I am thankful to you for being here this afternoon to hear me on the Simla agreement. It is necessary to address a forum of this nature on the Simla accord for a variety of reasons. A great deal has been written in our national Press and foreign Press as well as in the Indian Press on the agreement. Various interpretations have been given to it. There is a long debate on the Simla agreement and my speech, which came at the end of the other debates, has also appeared in the Press but the authentic version has not come out yet. I hope in a few days that will also be given to you.
Simla agreement is a starting point.
I do not intend to cover the points I have made in my speech in the National Assembly. Some of them I will have to touch upon, but I will try to be brief. It is also necessary to have this meeting here on this agreement, because the people of Pakistan have to really decide what kind of relationship we want with India. It is not one agreement or the efforts of one government that will influence the course of events in the Sub-continent. The history of the Sub-continent has been a chequered one, and there have been many upheavals. It is for the people of our country and, basically, for the people of India to decide the kind of relationship they want between themselves. So from that point of view also the Simla agreement is important. It is a starting point, and this starting point can turn in any direction. It can turn in the direction of peace—temporary peace. It can turn in the direction of permanent peace or it can turn into the direction of immediate confrontation.
Simla agreement in accord with national aspirations.
I have discussed this aspect of the agreement in the National Assembly. But here again I think it necessary to point out that you, the people of the country, will have to give that sense of direction. We have seen in the past 25 years the results of war and we have also seen attempts to have peace between India and Pakistan. But if you feel that this is a disappointing beginning, then I am afraid it will not be possible to proceed further. If there are people who find that the Simla agreement is not in accord with national aspirations, it will not be possible to visualise that step by step approach towards peace. I say this because the Simla agreement, as it stands today, contains nothing which would be to the detriment of Pakistan. But if people are still disappointed and still feel that national interests have not been upheld and that national interests on the contrary have been sacrificed, I am afraid, in that case, the task for the future will not be a happy one. It will be rather bleak.
People have accepted Simla accord.
My .own assessment is that by and large the people of Pakistan have accepted the Simla agreement. This is my own assessment. But at the same time I try to keep pace with various thoughts in the land. And there have been speeches made outside the National Assembly and, some, inside the National Assembly. Many articles have been written on the subject in our periodicals and newspapers where there is a limited point of view expressed to the effect that the Simla agreement does not conform with the aspirations of Pakistan and its future. It has been said that the Simla agreement has closed the doors to the United Nations and now there will be a relationship of bilateralism between India and Pakistan, sealing the United Nations as a means of the resolution of our disputes. It has also been said that the Simla agreement is a no-war agreement; it is a treaty of non-aggression. And it has been said that the Kashmir dispute has been settled on the basis of the Simla agreement. It has also been said that we have not succeeded in resolving all our problems, which really means that we have not succeeded in getting back Kashmir or getting that part of Kashmir which is in Indian occupation, nor our prisoners of war or civilian internees.
Demonstrations against T.D. were spontaneous
On these main issues some of our critics have condemned the Simla agreement. I would, therefore, like, with your permission, to touch upon these three or four basic issues which have come in the Press and which have been taken up by leaders in public meetings and in the National Assembly. In the first place, I think if you bear with me—because this is not a public meeting and I am sure you are all interested in the discussion in its academic, political sense, in its seriousness,—so if you bear with me, I would like to read out parts of the agreement as well, as parts of the Tashkent agreement, as it has been said that this agreement is worse than the Tashkent agreement and that the Tashkent agreement was much better and more in the interest of Pakistan. Now apart from the fact that this agreement is better than Tashkent or not, I do not think that it is fair criticism to say this. In the first place the people have not protested against the Simla agreement as they did in the case of the Tashkent declaration. After the Tashkent declaration was concluded, there was a spontaneous uprising in the whole of West Pakistan and there was considerable disappointment even in East Pakistan among a section of the people; but much more so in West Pakistan. And these demonstrations and sense of grief and protest was not really tailored. It was not directed it came out spontaneously. People on their own accord came out to show their resentment against the Tashkent declaration.
T.D. concluded at entirely different times
As I have said this was not done by the people against the Simla agreement because the people really have that sixth sense by which they know whether their interests have been served or whether their times interests have been neglected. But apart from that, all of you are aware of the fact that those were entirely different times and different days. The situation was vastly different. After the Tashkent agreement and before that, if Pakistan was not victorious in the war, I would say that we went to Tashkent in a condition of equality. As a matter of fact, in those days we had more Indian prisoners of war in our custody. Today, there are about 90.000 of our prisoners of war in India and we have about 700 odd. In those days Pakistan had more territory in its control than India had, and East Pakistan had not been lost. As a matter of fact, when the final history of that period is written, I think that the situation would have been different if our leadership had been bold and resolute. But that is now gone and I do not want to go into that aspect of the problem. What I wish to stress is that the circumstances were entirely different. Pakistan went there, if not in a superior position, certainly in a position of equality in terms of the situation on the ground and also in terms of the morale of the people, and in terms of the international support. During that war, practically the whole world supported Pakistan’s cause, supported it diplomatically, supported us materially. One great power issued an ultimatum to India and other friendly countries gave massive and unexpected support to Pakistan.
On this occasion because of the crisis in East Pakistan, the situation in East Pakistan, the world opinion had turned hostile and the international Press was also hostile. The morale of the people was low. Many elementary mistakes were made, as a result of which half the country was severed from Pakistan. Over 5,000 square miles of Pakistan’s territory came into India’s possession—two tehsils in Sind, one in Shakargarh in the Punjab.
So the circumstances were entirely different. With these entirely different circumstances I would like you to bear with me to read out the relevant extracts from the Tashkent declaration as well as from the Simla agreement. This might be a little boring to you but I am afraid it is necessary in order to refute some of the observations that have been made.
The operative part of T.D.
The operative parts of the Tashkent declaration say: “The President of Pakistan and Prime Minister of India who met at Tashkent and discussed the existing relations between Pakistan and India hereby declare their firm resolve to restore normal and peaceful relation between their countries and to promote understanding and friendly relations between their peoples. The President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of India agree that both sides will exert all efforts to create good neighbourly relations between Pakistan and India, in accordance with the United Nations Charter. They re-affirm their obligation under the Charter not to have recourse to force and to settle their disputes through peaceful means. They consider that the interest of peace in their regions and particularly in the Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent and indeed the interest of the peoples of Pakistan and India are not served by the continuance of tension between the two countries. It was against this background that Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and each of the sides set forth its respective position.”
Now I want you to read between the lines. In the first place, there is emphasis for a “firm resolve“ to restore peaceful relations - and not only to restore peaceful relations but to “promote understanding “and friendly relations“; not just eradicating the causes of war but also promoting understanding and friendly relations—a concerted effort to promote friendly relations. This is followed by both sides will exert all efforts to create good neighbourly relations between Pakistan and India in accordance with United Nations Charter. They reaffirm their obligation under the Charter not to have recourse to force and to settle their disputes through peaceful means“. And that they considered the interest of peace between India and Pakistan of paramount importance.
The background of discussion
It was against this background that the question—and not even the question—of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and each of the sides set forth its respective position. Now what is the background under which the discussions were held? The background is that there must be peace and there must not only be peace but we must make efforts to promote peace and good neighbourly relations and under no circumstances must we resort to war and settle all our problems and disputes by peaceful means and in this background Jammu and Kashmir were discussed. You can draw your own conclusions from this.
Then followed by that and as a result of this it says that all armed personnel from the two countries should be withdrawn not later than such and such date and it speaks of the principle of non-interference into the internal affairs of each other. Having in this background discussed Jammu and Kashmir, it is followed by the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of each other, and then followed by the words that “both sides will discourage any propaganda directed against each other and will encourage propaganda which promotes the development of friendly relations between the two countries“. Then there are provisions regarding restoration of trade, implementation of existing agreements between India and Pakistan, repatriation of prisoners of war. They further agree to discuss the return of the property and assets taken over by either side in connection with the conflict. Both sides also agree to set up joint India-Pakistan bodies to report to their Governments what further steps should be taken.
The operative part Simla agreement.
Much has been said about the Tashkent agreement, but why do people want to go outside the agreement? If you study the agreement clearly, you will see from it the logical conclusions of the state of Indo-Pakistan relations as envisaged in the Tashkent declaration. At that time if Pakistan did not have an upper hand, certainly it was not in a weaker position than India. At a time when the whole world stood by Pakistan; at a time when one great power issued an ultimatum to India; at a time when Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri, the Prime Minister of India, bemoaned that India was isolated and alone : and when we had gained more territory and we had more Indian prisoners of war in our hands and when the United Nations was shaken by the ultimatum given by the Peoples republic of China ; at that time after the ceasefire, when the whole nation was behind the regime and when the whole country was intact, we go to Tashkent and we sandwich Jammu and Kashmir in our resolve to have peaceful relations and to promote peaceful relations and discussed it in that context with the background and again buttress by saying that now it is completed ; there will be no hostile propaganda, there will be trade, restoration of communications and there will be restoration of property and finally there will be joint bodies of India and Pakistan. For this reason there was revolt in the lard, understandably. But in the Simla agreement the situation was slightly different. I would now like to turn to the operative part of the Simla agreement. In order to achieve the objective of durable peace, the Government of Pakistan and the Government of India have agreed as follows:
“That the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations shall govern relations between the two countries. That the two countries are resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations, or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon by them. Pending the final settlement of any of the problems between the two countries, neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation “. The phrase is “pending the final settlement “ of differences, and not “in this background Jammu and Kashmir was discussed“, as at Tashkent but pending, the final settlement.
Indian position on Kashmir not acceptable.
Then again, that the pre-requisite for reconciliation, good neighbourliness and durable peace between the two countries there is a commitment by both the countries to peaceful co-existence, respect for each others territorial integrity and sovereignty and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs ‘on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. But first comes “pending the final settlement“ which means that we did not accept the position of India on Jammu and Kashmir, an not accepting their position we said we will respect each other’s territorial integrity.
Basic issues to be resolved peacefully.
In the Tashkent declaration, it does not say that. In Tashkent the position was first conceded and then it was said that we will respect each other’s territorial integrity. Here we have said first that pen-dine the final settlement we will respect each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. And then we have further gone on to make the matter even clearer after that so that there is no misunderstanding, that we have accepted India’s point of view. We have further said that basic issues and causes of conflict which have bedeviled relations between the two countries for the last 25 years shall be resolved by peaceful means.
Refrain from use of power.
Before we talked about “respect for territorial integrity“ we said “pending the settlement” and only after that we mentioned respect for territorial integrity. We said that the basic issues and causes of conflict which have bedeviled the relations between India and Pakistan for the last 25 years shall be resolved by peaceful means. Then again we said that in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the two countries will refrain from threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of each other and that all steps within their power will be taken to prevent hostile propaganda directed against each other—all steps within our power, sincerely within our power, but we have made no positive assertions to make efforts to promote other things which have been mentioned in the Tashkent declaration. And then we have said in this connection, delegations from the two countries will meet from time to time to work out the necessary details, not joint Indo-Pakistan bodies but separate delegations of the two countries will meet from time to time. Then again we have said that Indian and Pakistani forces shall be withdrawn to their sides of the international border first. Secondly, “in Jammu and Kashmir the line of control resulting from the ceasefire of December 17, 1971 shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognised position of either side. Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations. Both sides further undertake to refrain from the threat or use of force in violation of this line “.
International border de linked from Kashmir dispute.
Now here again, ladies and gentlemen, you will see that because we believe the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir exists, we did not discuss it in the background only of a peaceful settlement between India and Pakistan. We have delinked the international border from the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. After Tashkent the entire withdrawals took place simultaneously on the international frontier, the recognised international frontier and in Jammu and Kashmir simultaneously. What are the implications of that in view of the Tashkent declaration and the way the Tashkent declaration is worded? Here inspire of the fact that we have made it clear that there is a pending settlement which has to come and there is a dispute which has to be recognised, we have gone further to delink the international frontier from the disputed territory, which is again another manifestation of the fact that we attach supreme importance to the peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Moreover, we have said “without prejudice to the recognised position of either side”. This is important.
Pakistan’s is an international position.
What is a recognised position? A recognised position naturally Recognised position means a position which is internationally accepted. The “recognised position“ on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute lies in the United Nations Resolutions, whether they are implemented or not, Resolutions which the world has endorsed. The recognised position lies in the principle of self-determination. The internationally recognised position does not lie on the basis of a position taken by one sovereign state. That is not a recognised position. That is a position that a particular state takes, but that is certainly not a recognised position. And what has been India’s position? Do we recognize it? I do not know whether international community recognizes the Indian position because India’s position has altered, had differed. Let me illustrate this. Pandit Nehru said on November 2, 1947, we have declared that the fate of Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given not only to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but to the world. We-will not and cannot back out of it.”
Pandit Nehru’s statements.
Again he said on March 5, 1948, “because we earnestly desire settlement of the Kashmir question, we earnestly desire these great forces of freedom should be allowed to function normally and to achieve their results. Any other results will be artificial results. We cannot impose a result. Certainly Pakistan cannot impose a result. Ultimately, there is no doubt in my mind that in Kashmir and elsewhere, the people of Kashmir will decide finally and all that we wish is that they should have freedom of derision without any external compulsion “.
Then on June 4, 1951, Pandit Nehru said at Srinagar, “first of all I would like to remind you of the fateful days of 1947 when I came to Srinagar and gave the solemn assurance that the people of India would stand by Kashmir in her struggle. On that assurance I shook Shaikh Abdullah’s hand before the vast multitude that had gathered there. I want to repeat that the Government of India will stand by that pledge whatever happens. That pledge itself stated that it is for the people of Kashmir to decide their fate without external interference. That assurance also remains and will continue “.
Once again he said in the Lok Sabha, “ I shall only remind the House, that it was a unilateral declaration on our part that the people of Kashmir should decide their fate for themselves. For many months while our plain offer for the people of Kashmir, that it was for them to decide their own future by plebiscite or otherwise stood, there was no talk in Pakistan on a plebiscite in Kashmir. Pakistan hoped to attain its ends by force. When force failed to do so, Pakistan began thinking of a plebiscite. What Pakistan did or said in this connection did not concern us. We have given our pledge to the people of Kashmir and subsequently to the United Nations. We stood by it and we stand by it today. Let the people of Kashmir decide “.
Now, the question is, as far as we are concerned, there is no dispute on the recognised position. We consider recognised position not of a state; we consider recognize position of the international community; of what the world recognizes and India also in the past has said that the people of Kashmir will decide their own future. Many years have passed. So we are prepared to enter into bilateral negotiations with India in order to impress upon India the need for a settlement or the basis of the will of the people as no other settlement would be a lasting settlement. There is no contradiction in our position. And when we say that we have agreed to have bilateral negotiations with India, it is in the context of our position on the basis of a principle, in the context of United Nations Resolutions: it is in the context of the world ride position, and also taking into account what India has to say on the dispute when it erupted. And so when we agreed to enter into bilateral negotiations, we did not, in any way compromise our position.
The doors of U.N. not closed.
Let me now cone to the second point where it has been said that the doors of the United Nations have closed and we are going to settle our problems by bilateral means, which really does not mean anything. As a matter of fact, we have been pleading bilateralism for a long time. It is not that India compelled it’s to accept bilateral procedures. Bilateralism has its benefits. Many states in the world believe in the principle of bilateralism, but it certainly does not close the doors to the United Nations. You certainly do not draw a curtain on the rest of the world. The rest of the world continues to exist. All the rights and obligations that member states have in the world do not perish as a result of it. And on the question of bilateralism in 1966, I had written a book, not as well known as a book of a former President, but nevertheless a book in which I had clearly stated that it is in the best interest of Pakistan to have a foreign policy basically based on bilateralism and that we must give bilateralism a chance as far as relations between India and Pakistan are concerned. Partly for this reason, we left the Commonwealth and I believe that no harm comes to Pakistan by, making an effort to have bilateral negotiations with India on the basis of our principle. We do not have to abandon our principles. Why should we abandon our principles? If we cannot abandon our principles in the United Nations, we will not abandon our principles in the bilateral negotiations and discussions.
We built all our hopes on U.N.
But as far as the United Nations is concerned, with due respect to the United Nations, so far it has not yet really been able to deal with the Kashmir problem effectively. On the contrary with the passage of time, the United Nations position on this dispute has weakened and if Pakistan has not gained by it, I would say that Pakistan has in some respects lost by its over-emphasis on the United Nations. We have built all our hopes on the aspirations of the United Nations. We thought the United Nations was a super Government, a super power that would resolve the Kashmir dispute, with the result that we did not give as much attention to the dispute where it should have been ,given. The UN came to play a kind of diversionary role in the Kashmir dispute. We must know where we stand and how we stand. India went to the United Nations. After India went to the United Nations, there were debates; there were resolutions in 1948; there were UNCIP Resolutions. If you examine them carefully, in those early days in 1948-49, the second UNCIP Resolution deviated from the basic principles because it was the UNCIP Resolutions which determined that as far as Pakistan was concerned, it should withdraw all its forces from the part of Jammu and Kashmir which was in Pakistan’s control. As far as India was concerned, India was asked to withdraw the “bulk“ of its forces but, in effect, India was allowed to retain her forces. Seven to eight years were spent. Dr. Graham came, Owen Dixon came, Jarring was involved on trying to determine with what “bulk “ constituted. With the passage of time, there was greater and greater erosion in this matter. But why did the United Nations at that time allow India to retain the bulk of her forces and demanded that Pakistan withdraw all her forces? Where was the concept of equality of treatment? If India was the aggressor, India should have withdrawn all her forces, and if India were permitted to only withdraw the bulk of its forces, Pakistan should also have been asked to withdraw the bulk of her forces. Inequality of treatment was apparent even in those early days.
The role of U.N.
But we were enamored by the concept of the United Nations. We were a new state. We had much to learn in international relations and about the methods of power politics. So we concentrated all our efforts in the United Nations and slowly slowly, step by step, with greater and greater erosion, we were hit by the veto, and after the veto there were efforts to take the dispute to the United Nations. It became very difficult. Almost every resolution was diluted so much so that it did not really matter. All we did get was that we got the resolution to come back. But if you look upon that resolution, successive resolutions, one after the other, you will find that they got more and more diluted and moreover in 1962, in the United Nations even nonpermanent members were not enthusiastic about taking the question to the United Nations, even the non-permanent members, so much so that the President of a great power had to telephone the head of another friendly country and to request him to sponsor the resolution and on his behest the friendly country sponsored the resolution which really had no effect on the Kashmir dispute.
Then in 1964, the Security Council refused to even give a resolution. The President of the Council was content with reading out a statement. Even from he innocuous resolutions, a qualitative change took place in 1964 when first the Security Council suggested that there should be a consensus. A consensus has no validity even if the resolutions are not implemented, because the United Nations is not a super power or a super Government. The consensus is of even less value Pakistan said; “No, we want a resolution. It is a new thing to have a consensus; there is no precedent for it “. The President of the Security Council read out a statement at the end of the whole debate which only said that the two countries should get together to resolve heir disputes between themselves by bilateral means. In the 1965 war, although there had been a war, the Security Council refused In put in the word “Kashmir” in the resolution and afterward the Security Council refused to put in the word “Kashmir“ in its resolution and it was again on the 21st of September when I went that they agreed finally after the war had taken place to refer to it as “the problem underlying the cause of conflict”. That was the furthest that the Security Council was prepared to go. But I am not in any way berating the role of the Security Council or the United Nations. It is not necessary because we have not closed the door of the United Nations. That door for whatsoever it is worth is open to us. But we have seen in the last 20 years the results of our efforts of going only to the United Nations. I know bilateral negotiations have not succeeded either, but in bilateral negotiations, at least, you know exactly where you stand; you are face to face with the realities, with the dispute, whereas in the Security Council that is not the position: that has not been the position.
Article of the U.N. charter.
There is nothing in the Simla agreement which says that we will not go to the United Nations. Yes, it is true the emphasis is on bilateral effort to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, but it does not say that we cannot go the United Nations. We have not used the word exclusively. And as I have said the United Nations itself, the Charter of the United Nations itself suggests that bilateralism is a method of solving international disputes. Even if the Simla agreement were to seal the United Nations and let us assume that the Simla agreement has sealed the United Nations, and that we are no longer now able to go to the United Nations as a result of the Simla agreement: there is an Article in the United Nations Charter. It is Article 103 and it says: “In the event of conflict between the obligations of the members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations in the present Charter shall prevail.”
In other words, if the Simla agreement is in conflict with the principles and responsibilities of the United Nations, in that event the Charter will prevail. And if the Simla agreement has foreclosed the United Nations which is not the case, the Charter of the United Nations prevails. But even if Article 103 were not in the Charter of the United Nations, there is Article 34. It says; “The Security Council may investigate any dispute or any situation which might lead to international conflict or give rise to a dispute in order to determine whether the continuance of a dispute or situation is likely to endanger maintenance of international peace and security “. The Security Council itself can take cognizance of the situation even if states refuse to come to the Security Council. It can take cognizance of the situation and consider it.
Article 35 of the U.N. charter.
Article 35 says: “Any member of the United Nations may bring any dispute or any situation of the nature referred to in Article 34 to the attention of the Security Council or the General Assembly “. That is for member states, but even a non-member state can go to the Security Council. A state which is not even a member of the United Nations may bring to the attention of the Security Council or the General Assembly any dispute to which it is a party. So if a non-member state can go to the Security Council, certainly it is the inherent right of the member state to go to the Security Council. So the Security Council on its own initiative is not stopped from taking cognizance of a dispute of a non-member of the Security Council and it is the inherent right of a member of the United Nations to go to the Security Council and on top of that there is Article 103. Then there is Article 51 which says that nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack was made against a member of the United Nations until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace. Again, it is the inherent right of a country to defend itself in the event of a conflict and nothing in the Charter or anywhere prevents a members state from taking that action.
The inherent right.
In view of this, I fail to understand why it is being said that the Simla agreement has foreclosed the United Nations and that now we are not able to go to the United Nations. I have read out the relevant portions of the Simla agreement to you. There is nothing which prevents Pakistan, or India, for that matter, from going to the United Nations or from going to the Security Council. Moreover, even if there were something in this agreement which prevents us from going to the Security Council or the United Nations, the Charter itself prevents such a clause from being valid in the eyes of international Law. Moreover, the Security Council can ignore that clause and it is an inherent right of a member state to take the issue to the Security Council as much as it is the right of a non-member state to go to the Security Council. And it is the inherent right of a state to defend its territory against armed aggression and armed attack.
Let us not forget our experience of U.N.
Finally; let us not forget what experience we have had in the United Nations. Have we really gained by taking the issue to the Unit ed Nations? So far we have not. Even after the 1965 war, we were not able to incorporate the word “Kashmir“ in the Resolution that was passed by the Security Council. But even so, we can go to the Security Council and nothing prevents us from going to the Security Council. The Kashmir Dispute is on agenda of the Security Council. It has not been removed from the agenda of the Security Council. Then there are those who say that the Simla agreement is a no-war pact and a treaty of non-aggression. I do not know how many of these gentlemen have read any treaty or a no-war pact or a treaty of non-aggression, because if you read a treaty of non-aggression era no-war pact, you will find that it is different from the Simla agreement. The Simla agreement goes to the extent of saying that the two sides will refrain from the threat or use of force. Now to refrain from the use of force or threat of force is not a no-war pact. Actually, after the 1971 tragedy, on merits one can argue for the need of a treaty of non-aggression. But leave that aside. The question is if the people think that this is a no-war pact, they are sadly mistaken. The phraseology of a no-war pact, is entirely different from the phrase “refrain from the use or threat of force”.
National Assembly supported the Simla accord.
So, ladies and gentlemen, the point is this, if the Simla agreement is worse than the Tashkent declaration, it is for the people to decide. The people have already given their answer. After the Tashkent agreement, there was a spontaneous uprising in Pakistan. Today, inspite of the efforts made to ignite the fire and to spread mischief, the people by and large have not responded to the negative calls of those individuals who wanted to further complicate and aggravate the situation in the sub-continent. The agreement has gone to the National Assembly of Pakistan. There was no moral obligation or legal or political obligation to take the agreement to the National Assembly, because our Interim Constitution does not provide for ratification of agreements. The Indian Constitution does not provide for ratification of international agreements by the Indian Parliament and that is why India has ratified it by the assent of the President. But we went a step further. I had promised the people of Pakistan that I would do nothing that would endanger their interests and that I would do nothing that would be inimical to the future and interest of Pakistan. There-fore, for that reason, we took the agreement to the National Assembly and let the National Assembly dissect it, let the National Assembly diagnose it, let the National Assebmbly analyze it, let the National Assembly tear it into pieces. And for days the National Assembly spoke on this agreement. Not only the Government party but responsible leaders from the Opposition, not belonging to the Government party and not in the Government, also supported the agreement.
One would have thought that looking at the agreement as it stands looking at the agreement in the light of the debate in the National Assembly and the general situation in the country, this modest beginning would have been accepted without rancor and without unnecessary debate. The agreements that have been given, I would with all due respect say, are not intellectually honest, they are not valid as cogent arguments. They are not valid even in logic. At least they should be valid in logic. How can you by any stretch of imagination consider this as a no-war pact? How can you by any stretch of imagination consider it to have stopped the United Nations from playing its role? And then the agreement itself returns to Pakistan about 5000 odd square miles of its territory. It recognizes the Jammu and Kashmir dispute after the Tashkent declaration, which is no mean achievement. It calls for bilateral negotiations but not exclusively for bilateral negotiations. We will have bilateral negotiations; we will find out ways and means and there are many ways of peaceful settlement of disputes, if bilateral negotiations fail over a period of time, there can be modifications. There can be good offices. There can be arbitration. There are many methods we can try with past experience and with the passing of time, if one does not succeed. The point is why have certain people given this interpretation to the agreement when they know that the interpretation given is not correct? Let us assume that some people wish to continue with confrontation. Let us assume that some people are seeking revenge. I cannot understand even their approach to or criticism of the agreement. I do not think those who want peace have objected to this agreement. Those who want to give peace a chance have supported it and given their consent to it. But those who do not want peace, those who want a state of confrontation to continue even taking into account their thought processes, I would say that they should not at least criticise the Simla agreement; because if they want war, if they think war is such a good thing, then certainly they know that this is not the time for war either.
The agent provocateurs opposing Simla accord.
I would say that they are agent provocateurs. They are not interested in the welfare of Pakistan. They are not interested in the wellbeing of Pakistan. They want to obliterate Pakistan through the backdoor and it is not a coincidence that some of them who are so chauvinistically in this position are the ones who had opposed the creation of Pakistan. Those people who had waged a struggle to oppose the creation of Pakistan, have come out in the vanguard to criticise the Simla agreement as having been surrender, as having given India hegemony over Pakistan. Neither India has received hegemony over Pakistan nor India will exercise hegemony over Pakistan. It is for the people of Pakistan to ensure that no state will exercise hegemony over them. And how can the people of Pakistan ensure that no state will exercise domination over them? By only one means, by building Pakistan, by strengthening it, by changing its economic and social structure, by bringing relief to the poor people.
I really cannot understand why there should be any differences on this matter, looking at it from any attitude, looking at it from a food attitude or from the other extreme, the negative attitude of confrontation and revenge.
Motives behind agitation.
In India also there have been some elements that have been critical of the agreement. It is for India to handle her own matters. It is not our business. We have to try to carry our own people on everything we do, especially on these important matters As much as we have to carry our people as our responsibility, as also it is India’s responsibility to carry her own people. But I believe the agitation is partly because 5,000 square miles of territory are being returned to Pakistan and that Jammu and Kashmir as a dispute has been recognised which should be settled by sensible, civilized methods. And having said that they had won the war—that mentality is also at work.
I go back to the starting point. It is not exchange of territory. It is not the return of prisoners of war. What they have to decide, as we have to decide, is what kind of future we want in the sub-continent. If we want a future of implacable hostility, of neither war nor peace, then it is not important whether territory has been returned or whether the prisoners of war are to be returned or not. Because if territory has to be returned and if there is another conflict, again the territories may come and go to one side from the other and if prisoners of war come back and we are going to have a conflict, then there will be again prisoners of war from one side to the other; and once again we start a merry-go-round and then again we can het into a situation of one depression after another.
Pakistan wanted a step approach.
This is really my last word in the defence of the Simla Agreement. Of course, in public meetings I intend to deal not so much with the Simla Agreement, but in exposing the thought processes and machination of those people, of those individuals, who do not want Pakistan to turn into a modern and progressive state, living in peace and harmony with all its neighbours. These people do not want us to settle our disputes with one another, because they must use these diversionary tactics in order to be able to further exploit the people. But it is not in this spirit that I am speaking to you tonight. Here in terms of the debate in the National Assembly and in terms of what has been written in our Press and in our periodicals, I think I should take an opportunity to give my point of view on the basic objections that have been raised in the National Assembly and in our newspapers and periodicals. And after that now it is for you to analyze it, to write about it but in terms of a forum of this nature I do not intend to say more on the subject. But I can say this much finally that if the Simla agreement is not in Pakistan’s interest or in the interest of peace, in that event it will be very difficult, almost impossible to tackle other issues of durable peace. At the heart of the matter lies the concept of a durable peace and if peace is to be durable which it must be, it has to be a fair peace. So it is in a spirit of confidence and optimism that we like to make an effort for a durable peace, because justice is on our side, the recognised international position supports our position and we will continue to uphold our just cause, not compromising the justice of our cause and in that spirit we are prepared and we want to enter into negotiations with India, to go to the next step. Here also we have prevailed, because we wanted the step-by-step approach. India wanted a package deal, all in one go. And we said it will not be possible. We cannot do it. We have to go step by step to tackle each and every problem gradually, seeing the results consolidated and then moving to the next step.
Nothing to be done against people’s consent.
This step by step approach has been Pakistan’s point of view, which was accepted by India. In Tashkent, it was the other way round. In Tashkent, an effort was made to settle all disputes in one heave and you saw the results. We will not do it because we represent the people. We genuinely represent the people and we cannot do anything against the people’s consent, leave alone their interest, because the people sometimes get carried away and they might temporarily not be fully aware of their interest. So I do not use the word “interest“; I use the word “consent “.
Relations with Muslim Bengal.
Again, the same forces are trying to create confusion about the state of our relationships with the authorities at Dacca. And they are trying again to engender all manners of false arguments, to inject all manners of irrelevant factors in the situation, because the issue is emotional. It is a gut issue. It is at the heart of our national self-respect so it is possible to stir up people’s feelings by giving certain arguments and again it is for the people to decide because sooner or later the people will know what is in their interest. They will come to know their interest, hit upon their interest, even after they are temporarily misled. I am not going to be a pace-setter. I will do my duty. I will point out what should be our state of relations with the authorities at Dacca. That will be my duty, but if the people feel differently for the time being, then I will wait for some more time, because they will realize, if not today, then on some other occasion. What should be our state of relations with Muslim Bengal? The people are directly involved in this relationship, this direct relationship and they will come to the right conclusion. Their lies will be affected. Their future has a bearing on the kind of relationship we have with Muslim Bengal. Because we are involved in so many matters and we cannot attend to each and every matter with the same intensity for the moment, the people may feel differently but it is for them to decide finally. It is their consent we want. We also have a duty to tell the people what should be the state of our relations with Muslim Bengal and that duty we will fulfill in due course. But whether it is Simla or our relations with Muslim Bengal the people will finally have to decide, and we will try to put forward the point of view which we think is in their interest.