Welcoming closer Pak-Japanese economic links, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto said that there exists a wide open scope for economic collaboration between Pakistan and Japan and the two countries can undertake joint ventures in industrial sector to their mutual benefit.
In an interview with the Japanese TV, he said Japan now possessed tremendous economic resources. It had built up foreign exchange re-serves of 25 billion dollars, enabling her to make substantial investments abroad. Pakistan offers great scope for such investments, he said.
Identifying some of the fields in which the two countries could collaborate, the President said apart from undertaking joint industrial ventures Japan could set up labour- intensive industries in Pakistan, which were being closed down in that country because of the soaring labour costs. Besides, they could get intermediary products from Pakistan for their own economic use.
The President said economic collaboration between the two countries had been gradually increasing during the past 25 years. During this period, Japan had advanced to Pakistan credits worth 334 million dollars, out of which 92 million dollars had been repaid. Two thirds of the remaining 243 million dollars were spent in East Pakistan factories. As such, the credits given to West Pakistan in fact amounted to 100 million dollars, he added.
Comparing this amount with the big loans advanced by Japan to other developing countries, the President told his interviewer that there was great scope for greater economic collaboration between the two countries and for this they could negotiate very good terms to their mutual benefit.
In reply to a question the President said Japan could play an important role in maintaining peace and equilibrium in the world, particularly in Asia.
He said Asia had been troubled by so many conflicts, wars and internal upheavals that a country like Japan which had economic resources and power, and political wisdom and sagacity could have its voice felt and beard in the name of peace. He was confident that her voice would be respected in this regard.
The President said that Japan could play this role both inside and outside the United Nations. Japan had recently taken many constructive steps outside the United Nations such as the opening of a dialogue with China and reactivisation of her Policy in South East Asia. He hoped that the future relations between Pakistan and Japan would also acquire more depth and substance.
Like Japan, he said, China had also a role to play in Asia, there could be no international disarmament without her participation and even the United Nations could not play its full role without her participation. “Now that China is n the United Nations, you can already see the difference. There is a growing difference,” be observed.
The President said with Pakistan the relations of China “have been those of traditional friendship and we never had any cause of complaint in this friendship. It has been of mutual benefit.”
Referring to the role of Big Powers during the 1971 crisis, the President told his interview that there had always been power politics in the world, but big Power politics was something even bigger. “Naturally we came under all sorts of compulsions and conflicting interests of the Great Powers and as a result of it you saw what happened. The situation in the subcontinent had become very critical.”
However, the President said, ”we want to try to forget the past as we want to open a new chapter in our country’s history.” Pakistan he said, did not want to maintain any bitterness. Although the way this country was treated in 1971 was unprecedented in the history of the world, yet ”we want to embark on a new chapter.”
He said that the people of Bengal and West Pakistan had been in a common struggle for centuries. Pakistan did not come into being all of a sudden. It was created “because for centuries we have had the same objectives and same aims and people from that side and this side struggled together for the creation of Pakistan.”
He said that many sacrifices wee made for the creation of Pakistan. But it for our reason or the other ”our friends and brothers from the other side” have separated we could not help remembering our past associations.
The President said that if in centuries a link had been broken, that could be restored on the basis of what the people of East Pakistan want, On our part, we want to get together again, but if they do not want to do so we could, at least, have the best of relations with them.
“We want them to have success. We want them to overcome their difficulties because such historical associations rooted in religion, culture and in a so many common factors cannot vanish so easily.”
In reply to another question, the President regretted that India was still holding on to our 92 thousand prisoners of war including over 20 thousand civilians, women and children, in utter violation of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Resolution which clearly stated that they must be returned to Pakistan. This, he said, was completely against the International Law.
The President said that the United Nations could certainly help in the solution of this problem. “it can play a role and on our part we are quite wiling to co-operate with the United Nations for them to make a contribution for the solution of this problem. That is why we welcomed the visit of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Pakistan.” The President said.
Replying to a question as t how Pakistan could contribute to the maintenance of world peace, the President said, we could do so firstly by bringing about “stability in our own country because we are in charge of sixty million people and we want to improve their condition. If we can bring about stability in our own country that will be a contribution.”
Besides, Pakistan could further the cause of peace in the South Asia Continent if her relations were improved with Muslim Bengal, India, Afghanistan and other countries of the region. He said this big area was very important strategically and if Pakistan could make some contribution to bring peace to this “tormented lad,” that would be a big contribution.
In reply to another question concerning the framing of the Permanent Constitution for the country, the President remarked that here had been a long and tragic history in Pakistan over the question of autonomy for the Provinces, he said for the long 25 years, this remained the most important problem and was one of the reasons of the 1971 crisis. He said the demand of East Pakistan for more autonomy was in fact a demand for confederation and not for autonomy. But this problem had now been resolved and he hoped that within about eight weeks time a democratic popular and acceptable constitution would be framed for the country.
Visualizing the future of Pakistan, the President said that given time and opportunity, and co-operation and sympathy, which she so richly deserved after the way the had been treated, this country could make tremendous economic progress. Strengthen her institutions and make her contribution in international affairs. He was confident that the hardworking people of this nation who had made major contributions in the history of the history of the subcontinent would re-assert their importance and position for peace, not for war.
He said; “Our victory would lie in improving the conditions of one people, in showing the world that this part of the subcontinent is the most advanced, most progressive and most prosperous.”
Already he said, Pakistan had become self-sufficient in rice which was being exported, and within a year the country was gong to be self-sufficient in sugar and wheat. Similarly, very good progress was bring made in the field of industrialization.
But, he said, no matter how much industrial progress was made, people would not feel safe psychologically unless self-sufficiency in food was achieved. This is what is happening in India and Bangladesh where they are facing much shortage of food.