Addressing about 3,000 PPP workers of Lahore city assembled in Gulistan-i-Fatima, the President of Pakistan and Founder-Chairman, PPP, Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto said that whenever he came to Lahore, he met the workers of the Party. He said that he could never be too busy to meet the workers.
It was his effort that he should continue meeting the workers of the Party. He was always pleased to meet the workers of the Party because they are the warriors of the people's cause and they, through their valiant struggle, sincerity and untiring selfless efforts, made the Party successful and propagated the Party programme among the masses.
The President said that the day he arrived in Lahore, he asked the governor that he wanted to meet the Party workers. He said that he met the MNAs and why should not he meet the workers too because fundamentally, “I can never forget the sacrifices of the Party workers and the people.”
The President thanking the workers said that the meeting was a Party workers' meeting and was not for any specific purpose but to meet the Party workers.
The President said that he intended touring N.W.F.P. after the sacred month of Ramazan for about a fortnight and during his tour he would address public meetings and Party workers. After his tour of N.W.F.P. he would go to the capital and after that he would tour Punjab districts during November and December.
He said: “We need democracy. We have fought for it. This is the age of democracy. We do encourage freedom of expression, academic freedom and we want that every party and its leaders should go to the people and tour and explain their point of view with full responsibility and decorum, because the people are the final judges.”
The President said: “All of us must shoulder our responsibilities and must rise above self in collective work so that we can reconstruct Pakistan. Everyone of us must put in honest, hard work.”
He said that for the last 25 years there was talk of democracy “but we have to see who in practice has struggled for the flowering of democracy in the country.”
“Even during dictatorial regimes, claims to bring democracy in the country were heard. Even Yahya Khan mentioned democracy in his every speech but we should not listen to words only. We must vigilantly watch the nation.
He said that the PPP's political character and history revealed their fight for democracy. No doubt, others too had contributed towards democracy but the PPP was also in the caravan of people's struggle against Ayub. Rather, it spearheaded the movement and for the triumph of peoples' rights PPP workers went through untold hardships and difficulties.
The President referring to Yahya Khan's statement of June 28, 1970 said that when Yahya said that he would give a constitution to the country, who were those who welcomed this statement and even those who welcomed it went to the extent of saying that it was “ a Mujahid's decision.” These days such people are busy hunting flies sitting in their houses, he added.
He said that he and his Party had opposed this move of Mr. Yahya and the stand of the Party had always been that no individual was that sacrosanct as to impose a constitution on the people and thus Yahya had no right to do it. “Our Party stand has been this that the constitution will be framed by the approval of the Assembly,” he added.
The President said it was as a result of this determined and unequivocal stand for the democratic principles and people of Pakistan, that President Yahy7a had to capitulate and had to agree to our point of view.
The President said he considered the people as a mighty force and no force could stand in their way. He said he and his Party believed that people were the final judges and they were the real sovereigns and power.
He said that immediately after coming into power, he lifted ban on a political party. The ban had been imposed under Martial Law by the previous ruling junta. He and his Party had spearheaded a marathon campaign against Martial Law. So the question of supporting Martial Law or continuing it could not arise in their mind.
The President said: “We don't believe in democracy out of fear but we won't fear democracy because our hands are clean and we have emerged triumphant through people's struggle. We can never give up struggle for the people's rights and Pakistan's solidarity, sovereignty and integrity even if we have to sacrifice our lives. “I salute not only the party workers but also the people of Pakistan.”
The President said when his party took over the Government, Pakistan was virtually a ‘Janaza' and there was much talk abroad that Pakistan's life would fizzle out in a matter of days but the regime faced the crisis and today Pakistan by the grace of God is again strong and alive and stood on its feet.
He said that the Interim Constitution had been given. If Martial Law could go, Emergency could also go in due course of time. “We are not fond of it. We are not fond of Martial Law. We were never fond of it.”
The President stressed the need for stepping up production and putting in hard labour in order to build up the country's economy. He said economy had its own laws and merely slogans could not build it up. Only hard work and labour could change the system.
He said: “If we don't labour, then how we are labourers or workers.” The President, citing examples of Germany and China, said that there the people worked very hard day and night.
He said that on October 2, he met student leaders and told them that Pakistan was a poor country but even then after the defence budget the Government was giving utmost importance to education and spending a colossal amount of money on education and welfare of students because this “was a national investment and a positive contribution towards our future.”
The President said that nationalization of schools and colleges was not a small step but a Herculean effort for raising the quality and quantity of education and upon education depended the progress of the people. He said: “We have to spend on defence because we have dispute with India.”
The President said that students should concentrate on their studies. He said that the Governor of Baluchistan told him that in Quetta a few students even announced that they must get degrees without touching or reading books. If at all degrees were to be obtained like that then they should get degrees of whatever standard the day they were born. He said it is high time they work hard. “Those who don't work hard want in fact to obstruct the progress of the country.”
The President said that it was Government policy not to interfere at all in the college or campus politics. “We are least interested in who wins or who loses in the colleges or campuses.”
Certain degrees like medical degrees were not being recognized in England, he said. So the students must work hard and raise the standard of education and thus build up the image of Pakistan in the field of education. “Work hard at least for 5 to 6 months. After all, what is the harm in it?”
He said that there was no political vendetta or victimization when he took over. If somebody shed blood the law had to take action and when action was taken, then even those who shed blood and committed murder said they were being victimized. “Don't the ‘big people' victimize the poor,” he asked the workers and said that those who victimized the poor could not go unpunished by the people's Government.
“Whenever we should deliver speeches, we ought to speak with reason and sense. Abusing friendly foreign countries does not bring any good to Pakistan.”
He said that freedom also meant respect for law and did not at all mean taking law into one's own hands.
He said that he had served Pakistan right from his school age and had not come to power from the backdoor nor through ‘danda' nor through any army sword. He said it was because of the people's support that he came into power.
He said the word “ghaddar” is labeled at once on anyone who disagrees with your point of view. It is not a healthy tendency. Those Indian political parties who oppose Indira Gandhi's government on Simla accord do not dub her as a “ghaddar” because to call an elected leader of the nation a “ghaddar” amounts to abusing and insulting the whole nation.
The President said that he had no personal motive or design at all. The National Assembly, he added, had approved the accord.
“You know me well. My politics is not secret politics, my politics is people's politics and open and clean politics. Those who are criticizing us are dabbling in parlour politics.”
The President said that he had always supported the right or self-determination even for Algeria, Vietnam and our unequivocal stand on Kashmir was the right of self-determination and we could never surrender this principled stand.
“We cannot quit Chhamb because we were there on December 17. If India wants to have Lipa then she must give Chhamb.” The President said he knew the nature and mentality of India.
The President said that the country was undergoing a crisis internally and externally. “Had we been in the opposition, we would have given at least a year's period to the Government because country's interests are supreme and cannot be sacrificed at the altar of personal or party prestige.”
He said that his party' manifesto could not be implemented in a day. It had to take some time for its implementation and this was a phased process. “Make a balance-sheet of our performance and you will see positive steps have been taken in the implementation of the manifesto.”
He said that he was fully aware of the aspirations of the people and we would never let them down at any time, at any front. He had dedicated his life to the service of the masses, and for their well being. Our economy was based upon the concept of Islamic socialism and we were not a Communist country.
Other parties, the President said, had never implemented their pledges and manifestos when they were in power. The past of these parties was self-explanatory. He said that PPP was the first political party which was increasingly marching towards the implementation of its programme and pledges step by step against all possible odds and despite the crisis, which faced us a s a nation.
There was constant protest and hue and cry against corruption and when steps to put an end to it were taken, and then recommendations started pouring in that the corrupt are spared.
The President said that he would talk about the question of “Bangladesh” in open and public meetings because he believed in direct dialogue with the people on all vital issues and because people were to give their verdict on fundamental issues.
Referring to Governor Bizenjo's speech yesterday in YMCA hall here on “Bangladesh,” he said that one might not agree with the Governor but we must cultivate the habit of listening to other's point of view, too, if we were to advance the democratic traditions in the country.
He said that national issues need dispassionate analysis and meditation and could not be solved through rolling up sleeves or through chanting slogans.
He said that we should not take decisions in haste but with full reason and after careful study in totality of the whole problem.
The President also touched upon the Munich incident and did not appreciate the conduct of Pakistani team there.
The President said: “By March 23 or at the most by April 21, 1973, (Iqbal's death anniversary) I will give complete people's constitution to the country. The previous regimes never announced a date for the constitution and always said that constitution-making was difficult. Had I been against democracy, I would have not then announced a specific date for the constitution.”
Referring to Mr. Kasuri's resignation, the President said that had the former Law Minister's letter not been published, his letter too would have not appeared in the Press. He said publishing letters in the Press did not behove political decorum or dignity.
He said that he had not previously accepted his resignation not because Mr. Kasuri was the only constitutionalist but to avert the delay in constitution-making. He said that nobody was indispensable.
Referring to Governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar's statement to which Mr. Kasuri took exception, the President said: “ I don't subscribe to it in totality but he did not speak with any malice but out of sheer regard for me.”
Paying tributes to the Governor, Mr. Mustafa Khar, the President said: “He has struggled with me right from the beginning and has suffered and sacrificed a lot for the cause. Any attack on me is felt by him as if it is an attack on him because of his close comradeship and association with me through thick and thin. It was my intention that I will make both of them reconcile at Lahore. Had I time, I would have gone to Dr. Sheikh Rafiq's house but I don't have time.
“PPP gave all possible respect to Mr. Kasuri. He could have never been elected without the Party's ticket and I myself campaigned for his success.”
“For personal grievances, the nation should not be punished because it is too sacred, supreme and great. We can't afford such an attitude in our politics that we sacrifice national interest at the egoistic altar of personal grievances and aggrandizement.”
The President said that he, along with his wife, went to the house of Mr. Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi in Karachi to apologise for the police “and we never support injustice and wrong thing.”
“Pride hath a fall. In people's politics, there is no such attitude as being haughty. The more humble you are, the more you are respected and esteemed by the people.”
He said: “Fundamentally we support autonomy but that does not mean confederation. “Even during Ayub's regime I was against Presidential system and I told him it won't work in Pakistan. Only through parliamentary system, there can be division of power but British parliamentary system cannot function here and could not succeed.
We must learn from our past experiences. We want democratic stability in the country. We will have to cross thorny paths and will have to work very hard and I am sure the days are not far when Pakistan will emerge triumphant from all crises and will be a successful, great and unique country in the world. Give us a little time for the reconstruction of Pakistan and work, work and work for the people of Pakistan with full devotion and dedication.”
The President urged upon the workers not to lose heart and to continue their struggle and said that their sacrifices would never go waste as the PPP was determined to ameliorate the lot of common man and end exploitation of man by man from the face of Pakistan.
Concluding, the President thanked the workers and said he stood by them through thick and thin.