43 ংলাদেশের স্বাধীনতা যুদ্ধ দলিলপত্রঃ ত্রয়োদশ খন্ড separatist Muslim group, starting with no resources, with minimal means of administration and surrounded by the India from which 25 years ago they were so anxious to be separated, does not make any sense at all. The whole historical reasons for East Pakistan's existence, and this is still true, is the traditional fear of continued domination by a Muslim community; by an enormous surrounding Hindu majority. A quarter of a century has elapsed since Pakistan was set up, but in my experience, which is considerable, nothing that I have heard or seen or have learned from friends and official and unofficial sources suggests that there is any real fundamental change of attitude in that state of affairs. I wish there were. Mr. Julius Silverman: Is it not a fact that there are today in India 60 million Muslims who prefer to remain in that country, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees who are now pouring into India? Does not that contradict the Hon. Gentleman's statement? Sir R. Thompson: Not at all. There has always been a very large resident Muslim minority in India. It was there long before partition and independence. Those people have their roots firmly established there and nothing is likely to change that position. However, in East Pakistan we have a homogeneous group of Muslims, over 80 million of them, and one of the most difficult points to overcome in the past, when the independence of India was being hammered out, was the absolute insistence, in which the Bengali Muslims were pre-eminent, that they should have their own enclave and be linked politically to their Islamic brothers in the West. Although time may change these things, it will need a great deal of time. A quarter of a century has proved to be nothing like enough. This fear remains and I am sure that total independence for East Pakistan which is advocated by some people, would undo at a stroke the whole bedrock and reasoning behind the setting up of the original Muslim State. There is no economic or strategic basis on which such a State could conceivably prosper. Although we are conscious of the fact that East Pakistan has been under-privileged and neglected, this neglect and poverty does not stem from independence. For centuries East Pakistan has been traditionally poor, backward and mainly agrarian. We used to say that they grew the jute while Calcutta reaped the profits. That is still true. The industrial complex around Calcutta has profited from industrialization and, on the whole, West Pakistan has profited while the illiterate peasants in the East have continued to live at subsistence levels. Mr. Sydney Bidwell (South all): The House has enormous respect for the Hon. Gentleman's experience in this part of the world. Is it not a fact that West Pakistan has continued to treat East Pakistan as some sort of poor relation? Is it not also a fact that a political solution is virtually impossible while the economic resources, in so far as they exist, in East Pakistan continue to be used for the profit and benefit of West Pakistan-in other words, while the West continues to treat the East as a sort of colony?