National Congress (Pakistan and Bangladesh)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pre-1973: Pakistan National Congress
پاکستان نیشنل کانگریس
পাকিস্তান জাতীয় কংগ্রেস

Post-1973: Bangladesh Jatiya (National) Congress
বাংলাদেশ জাতীয় কংগ্রেস
PresidentAssembly members:[1] Basanta Kumar Das
Bhupendra Kumar Datta
Konteswar Barman
Peter Paul Gomez
1971: Manoranjan Dhar[2]
FounderAs Indian National Congress:
Allan Octavian Hume
Dadabhai Naoroji
Dinshaw Wacha
FoundedAs Indian National Congress: 28 December 1885 (137 years ago) (1885-12-28)
IdeologySocial democracy
Democratic socialism
Social liberalism
Gandhian socialism
Political positionCentre-left
Colours  Sky blue
1st Constituent Assembly of Pakistan
11 / 69
East Bengal Legislative Assembly (1954)
28 / 309
Election symbol
BJC party symbol

The Pakistan National Congress (PNC), later known as the Bangladesh National Congress, was a political party that mainly represented the Hindus and other religious minorities in Pakistan.[3][4] The party championed secularism in the Muslim-dominated state, and its electoral and organisational strength was mainly based in East Bengal (also known as East Pakistan, now the independent state of Bangladesh).[3][5]


The Pakistan National Congress traces its roots to the Indian National Congress, which was the largest national political party in India.[3][4] The Indian National Congress, led by Mahatma Gandhi, Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru championed secularism, composite nationalism, religious tolerance and opposed the Pakistan movement led by the Muslim League. However, ensuing communal conflict led to the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan from Muslim-majority provinces. The religious violence and mass migration as a result of partition significantly reduced the Hindu, Sikh and non-Muslim population of Pakistan. The leaders and activists of the Indian National Congress who continued to live in Pakistan joined with the representatives of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Christian communities to form a new political party, the Pakistan National Congress.[3][4] Although most of them had opposed the partition of India, the members of the new party accepted the state of Pakistan and did not maintain any organisational links with the Indian National Congress.


The Pakistan National Congress stood for secularism, equality of all religions and citizens and protection of religious and ethnic minorities.[3][4] The party sought peaceful and friendly relations between Pakistan and India. The party was one of many that opposed the suppression of democracy and civil rights by successive military regimes. The Pakistan National Congress also stood against the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistani society, politics and government. The party also supported the Bengali language movement in East Bengal.

Bengali Language Movement[edit]

National Congress was the only party at the opposition side of the house during the movement. In both Legislative Assembly and in Constituent Assembly they exposed of the logical position of the language demand. In doing so some of the members were called Indian agents and were harassed by the government. Some leaders were also arrested and one of them was killed inside the jail.[6]

Electoral performance[edit]

While partition riots and mass migration had significantly reduced the Hindu and Sikh population in West Pakistan, Hindus still constituted twenty percent of the population of East Bengal (also East Pakistan).[5] Consequently, the PNC's base and organisation were concentrated in that province of Pakistan. In the 1954 elections held for the East Bengal Legislative Assembly, the Pakistan National Congress won 28 seats.[5]


After the Bangladeshi War of Independence, the party briefly survived as the Bangladesh National Congress (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ জাতীয় কংগ্রেস Bangladesh Jatiya Congress).[7] The party stood one candidate, Sree Peter Paul Gomez in the 1973 election for Dacca-25,[8] but did not win the seat. The party was dissolved in 1975 after the formation of the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League as the sole political party of Bangladesh. It is unknown how long the party survived in West Pakistan.[9]

(Incomplete) List of Congress members in the 1st Constituent Assembly[edit]

East Bengal[edit]

  1. Prem Hari Barma
  2. Raj Kumar Chakraverty
  3. Sris Chandra Chattopadhyaya
  4. Akhay Kumar Das
  5. Dhirendra Nath Datta
  6. Bhupendra Kumar Datta
  7. Jnanendra Chandra Majumdar
  8. Birat Chandra Mandal
  9. Sri Dhananjoy M.A. B.L. Roy
  10. Maudi Bhakesh Chanda
  11. Harendra Kumar Sur
  12. Kawivi Kerwar Datta

West Punjab[edit]

  1. Ganga Saran, Rai Bahadur Lala

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rahman, Hasan Hafizur, ed. (1992). বাংলাদেশের স্বাধীনতা যুদ্ধ দলিলপত্র [Bangladesh Independence War Documents]. Vol. 1. Ministry of Information. p. 442.
  2. ^ "From the Archives (September 10, 1971): Bangla Desh parties demand independence". The Hindu. 10 September 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e George McTurnan Kahin, Harold C. Hinton (1958). Major governments of Asia. Cornell University Press. p. 439.
  4. ^ a b c d Moshe Y. Sachs (1967). Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations: Asia and Australasia. Worldmark Press.
  5. ^ a b c Richard Sisson, Leo E. Rose (1991). War and Secession: Pakistan, India and the Creation of Bangladesh. University of California Press. pp. 1–15. ISBN 978-0-520-07665-5.
  6. ^ (Umar 1979, p. 617)
  7. ^ February 25, 1975, The Daily Ittefaq on Tuesday
  8. ^[dead link]
  9. ^ সুমন চৌধুরী: মুক্তিযুদ্ধ-পরবর্তী বাংলাদেশে কংগ্রেস ঠিক কীভাবে বিলুপ্ত হলো এটা অ… | Sachalayatan (in Bengali).