for the 1.5 million Urdu-speaking Muslims (Biharis) in Bangladesh but will not have them in Pakistan. Rahman says that 400,000 Bengali civilians and 30,000 Bengalis in the Pakistani Army have been jailed in concentration camps. He wants the UN to supervise an exchange of these captive minorities and links the future of Pakistani civilians who surrendered to the joint command in Bangladesh (and are now in India) with the repatriation of his 430,000 Bangladeshis.
The deadlock appears insoluble; Dacca‘s stand perceptibly hardened after August 10 when, in spite of earlier hints to the contrary, Bhutto told his National Assembly that Bangladesh would not be recognized.