I have returned to the country after a long voyage undertaken in the name of Pakistan, to report to our people the outcome of my mission, a mission whose success has been marred only by recent incidents of violence in the land. Who does not know, who does not understand the formidable challenge Pakistan faces? Is it not clear that a variety of inimical forces have synchronized their actions. We have to reckon with these forces.
I am not the head of a desk-bound Government without vision or feeling. We have not barricaded ourselves into isolation. We will not allow events to overtake us. We have done our duty with courage and determination to clear the debris. Every human endeavour is being made to salvage the situation. Take the journey I have concluded today. A part from the physical strain it entailed, it was a hard mental and moral task.
It is tragic that a well-planned and well-timed intrigue should have been stage to undermine the successes that came to Pakistan as a result of this diplomatic initiative. Let the people judge. They are endowed with the finest commonsense. I appeal to them to use this inherent virtue of theirs to arrive at an objective assessment. They should ask, why now, of all times, should the labour situation have exploded in Karachi. The new labour policy introduced was widely welcomed, production was on the increase, as indeed, it must following the devaluation of our currency. A fresh confidence was returning to a bruised nation. And now, in the process of this march forward attempts are being made, at this very time, to halt the wheels of industry. Everyone knows what will happen if there is industrial depression. Prices will soar, there will be further unemployment, unrest and strife, there will be disorder and chaos. Can a country which is torn with dissidence and unrest, make an economic breakthrough or even hope to survive if this is to be the performance, if this is to be the approach to a total crisis? Please search your minds and hearts for an answer to this question.
I can tell, and there is no doubt in my mind, that the trouble in Karachi is not accidental, neither the language issue nor the strife in labour. It has been master-minded and coordinated to cast its long shadow on the negotiating table in Delhi. The implications are obvious for any country in our predicament. We need not look far to see what other nations do in such circumstances. We need only to look at our neighbour and adversary. Has India not got language problems? Has India not got chronic unemployment? Has India not got illiteracy, want and hunger? But for the time being the people of India have set aside their domestic quarrels to concentrate all their efforts and energies to assert their advantage against Pakistan in the critical days lying ahead. We need to exercise national discipline and responsibility to advance our national interests at the negotiating table.
Let us look at the labour situation. We have the highest respect for our working classes. We have their mandate and their support. It was the Pakistan People’s Party which was the first to articulate their problems and raise the banner of social revolution. We consolidated the forces of labour and we led them to victory. How can we work against their interests? How can we be opposed to their just demands? The people must think and consider. They must clearly understand and identify the forces which are working against them and against Pakistan at this decisive hour.
On another front, the same forces of darkness have triggered off all over against he same controversy. Who now? Why at this time again? What is the purpose? You will recall that in my Sanghar speech I made the position on language clear and the people accepted the principle I had laid down. The constitutional position is well known to the perpetrators of disorder. Urdu’s position has been spelt out and the position of other languages has also been delineated. There is no genuine controversy. There is no genuine fear. But why are processions being taken out in the streets and language defence fronts being formed? Certainly not for the sudden love of a language. Discerning observers will not that the passions being whipped up are artificial, devoid of any sincere desire to save one or the other language from dying. Everyone knows that there is not heart to any language, national or provincial. All will flourish side by side.
I am pained to have to say these things, but look at what has happened. I have come back from this journey strong and resolute in spirit because we have won laurels for Pakistan. Everywhere we received support for Pakistan’s position. In country after country, people and governments rallied for our just cause, assuring us of their solidarity and promising to stand behind us. There was deep jubilation in my heart because I know that we had vindicated Pakistan’s position and that we could go to Delhi strengthened in our resolve for a durable peace with equity. But two days before I was to come back, there were these ugly incidents in Karachi. These incidents synchronized rather precisely with my return. They have sought to set our success you success at naught. They have tried to cut our hands, the limbs of Pakistan, those who are responsible for these tragic events would like us to face India, weak, divided and dissent ridden. We will not be brow beaten nor will we succumb to agitational politics. We are in the midst of a crusade for a New Pakistan. We will not permit anyone to stand in our way. Let me put everyone on notice that we will carry our cause with determination to the end.
I appeal to the people of Pakistan to think dispassionately, analyse with maturity the mischief of forces that are at work against us. These are not imaginary elements. They have been at work against Pakistan since its inception. True they have succeeded in the recent past but we will not allow them now to succeed in their efforts to complete the liquidation of Pakistan. This will never happen.
If the negotiations at Delhi are to succeed on the basis of the principles which we hold inviolable, then, my dear countrymen, you must always keep in mind that a house divided against itself cannot stand.
Now let me inform you of my visit to the Middle East and Africa. This tour was undertaken, as I have explained before, in continuation of my visit to eight countries of this region in January. These countries stood by Pakistan and in doing so upheld the principles and values of the Charter of the Untied Nations and Bandung. These countries continue to abide by the General Assembly Resolution of 7th December and the Security Council Resolution of 21st December, 1971. one hundred and four member states of the United Nations supported the principles of Territorial integrity and non-intervention. Although I tried to cover many countries., it was simply not possible to visit all the countries that boldly supported Pakistan’s position. This does not, in any manner, mean that we hold them in less esteem or regard. We are equally thankful to them.
In the course of our discussions in all the capitals, we explained the dynamics of the new order we have established and the gigantic task of reconstruction we have undertaken. Also conversed in depth was the situation in the subcontinent in the context of our forthcoming discussions with India. I am happy to inform you that everywhere our viewpoint was appreciated and we received understanding and support on our basic position. This can be seem from the joint communiqués and statements issued in all fourteen capitals.
Our first stop was Abu Dhabi. His highness the Shaikh was with us only last month and the warm reception accorded to us was in keeping with the close and fraternal ties which bind the Union of Arab Emirates and Pakistan. His highness reaffirmed the solidarity that characterizes our relations. The same day, we visited Kuwait and were greeted with brotherly regard. Our discussions were wide ranging and symbolic of the existing identity of views between us.
The next day, we traveled to Baghdad. We were accorded a warm welcome by President Hasan Al-Bakr and his Government. It was after more than a decade that contact at this level was renewed with Iraq. The discussions held were valuable. Our stay was further enriched by a visit to the sacred shrines of Baghdad, including the Mazars of Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam, Hazrat Imam Abu-Hanifa, and the Kaemain.
We then proceed to the Lebanon an Arab country where the people for two faiths, Islam and Christianity, maintain a sagacious understanding and unity. We were treated with gracious hospitality, and also understanding was shown for our position on fundamental issues.
Our next stop was Amman. King Hussain and the people of Jordan accorded us a touching welcome. In the spirit of Islamic brotherhood they have shared our difficulties, and expressed their support for Pakistan.
In Saudi Arabia the King traveled to Jedda to meet us. We not only received warm hospitality and wise counsel but also had the satisfaction of a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.
My sojourn in Saudi Arabia was one of the greatest experiences of my life, as in the life of any Muslim. I went to the two holy cities to seek spiritual strength and to pray for the future well being of Pakistan and our people. It was indeed a great honour to have been admitted withint the portals of the Khana-i-Kaaba. It is only once a year that they are opened. King Feisal, who is a pious Muslim, sensing the deep yearning I had to enter the Holy of holies, ordered that the doors of the Kaaba be opened to me. I prayed, in all humility, for our people, for strength and for Allah’s blessings in the difficult days that life ahead. We went to the Masjid-i-Nabvi to offer Friday prayers and Allah, in His magnanimity, saw fit to permit a fallible individual like me to stand and pray from the Mehrab where the Prophet of Islam (Peace be upon him) stood and prayed. Later we were allowed inside the Rauza-i-Mubarak of the Holy Prophet.
That I should have been chosen for these penultimate honours in the life of a Muslim, is a vindication of the people’s will, the people who have elected me to lead them and serve Pakistan.
After completing the Middle Eastern tour I was the first Head of state with ours and with which we are determined to have ever-increasing contacts based on principles which unify the Third World.
Our first stop was Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. This fraternal country has not only stood by us but its leadership and people clearly desire closer political and economic links with the people of Pakistan.
The next country on our itinerary was Ethiopia. Here we were given a splendid and colourful welcome. I found my discussions with Emperor Haile Selassie most illuminating. He is a wise and experienced ruler who attaches great importance to principles of international conduct without which the world community may well dissolve into anarchy and chaos.
We then traveled to Khartoum in the Sudan. Under their leader, President Numeiry, the brotherly Sudanese people have upheld our cause and are keen to develop ties in all fields, a desire we warmly reciprocate. Sudan’s support to us is reinforced by their dedication to the ideals of Islamic unity and social justice.
We then flew across the continent to Lagos, capital for Nigeria, the largest nation in Africa. Having known attempted secession and its consequences, she attaches great importance to international principles of sovereignty and integrity of nation states and non-interference. I found my talks with General Gowon and bis colleagues most valuable.
Conakry the capital of the Democratic Republic of Guinea was our next stop. We received a most stirring and spontaneous reception from President Ahmed Sekou Toure and his people. Apart from valuable discussions, I also had the honour of addressing a large assembly at the People’s Hall where President Toure ot only showed the warmth of his feelings of Pakistan but also spoke eloquently for the rights of oppressed people every where.
The last country visited in Africa was Mauritania, the only other Islamic Republic I the world. We received warm and generous hospitality from President Daddah and the people. Our talks were friendly and fruitful.
We turned homewards thereafter and reached Izmir, in Turkey. Here I presided over a conference of our Ambassadors in the Middle East and Africa. This was an occasion to share views and to give broad directives for our current foreign policy.
I had a brief but valuable meeting with President Cavdat Sunay and his colleagues at Ankara, and then reached the hospitable capital of our fraternal neighbour, Iran. As everyone knows in Pakistan the Shahinshah is a sincere friend and well-wisher of Pakistan. He is familiar with our problems. My talks with him were extremely useful. Apart from reviewing the situation in the subcontinent, we also discussed the problems of the region and possibilities of still closer co-operation. He apprised me of President Nixon’s visit to Teheran.
I missed no opportunity of addressing Pakistani Communities. I informed them about the situation at home and the many reforms introduced by my Government. I also urged them to maintain the trust placed in them by their country of residence through loyalty and hard work.
For a variety of good reasons I undertook this journey. It was necessary sary to meet and consult friends and neighbours on the eve of our crucial negotiations with India. To sum up the accomplishments of our mission, I would say that all the countries we visited upheld the Untied Nations and Bandung principles, reaffirmed their support for the U.N. 7Resolutions of 7th and 21st December, 1971, reiterated their support for Pakistan, condemned aggression and foreign intervention, and demanded the withdrawal of troops and the return of POWs in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Resolution.
While our friends abroad lent us full support, certain elements at home have suggested, directly and by innuendo that the agreement, if any, that is to take place at Delhi has already been reached. Can anything be more absurd? These allegations come not from the people but from a coterie of dissident and disgruntled individuals of yesterday. I consider it an insult to take seriously these charlatans.
We are the creation of the people and we have their trust. We have established in Pakistan the principle of accountability and we have implemented this principle at every step. Our actions have been and will remain subject to the judgment of the people. We will, as we alwys have, carry out their mandate.
The negotiations with India are not going to be easy and we should have no illustions. I have pointed out repeatedly that we have to face the aftermath of war. We lost half our country and nearly 90,000 of our men are in Indian POW camps. No disengagement has taken place, in fact, there have been serious incidents on the borders. I have expressed the people’s feelings for a peaceful settlement based on equity. The search for peace is hard and arduous but circumstances make it necessary.
An effort is being made, sincerely and with courage, to settle our differences with India at the conference table. For the first time the people are being taken into confidence and kept fully informed. For the first time realism is coming into play as against political deceit. We seek peace and we will make our contribution to the achievement of this peace. A peace built on principles and not on the changing exigencies of power politics. People speak of political realities but political realities change only principles are permanent.
To those who allege that we are already committed to the outcome of the forthcoming negotiations with India, I say I have no commitment except my commitment to the people and to the supreme interest of Pakistan.
Coming back to the internal situation, I have summoned the Governor and the Chief Minister of Sindh to meet me with their officials for a through run-down on the situation. I need not assure labour that I have always kept and will continue to keep their interests uppermost. I will also call the custodians of the languages so that we have no misunderstanding on either side.
I grieve for the bereaved families of those who died at Karachi. Money cannot make amends for the irreparable loss of invaluable human lives. Nevertheless, compensation will be paid to the families of all those who lost their lives. A judicial enquiry will be held. All genuine demands will be met. I will do all that is required. But, my dear workers, will you not listen to me and stop gheraos and jalaos? Please do listen to me because I speak for you and your children. Sons of the labouring classes, the day of judgment awaits all of us. I tell you as your friends, as your brother to harken to my appeal. Believe me, your interest is supreme.
I did not struggle for the people of Pakistan to see this day of Pakistanis killing Pakistanis. I did not leave for foreign lands to see trouble behind my back. I will not permit fratricidal violence. At the same time as the Head of State, I cannot but do my duty to see that the forces of anarchy and chaos do not hold sway.
I shall also all the student leaders and the representatives of labour. I shall summon editors and intellectuals. I must meet all sections of people before I leave for India. With all my friends and brothers, with all our youth, we shall have a dialogue to settle every problem in the collective interest.
Let us trust each other, stand together and move forward to build Pakistan.
In the end I would like to thank all members of my entourage, both officials and non-officials, the journalists who accompanied me and the crew of the Pakistan International Airlines which did a splendid job. Without the help and co-operation of everyone this journey of hope and fulfillment would not have been possible.