fifty years ago May 12, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (May 12, 1971): Pak faces serious food shortage

Washington, May 11: Mr. M.M. Ahmed, Chief Economic Adviser to President Yahya Khan of Pakistan, admitted here yesterday that the country would be facing serious food shortage after three or four months as the present stock would last only till then. Mr. Ahmed, who is now in the United States seeking additional aid, said the entire Pakistan would need sizeable food assistance for the rest of this year and all of next year because of “civil war” in Pakistan. Mr. Ahmed added, “There is no danger of imminent starvation in East Pakistan, despite the recent civil disturbances there”. He said there were approximately 686,000 tons of wheat and rice in East Pakistan at the end of March. An additional 801,000 tons, including 300,000 tons of rice, was in the aid pipeline, some of which could be transferred to East Pakistan, if needed. Mr. Ahmed conferred for 40 minutes with President Nixon and with Dr. Henry Kissinger, Mr. Nixon’s National Security Adviser. He had also talks with World Bank officials and is expected to see the Secretary of State, Mr. Rogers, before leaving on Friday. Details of his mission were shrouded in secrecy but it was believed that he was seeking further international as well as U.S. economic aid. Aid has been delayed by Washington since the civil war broke out in East Bengal in March last.

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