BHASHANI, MAULANA ABDUL HAMID KHAN (1885-1976)Born in the Tangail district of what was then the Bengal province of British India, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani was a prominent Muslim League leader during the campaign for Pakistan He left the Muslim League soon after Pakistan was born, and in 1949 he helped form the Awami League, reflecting both his socialist ideology and his desire to attain greater autonomy for East Bengal He was an active supporter of the United Front, which decisively defeated the Muslim League in the East Bengal provincial elections of 1954 Major differences over foreign affairs with H S Suhrawardhy, the president of the Awami League, persuaded him to leave the party that he had helped to create in favor of a new political organization that espoused a policy in favor of the People’s Republic of China and some socialist countries The new organization, the National Awami Party (NAP), won Bhashani a great deal of support in Pakistan’s western wing, particularly among the leaders of the smaller provinces of Balochistan and the Northwest Frontier Although Bhashani was opposed to Muhammad Ayub Khan’s domestic policies and was not prepared to accept the political system established under the constitution of 1962, he supported the president’s overtures to the People’s Republic of China

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