I am sure I am leaving for India with your blessing. You know that from the very first day it has been my fundamental principle that on all basic issues I must consult my people and that every step that I take, should have the consent and support of my fellow countrymen. For this very purpose I have given you the trouble of coming here today.
I meet the members of my party in the National and provincial Assemblies practically every day. We hold Cabinet meetings and exchange views. These things go on every day. I am not addressing them today. My speech is not directed towards them. Today, I am addressing the general mass of the people—the poor people, the workers and peasant. I am doing so because it is my conviction that only your decisions are correct. The people who are in power and those in the opposition, generally have some political motive. Those who are running the economy and those who are holding jobs and those who are holding high appointments, always have some interests. The poor people have none. Their only interest is the self-respect of the nation, the survival of the nation, the dignity of the nation and the progress of the people. Therefore, correct decisions always come from the general mass of the people. We, who are in the Government, and those who are in the opposition, always take one view according to the rules of politics. Some one sitting on one side says one thing while the others on the other side, quite another. The correct direction is generally given only by the people. Therefore, before I leave for Simla I want to tell you two or three important things.
The first is that after the cease-fire, on December 17, when I returned to Pakistan from New York, and when I took the oath of office of the President on December 20, the questions about our prisoners of war, our future relations with India, the issues of Kashmir and East Pakistan (Bangladesh) loomed large before us. There were problems all around, in foreign affairs, in internal affairs, in the economic field and on the constitutional plane and there were problems of Martial Law and Democracy. But as I leave for India today the main problems that face us are. What kind of relations should we have with India—what kind of life should we lead on this subcontinent? These are basic issues.
The second important question is that of the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir. Do we still uphold this principle or do we, after three wars, need some kind of settlement?
The third question is that of East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Apart from this, there is the issue of our prisoners of war and many other allied questions. But these three or four issues are the most important ones. We have to consider them and we have to review them and we have to find some kind of solution for these questions. The first is, as I have repeated in every speech, that I shall make no important or basic decision in Simla nor have I any right to do so. I have no power to take a decision. It is true that you have voted for me. You have voted me and my party into power with a large majority. You have reposed your trust in me. Besides, the national Assembly has given us its vote of confidence and passed a resolution to that effect. In addition the three Provincial Assemblies have also passed resolutions of confidence in us. But despite all this, I count for nothing. It is you who count in the scheme of things. I am not that kind of person who would go to Simla and decide some basic issues without your permission. But how will you give me that permission? I cannot go to every man’s opinion. Democracy has taught us only one method and no one devised a better method than this up-till now. That method is that you should place these basic issues before the members of the National Assembly for decision. They are the ones you have elected, it is they who will take a decision on basic issues. The National Assembly means you, the people of Pakistan.
The decisions that you will have to make would be; what kind of future we want. Do we want confrontation to continue despite the lessons of three previous wars which resulted in greater poverty, misery and want. If you say that this is the kind of life you want and that you would remain poor and that we do not want to make any progress and that the same policy of confrontation should continue, then it is your choice. But if you feel that some change is needed, that there should be peace with honour and dignity, peace with respect for principles and that we should lead a peaceful life and should also make economic progress and that they (Indians) should also make economic progress that our relations should also take on a new look, then this decision also will have to be made by you. Decision –making rests in your hands. The very essence of democracy is that such decisions are not to be taken either by one individual or by a government, or by a Junta. These decisions, being basic and fundamental, are the ones that you alone will have to take. So far as the question of recognition of East Pakistan is concerned, as I have said in every speech and told everyone who has met me including my friends and members of my party and those belonging to the other parties, that this is a decision for the National Assembly to take. If you say “no” to this then it is no, whatever way you may decide. I only wish to point out that this decision too will be made by the National Assembly. Let us, therefore, be in no hurry about it. (Responding to the clamour “on, no”) I know you have said “on”. If everyone says “on”, then I cannot say “yes”. But this is no ordinary issue nor is this an easy decision to make. Therefore, you will have to think a great deal before arriving at a decision. If you want to be emotional, well, I am not against being emotional. The most emotional person in Pakistan is myself. But emotions alone will not do. We shall have to rely on both emotion and sense. We shall have to consider the whole situation dispassionately. We shall have to ponder over the consequences of our decision. What would be the consequences if we recognize Bangladesh and what would happen if we do not? Therefore, the real debate shall take place in the National Assembly is to meet on August 13 where every member shall be free to speak on this issue. there will be no time limit.
You will listen to all debates and all discussions in the national Assembly. You will listen to all arguments in favour and against. Therefore, there is no need for hurry. This is the question of your destiny, matter-that will affect your future, indeed the future of the coming generations. I repeat, therefore, that the final decision shall be taken by the National Assembly.
When I make this announcement once again, I do not mean to criticize anyone. This is no time for criticizing any one. However, I regret to say that some people are using it as a political weapon. They allege that there will be another Tashkent and that I will only put my thumb impression on a formula that has been decided and accepted earlier. This is a wild charge. Why should there be another Tashkent and that I will only put my thumb impression on a formula that has been decided and accepted earlier. This is a wild charge. Why should there be another Tashkent? I was there at Tashkent. I was the Foreign Minister then. If I did not accept Tashkent when I was the Foreign Minster and if I cold walk out, I can also stage a walk out at Simla. Why should I agree to a Tashkent. What right have I? what authority have I to agree toa Tashkent. Only those people can agree to a Tashkent who do not have national consensus behind them and who are not from the people. I am the product of a democratic system. My power and my honour is in your hands, under no circumstances can a people ‘s representative, a national representative take a single decision against the interests of the people. If I did not commit treason against the nation at the time when I was only your Foreign Minister and not your President, and when you had sent my party to the National Assembly with such overwhelming majority why should I agree to a Tashkent now? There shall be no Tashkent under any circumstances. Yet, we will try to ensure fair decisions—decisions based on justice, decisions that will not go against the interests of our country. There is need for decisions that will not go against the interests of our country. There is need for decisions, but for correct decisions only. No decisions harming the interest of Pakistan will be acceptable. Neither will there be any secret agreement. We are not the kind of people who will enter into secret agreements. We are the product of a democratic system. Those who derive power from democracy do not enter into secret agreements.
To allege that all decisions have been taken in Moscow already and we are going to Simla only to affix our thumb impressions on these agreements, is a fantastic lie. Thee is a limit to everything.
If all decisions have been taken in Moscow, then why did I first tour eight Muslim countries, and later fourteen countries of the Middle East and Africa? After all Russia has many friends and allies thee. I do not want to mention them. But I go there and request them that they should support us on Kashmir, and on the issue of East Pakistan, i.e they should not recognize it for the time being. If we had signed some secret agreement in Russia, then her allies and our friends would have told us, why are you telling us all this? You have already signed an agreement there. Would Russia not have told these countries already that this man has signed agreements in Moscow. In that case countries would have told us “why do you ask us not to recognize Bangladesh for the time being when you have already agreed to this in Russia”? if we had come back from Russia after signing secret agreements, then the countries I have visited would have definitely come to know of this and recognized the Bangladesh by now.
As far as the question of Kashmir is concerned there can be no compromise on the issue of the right of self-determination because this right belongs to the people of Kashmir.
There is no question of a confederation either. Why should we agree to a confederation at all? Let us first run own federal Government ladia or with any other country. When we are opposed to any confederation with our own friends, our great friends, then why should we confederate with India? But the question is that twenty-five years have elapsed and in these 25 years there have been three wars which have decided nothing. The greatest sufferers in these wars have been the poor people.
There all now strive for progress and I do not think there is a single there, whatever his party, who may say that maximum efforts should not be made for restoring peace in the sub-continent so that our people could lead a peaceful and honourable life. India too, is brimming over with poor people and we want them also to progress. That is one of the main reasons behind my visit to India.
I have spoken to you very frankly, even though these things should not have been discussed in public. The basic facts that I have presented before you are the same two or three important issues. You will have to decide on these. There have never been any secret agreement nor will there be any in future. And, there is no question of a confederation whatsoever. Nevertheless, we shall do our very best to ensure progress and restoration of normal relations between India and Pakistan with honour and national pride. There will never be a compromise on basic issues. Under no circumstances will I betray you. Why should I deceive my people? Why should I misguide my country? Every since my school days, when I was 15, I had worked for Pakistan. How can I let down the people of Pakistan and endanger its integrity. After all I have served Pakistan since the age of 18.
I am your and you are mine and, Insha Allah, the people would triumph. Pakistan shall be victorious.
Have your confidence in me. Do I have your confidence? If so, raise hands. (Audience raise hands). Do I go to India with your blessings? (Audience say ‘yes ‘yes’ and raise hands).