Gentlemen, I am very happy to meet you after such a long time. The Chief Minster and the Governor of Sindh told me before I came here that you feel that there has not been enough contact between us and we have not met for a long time. Bother suggested that we should meet at Karachi. It is my pleasure to meet you. We are old friends. If I have not held a press conference in Karachi this does not mean that I have forgotten my friends.
I have spoken a great deal on basic problems that face us, problems about which I have talked in Murree, and I have given interviews to a number of foreign correspondents and that was being deliberately done to put all the mosaic pieces together.
Here also this morning, I had productive discussions with students and labour leaders and other people whom you generally call intelligentsia. We talked about our relations with India, talked about East Pakistan or Bangladesh, I do not know what you prefer to say, but Dacca authorities should be more precise so that both the points of view are covered. And I told them what I have been telling others and now I tell you that I leave for Lahore tomorrow. We are in Lahore for two days and on the 28th morning at about 11:00 we leave for Chandigarh and from Chandigarh to Simla.
I know that whatever the political difficulties at home, I feel, I am convinced that I am going with the blessings of all of you, the whole nation and this is a matter of great satisfaction to me that we might fight at home, tear hair apart and get angry and excited with each other about there are moments like this, the present one. I know I have your blessings and I have your good wishes and this means a great deal and I believe this means more to me than any things else. And I can assure you, I am from you I belong to you. I cannot do anything which is not in the interest of Pakistan.
I have said that as far as any fundamental decisions are concerned which I feel might be of controversial nature, those will not be taken. Those, I will come back to Pakistan and report to you but finally report to the National Assembly of Pakistan. National Assembly with all its limitations is the only democratic procedure from which you can get a people’s verdict. And we will go to the National Assembly when it is convened on the 14th August and we will place the fundamental problems before the assembly. After that we can meet Indian leaders again. Why should this be the first and the last meeting? I could not understand the logic of it when at Tashkent the argument was used that clear the decks and do everything here and leave nothing for the future. No one can put a full-stop to history. You can put commas or semicolons but last page of history is never written.
We can continue discussions with India. From our discussions we will see the Indian attitude. If they want to live in peace, we want to live in peace. Step by step, build every achievement towards peace and build the edifice on that basis. We are prepared. Why does India want guarantees from Pakistan for peace? It is Pakistan which needs guarantees from India. India is the bigger country. India is a more resourceful country. India’s military machine now has become formidable. Smaller countries have suffered from Indian attacks again and again culminating in 1971. it is we who need assurances.
You might ask me why I do not call the assembly before. The point is that I will come back to Pakistan in the beginning of July and like to meet Mr. Mujibur Rahman and that will also be sometime in July. We will try to arrange a meeting because immediately after I come back to Pakistan I have to be a short time at home having discussions, and attending to other internal matter. Either in the middle of July or at the end of July I will meet Mr. Mujibur Rahman, I hope. This is our effort. The Assembly will in any case meet on August 14. So it fits in very well with the anticipated developments in the matter. And I repeat again I will discuss in India, Indo-Pakistan problems, short term as well as long term. As far as Bangladesh is concerned, I have made the position quite clear that these are matters between us and the leader of East Pakistan. They do not concern, strictly speaking, India although of course there are overlapping considerations, but they essentially concern us and the leaders of east Pakistan. We are prepared to go to Dacca but if they do not think it is right and if Mr. Mujibur Rahman does jot want to come here, we can meet anywhere. It is a pretty big world. I am prepared to meet him anywhere to discuss our relationship a kind of relationship that we discussed between 27th December and 7th January, 1972. after that we will come to Pakistan and the Assembly will be called. As we go to the Assembly, we go to the people. This is the position.