In a frank exchange of views with top labour leaders president Z.A. Bhutto said that the entire spectrum of labour problems was under his personal scrutiny and he was closely watching the industrial lockout situation.
Beside the labour leaders the president also held a series of meetings with representative groups of students and the intelligentsia in continuation of similar meetings to elicit have views of the people on the forthcoming summit and other matters of fundamental national importance.
The President told the labour leaders that he had been deeply pained at the recent happenings in Karachi in which many precious lives were lost. My anguish is as great today as it was when I first learnt of what had happened. He said, he wanted industrial peace so that Pakistan could grow and prosper. He was always deeply mindful of the problems facing the working classes and would not permit any injustice to be done to them.
Talking to the student leaders the President said, that there was no question of by-passing the national Assembly in the matter of recognition of “Bangladesh” or any other matter of fundamental national importance.
He told the students that they should not allow issues such as language to divide them. We must live together if we are to survive, he said. The president added that there was no real controversy on the language question. The place of the national language and regional languages had been clearly laid down. Those who were trying to divide the people today on this issue had ulterior motives.
All languages, the president said, should co-exist and flourish together. He told the student leaders to persuade their followers not to fight among themselves. You are the new generation, he said, if you cannot learn to remain united, what will become of Pakistan? The president asked.
The president’s meeting with a representative group of the intelligentsia was characterized by frank and fruitful discussion. The president was assured that he was going to India with the entire nation behind him. We trust your Judgment and your ability to negotiate an honourable peace with India. We know and believe that you will not do anything to damage the national interest. You have the people’s confidence, the intellectuals told the president.
The President said that every issue would be referred to the people through their elected representative. The only durable peace was a fair peace, the only kind of peace he would make a determined search for. He said that the task before him was grave but he had no doubt that with courage and determination and national unity, Paksitan’s difficulties would be overcome. We will proceed cautiously, step by step. I am sure we will not falter, he added.
The president said that within the framework of fundamental principles there was plenty of scope for give-and-take, provided there was a genuine willingness on the part of India to find a lasting and fair settlement.