I am very grateful to you for coming to this meeting. I had for long wanted to visit Kohat and speak to you. That is the way of politics. Every political party must go to the people and present its political and economic programme.
Since I left the Government I have thought over many of our problems. I want to present my views on these problems to the people but the regime does not like it. When I was in Government, I was able to do much useful work. I undertook many special assignments in the national interest and successfully accomplished them. At that time the people at the helm of affairs showered praises on me and told me that the nation will always be obliged to me for what I had done. The award of Hilal-e-Pakistan was conferred upon me. Now the same Government has left no stone unturned in carrying out a campaign of slanderous propaganda against me. All the Ministers have tried their best that I should lose my popularity among the people.
I want to advise this Government as I advised them during my eight years of Ministership; I want to warn them that they may undo my influence with the people but they cannot wipe it off the pages of history. If they want to undo my popularity, they should serve the people. If they serve the people, if they wipe out bribery and corruption, if they serve the cause of the students who are the future of this country, if they serve the labourers, they will gain popularity and all their opponents will lose their influence.
But false accusations cannot undo it. They regard the people as ignorant and are sadly mistaken. People are wide-awake now. The Government regards them incapable of exercising their right of vote; hence their introduction of the Basic Democracy system. The fact is that the people of Pakistan have always been politically conscious. I have full faith in our people while you have no faith in them. Government will never serve them. It will never serve the labourers and the peasants. It will only serve the 22 families. Government says that bribery cannot be wiped out. It rather advises the people to refrain from giving bribes and tells them that if they do not bribe the officials, this curse will go automatically. They regard it as a very complicated problem. Nor can they root out poverty. Why can't they do so? They say that it is God's will that there should be poverty in the country. It follows that they are incapable of solving the problems of bribery and poverty.
All right. Let them do something about Kashmir. But they will fail again. They cannot do anything about Kashmir also because for them this is a very complicated problem. I say, if you cannot eradicate poverty, if you cannot root out bribery, if you cannot solve the Kashmir problem, then get out. Allow us to take over. What is this nonsense that after 10 years in power your Government is not in a position to solve any of the problems faced by the nation. These are very important problems. You do not solve them nor are you prepared to give up the reins of Government. If you don't do so, we shall force you to give up.
When I make such speeches you say that I am inciting the people to rebel. I am a common man. I am not a General with a gun. I cannot order rebellions. I shall only work among my brothers and through them I shall work among the students and the labourers. I don't have any police, no officers, no army. I am just a common man from Sind. How can I spread rebellion? Even if I take off my jacket they take exception to that. I made a speech in Hyderabad during summer. It was hot so I took off my coat and put it on the table. Later the Governor went there and held a meeting. He said, "Bhutto took off his coat." My answer is that I took off my coat because it was hot, and to face your challenge I shall not only take off my coat but also roll up my sleeves.
I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of your Defence of Pakistan Rules and your Security Act. You have used them for your protection. You throw into jail anyone who criticises you. Why don't you put me in jail? I am ready for that. If you put me in jail the people will turn you out of the Government. So you dare not arrest me. If you do that, the students, the labourers, the peasants who support me will turn you out. You regard this nation as weak. You are running your Government with force and suppression. You are bound to meet an ignominious end. We are struggling for democracy and we shall continue to struggle for democracy. We have an economic programme, a socialist programme. There are only 22 families who have usurped the economic resources of the whole country. These families have monopolised the wealth of the nation. It was said before Martial Law that there were 600 zamindars and out of them only 200 were ruling the country. Now a score of families wield power. This is the progress our country has made during the Martial Law regime; from 600 the monopoly of the economy of the country has gone into the hands of 20 or so families. May I know which other country in the world has such a system? Even in America, the centre of capitalism, such a wretched system docs not exist. They don't have 22 families controlling the entire capital of the land. This system of ours has no parallel in the world.
When I say that we shall take away the wealth of the nation out of the control of these 22 families and nationalise it, they say I am spreading rebellion. This is no rebellion. This is justice. We demand justice and fairplay.
The Government says that the opposition parties have no programme. They don't have any ideology, no clear objectives. They only want power. I want to ask the Government is democracy not a programme? Isn't it a system? Isn't socialism a system? What system do you have? What is the system of this Government? The system of this Government is the exploitation of the people, making personal property and mills, and filling their purses and bank accounts. This Government is sucking the blood of the people. That is its ideology. Why do they blame the opposition parties for lack of a system?
We demand democracy and they give us Basic Democracy. If Basic Democracy is democracy, then why does every country not have it? If this is such a good system then the whole world should have had this system. But nowhere in the world is this system in vogue. Neither in America, nor in England, nor in France nor in India nor in China nor in Russia. Even then we are told that this is a wonderful system. Their political programme is practical only in Pakistan. The whole world is wrong; only this Government is right. Their system alone is just.
But this system cannot survive long because it is an anti-people system. I repeat this anti-people system cannot work and is bound to fail. This system has germinated bribery. There was bribery in the country but not on this scale. Now the poor people have to pay at every step because the Basic Democracy system demands it. You say that bribery cannot end. It can certainly end if you keep your hands clean, you give up the lust for wealth and property. We want to tell you that we can uproot bribery. You can also do it, provided your hands are clean.
I said in Hyderabad that I have come into the field. I shall serve my people. I am prepared to die for my people and I have burnt my boats. That is what jolted the Government but I am not afraid of it nor of its black laws. I am not afraid of their police. They can fabricate as many cases against me as they want. I shall face the Government on all fronts. If they want to compete in the political field, I am ready. If they let loose suppression and tyranny, I shall stand against it. Go and fabricate false cases against me. If they want to put me in jail I am prepared for it but I am not prepared to give up my principles.
I know the plight of the poor in the country. I was just talking of bribery and corruption. These are not the only vices. Where is the law and order which is so much talked about? Maybe you have it here in Kohat but in my area there is no law and order. Thefts are common and no one in the Government bothers about them. Here too, I learn there is a dacoit. The Government is afraid of him. I don't know him. Somebody told me about him in the train. So if that is the state of affairs, where is the law of the land? What about the future of the poor people? What should the poor people do? What is the course of action left open to them?
Then there is the curse of bureaucracy which has spread its tentacles so far and deep that officials regard themselves as the real masters of the country. They are no longer servants of the Government. They are its masters. They have also acquired political power. Why is that so? There is a purpose behind it all. It is the Basic Democracies system. The officers have been given excessive powers to be useful in the elections. I know all the officers are not corrupt. There are many who consider themselves public servants. They are performing their duty and don't exceed the limits of the law. I admire them. I hold such officers in high esteem.
I have been permitted to hold this public meeting here and this has not made the heavens fall. I have come and spoken to you. This has not started a revolution. But in many other places where I go they do not allow me to hold public meetings without giving any reason. Sometimes the permission is refused on whimsical grounds. Section 144 is being enforced in so many places, that it appears to be the only law in the land. The irony is that while we are refused permission to hold a public meeting, the rulers are allowed to do so the very next day. What a strange way to enforce the law!
Only yesterday, I was refused permission to hold a public meeting in Peshawar. On the other hand, the Governor sahib is going there on the 28th and he will address a public meeting. Then probably on the 10th Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, Hilal-e-Jurat, Hilal-e-Pakistan etc., etc., will come and address a meeting. The officers who behave like this and discriminate in the operation of the law don't consider themselves as public servants. They think they are the personal servants of the rulers. I want to remind such officers that they are the servants of the state. They are nobody's personal servants. They are paid by the people, not by General Musa's bank. Their salaries are drawn from the taxes paid by the people. Of course, the present rulers have enough money in banks to pay the salaries of the Government servants but anyway for the time being the Government servants are being paid from the public exchequer. They owe their fat salaries and high prestige to the public. They are not paid to act as yes-men. They are required to advise the Government correctly and act according to the law. They should tell the Government that its demands are illegal. The Government servants are supposed to refuse the illegal demands of the Ministers. That is why they are paid and given respect and honour. They must advise the Government against adopting incorrect policies. Governments may come and go but the officers are to serve permanently. It is their responsibility to guide the Government properly.
What are the present-day government officers doing? They don't have the courage to say no to an unjust demand of the Government. They always say yes. In fact, they go a step further and act like sycophants. They always appreciate the ideas expressed by those who are in power. When these bureaucrats have failed to do their duty, what is the need of keeping them in service? Perhaps, they are required by the rulers to win elections. That is one reason why so much power has been bestowed upon them. That is why this Government cannot control them. That is why they openly indulge in corruption. They do not conceal their acceptance of bribes. They do not accept illegal gratification in the darkness of the night or under the table. They do it openly and demand it openly because they are not afraid of anyone. They are not accountable to anyone. There is no one to turn them out because this Government depends upon them. This Government is always conscious that it has to win the elections through these officers. The result is that bribery is on the increase. Their pomp and show is on the increase. The poor people can't have their problems solved. If for no other reason, we need democracy for this reason alone.
In a democratic system people elect their representatives. The power is in the hands of the people and not in the hands of a few bodyguards. In a democracy the elected representatives cannot ignore the people for fear of being rejected in the next polls. We, therefore, have to struggle for democracy of the people.
At present there is concentration of political power. The economic power of the country is also concentrated in the hands of the 22 families. They can indulge in any amount of black marketing or smuggling. Nobody dare touch them. This Government depends on these families for its elections as it does on the officers. Under this corrupt system the country can never progress and the problems of the common man can never be solved.
Our struggle is for the betterment of Pakistan. It is not a question of personal differences. It is also not a matter of clash of personalities. I want to make it clear that there is no personal element in it. We differ on principles and want to fight for principles. Strange are the ways of this Government! If we demand the rights of the common man, the Government comes out with a conspiracy case. If we talk of economic salvation of the people, leaders are jailed. They make every matter personal. When I make a speech and say that people should be given their rights, propaganda is launched against me that I am trying to launch a revolution, that I want bloodshed in the country. I am not afraid of it. I say that I want a revolution in the country. But who said first that there would be bloodshed in the country. You may not remember it but it was Ayub Khan who first said that there would be bloodshed in the country. He said it during the election campaign against Mohtrama Fatima Jinnah. When he talks of bloodshed it is considered neither a crime nor rebellion. I say that if this suppression and tyranny continues, it may plunge the country into a bloodbath and it is no crime to say so. Why do you charge me with fomenting a revolution? I say that if Government does not mend its ways there will be trouble. After all there have been troubles in other countries.
Why do they object to my talking of revolution, when they are celebrating ten years of their revolution? They claim to have brought about a revolution! We know the real worth of this revolution. We know the reality of the ten years of progress. If the word revolution is not liked by you, then don't talk of a revolution yourself. Or do you mean that a revolution in your favour is good and a revolution in favour of the common man is undesirable?
They are already preparing to contest the elections. But their preparations for the elections are confined to the collection of money from the 22 families. What type of preparation for elections is this? The real preparation is to go to the people and to serve them but they will not do it. They will only demand money from the 22 families. We know very well the type of elections to be held under the present system. The elections in this system are won through officers, through police and through money. People do not come into the picture because they do not have the vote. It is 1,20,000 'Brahmins' which ill vote. The opposition parties have not decided to take part in the elections, because they have no faith left in the system. They do not regard it as an election of the people. It is only our party, the Pakistan People's Party which has decided to participate in the elections. They may use their police and officers and wealth but we will take part in the elections. It is not because we have faith in it. It is the need of the hour. We know that this path is thorny and there will be many trials and tribulations but we must do our duty towards the nation and that is why we will take part in these elections.
That is one way to serve the people. It educates the people and makes them more and more conscious of national problems. You can well understand that if Mohtrama Fatima Jinnah had not contested the elections what difference it would have made; but she was not worried about victory or defeat. She had only the service of the people in mind. As a matter of fact her participation in the elections made the people rise from their slumber and the Government also realised that the people were against them. If she had not contested the elections, the political awakening which we see today would have been impossible. These elections again provided us with an opportunity. We know that the present system is defective. In a democratic system people are allowed to cast their votes directly. The ballot boxes in the present system play many tricks with the votes placed in them, even with 120,000 votes. But we are not worried. We are not worried about victory. We are not after power. We have no lust for power. The present rulers are the ones who have lust for power. Even after 10 years of power and even after having seen the hatred of the people, they are not prepared to quit the Government.
The present rulers have seen that the people of this area are against them. The people of Bengal are against them. The people of Sind, Punjab. Baluchistan and Frontier are against them. There is no area, howsoever small, in this vast country where the people favour this Government. Right from Khyber to Karachi and from Karachi to Chittagong, the whole country is fed up with them. People are simply disgusted but the rulers are not prepared to go out of office. They charge me with lust for power, forgetting I gave up power for principles.
I have told you that the people nowhere are happy with this Government. But one can look at the whole affair from another angle. May we ask them what the plight of the workers is? What do they get? What wages are paid to them? What are the facilities they enjoy? Do they enjoy medical care? Do they get food, clothing and shelter? Nowhere in the world is the worker so poor. Animals in other countries lead a better life.
What about the farmers? They are even worse off. They are living in stark poverty. The labourers are poor and the farmers are poor and these classes constitute 80 per cent of the population.
Then they accuse me of misleading the students. How can I mislead the students? They are educated, they are conscious. Do you allow me to meet the students? Do you allow me to go and address them in the universities? Never. Ever since I have left the Government, I have not been permitted to speak to the students of the Peshawar University even once. I have never been allowed to go to the Punjab, the Sind, the Karachi or the Dacca universities. How then can I mislead them?
And so far as the reporting of my speeches in the press is concerned, they publish what is never said by me. They distort my views. Those sitting in Islamabad, these know-alls should take off their spectacles.
If I am allowed to go and speak in the universities, if the papers don't carry my speeches while the Government's allegations against me are published, and if the Government also controls the radio and every T.V, programme, how then and by what means am I misleading the students?
The fact is that students understand the issues before us. The rulers dare not meet them. Why don't the rulers ask the students why they are hostile to them and their University Ordinance? Uncertainty has been introduced into their future. If their cooperation is needed, the Government should look into their problems; open new colleges for them; give them more schools: and reduce the fees.
And if the Government knew about the students' problems why did it not solve them before they took out processions and demonstrated? Does this mean that the rulers were teaching them the lesson that the people's problems will never be solved unless they demonstrate, and launch a campaign? Nothing was done for the students of Karachi till their Struggle began. It was only when they had left their classrooms that the Government declared that it will solve their problems. I must say that this is a very strange policy that as long as the people are quiet, nothing is done to solve their problems or to end their exploitation. There is a limit to toleration. When that limit is crossed, people are bound to launch a struggle. Then it is said that some disruptionist is at their back. How can one disruptionist misguide millions of people? The people are restive because during the last ten years their problems have never received proper consideration.
Whenever I declare that I would say something about the Tashkent Declaration, it is said that I am under an oath not to divulge any secrets of the Government I never said that I shall reveal as to how the meeting was arranged and how the agreement was signed. If I had said that, it would have been against my oath. I only said that I shall talk about Tashkent and there is no secret about it. If it is a secret that the Tashkent Declaration was signed then I am guilty, but everyone knows that there was an agreement at Tashkent. The whole world knows about it. It is no secret. Why is the Government afraid of it? It is not without reason and the reason is that they have committed so many blunders.
I had said at Hyderabad that when the time comes I shall speak on Tashkent in Karachi or Lahore, and when the time comes I will make a speech in Lahore, whatever the cost. The Government may try to frighten me but I know what is meant by an oath. It is they who don't know the sanctity of the oath. May I ask under what oath was Martial Law declared? They should not try to educate me on these matters. Whatever I feel is in the interest of the nation I shall speak about. That is my duty. At the appropriate time I shall speak on the subject in Lahore.
Gentlemen! You should have a little patience I shall come to Kohat again. The time has come when the rulers will also come out. So they will come and we shall come too. We shall come before you. We shall come with empty hands. Our pockets will be empty. We don't have money to misuse in the Basic Democracies' system. We don't have the police with batons. We don't have Government servants with us who place our votes in the ballot boxes. We shall come as we are and, brothers, we shall be victorious Insha Allah, because we shall fight for the cause of the people, for their self-determination for the betterment of their lot. It will be in your interest that we win.
My dear brothers! This time will pass. The kingdoms of Alexander and Pharaohs have perished. Nobody's rule is permanent. This Government too will go one day.
Good deeds will be remembered. If somebody has served the people he will be remembered. You know that the Quaid-i-Azam was in public life for 40 years but he was in power for just over a year. All his life he Struggled and was in the opposition. Congress offered all types of temptations to him. They offered to give him the top position in India if he gave up the demand for Pakistan, but he refused. Although he was in power for less than two years his glory is great and unequalled. Then there was Sher-e-Bengal Fazl-ul-Haq. How long was he in power? Only a few years of his long life of 90 years, but he is referred to as the Lion of Bengal today. It does not matter how long one holds the reins of power. Power is temporary. It has got to go one day. If I say that the days of this Government are numbered, this is not spreading rebellion.