Kagmari Conference

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Kagmari Conference the council meeting of the awami league and a cultural conference held on 6-10 February 1957 at Kagmari in Tangail district. The main agenda for discussion in the council session on 7 February was full autonomy for East Pakistan and the non-alligned foreign policy of the Party. But the direct and spontaneous support of huseyn shaheed suhrawardy, the Awami League leader and the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, to the military pacts of Seato and Cento created controversy in the conference.

Non-alligned independent foreign policy had been one of the Twenty-one Point commitments of the united front in the 1954 elections. The leftist members and leaders of Awami League headed by the party chief and chairman of the conference Maulana abdul hamid khan bhasani, opposed the view of Shaheed Suhrawardy relating to foreign policy. Maulana Bhasani criticised the military pacts in presence of the leaders of the party including the Awami League members of the assembly, and placed the demand for autonomy. Suhrawardy gave his verdict in favour of the military pact signed by Pakistan and also in favour of economic policy adopted by the centre in East Pakistan.

Moreover, controversy arose on an organisational issue. sheikh mujibur rahman, the then general secretary of Awami League, joined the cabinet along with his position in the party in contravention of the provision in article 66 of the party constitution. Under the circumstances the conflict between the rightist and leftist groups reached its climax on the issue whether the Awami League government would abide by the policy and decision of the party. The rightist group of the party including Sheikh Mujibur Rahman extended support to the leadership and policy of Suhrawardy while the leftist members supported the cause of Maulana Bhasani. Awami League was thus virtually divided on ideological ground. Subsequently, Maulana Bhasani left the Awami League and floated a new political party styled as the national awami party. [Bilkis Rahman]