President: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, declared to a gathering of eminent lawyers that the only pressure he recognized was the pressure of the people of Pakistan. “As far as I am concerned all foreign pressure are irrelevant.”
The president said that the questions of “Bangladesh” and of concluding a settlement with India was not an election issue. it was an issue of destiny. As such, he could not ride roughshod over the people’s wishes. Finally he declared, it is the nation’s views which are going to prevail, not mine.
He reiterated his determination to take the question of the recognition or otherwise of “Bangladesh” to the National Assembly which, he added, was the only recognized and democratically accepted forum for ascertaining the national will.
The president said that India had no locus stand in the matter. It is for the leaders of East and West to get together and decide what form our future relations will take, he added. He said it seemed that India would prefer a continuing estrangement between East and West. If we turn our backs on our brothers in the East, other forces will step in, he remarked.
He said he was a creation of the people and had arisen from them through a popular struggle. The people are my only source. How can I betray them and their trust? He said that since the people had chosen him to lead them, it was his responsibility to show them the way, provide them the leads but it is an inter-mixture because I am basically subject to the people’s will, he remarked.
The President said that while it was essential to build the nation’s morale, morale was not chauvinism, as some people were trying to make out. He said that there was no question of accepting an unequal or bad settlement because a bad settlement could never work, Why should I, an individual, accept the odium when the people are with me and wish me a negotiate a durable and honourable peace, he stated. I do not wish to be judged harshly by history. My only loyalty is to Pakistan and I will live and die for it, he said.
One man, the President said, can destroy a country, but one man cannot rebuild. Without the support of the people, I am powerless, he stated.