My brethren, friends and associates:
I am thankful to you that you have taken the trouble of coming over here at such a short notice. I am grateful to you that you have assembled here from far-flung areas to meet me and listen to my views. This is your right and my duty. Wherever I go, even for a few moments, I make every endeavor to establish contact and exchange views with my friends and brethren. This is the only means which gives me an opportunity to study the problems and views of my brethren. This job can formally be done in offices too. The importance of performing jobs while sitting in Islamabad office cannot be over-emphasized. Meetings, conferences, Cabinet meetings, meetings with foreign guests and delegations are held there. These have their own importance but the people's Government has its link with the people. It has to reach the masses, in cities, villages and in every province and area. I, therefore, strive to maintain a balance between office work and mass contact. So this is my third or fourth visit to your area. I had undertaken an extensive tour in the year 1973 but I could not come here, though I was keen to meet you.
You must have heard the speech I delivered at Muzaffarabad yesterday. I said that we did not interfere in your politics since our Government was formed. If one levels an allegation of this nature, it is far from truth. We advanced your politics, strengthened it and vested you with more powers. Formerly the affairs of Azad Kashmir and the Government of Azad Kashmir were not run from here. Presidents were appointed and Prime Ministers elected in Azad Kashmir but I know what powers they enjoyed. All the affairs of Azad Kashmir were conducted from Rawalpindi. All the powers were concentrated in the hands of a Joint Secretary, not even Secretary. But since we took over, we have gradually transferred powers to you. Your Government now enjoys vast powers. A Council, known as Azad Kashmir Council, has been constituted here. Your issues that concern the Federal Government go to the said Council. Our Government has cooperated with every government of yours. But what can I do when unfortunately one wants to set up a parallel government. If they claim that Azad Kashmir is completely independent and that it can have no connection whatsoever with Pakistan, it is obvious that this sort of government cannot be tolerated. Had they remained within the limits of law, there would have been no abatement in our cooperation. We cooperated with them to such an extent that they used to say that they got all their demands accepted by force by the Central Government. We never took ill of these matters because our cooperation was for the good of the people, but they transgressed the legal limits.
Then elections were held and on the basis of elections the People's Party Government was formed. It is not Azad Kashmir alone where the People's Party is in power. There is People's Party Government at the Centre. There is People's Party Government in Sind and in Punjab also. There was People's Party Government in Baluchistan too. NWFP also has People's Party Government. During the next elections too, you will, Insha Allah, again vote the People's Party to power with overwhelming majority, because this Party has served you in the past.
If you repose confidence in our party, I assure you that the People's Party will serve you far more than before. This is my promise to you and I say it with firm conviction. It is said that every Government makes promises of serving the people. It is not merely a matter of intention. Intention should be good and there is need for it. No good deed can be done if the intention is not good. Intention is pressingly needed but mere intention is not enough. There should be effort, determination, enthusiasm, dedication, political consciousness, plan, philosophy and a stand, along with intention. If sitting at home you say that despite good intention nothing is coming out, it would be a wrong notion.
Some people say that they want to eradicate poverty. Who says that poverty should not be eradicated? But there are methods for eradicating poverty. If you don't adopt those methods, how can you eradicate poverty? The People's Party has suggested the methods of banishing poverty from the country. Poverty cannot be banished in a day. Roti, kapra aur makan cannot come in a day from the sky. The achievement of roti, kapra aur makan is also a mental philosophy, which is that exploitation should be ended. This is called effort. There should not be mere intention. Intention requires a school of thought and effort. It also requires sacrifice, because big forces, trying to frustrate this effort, adopted all sorts of tactics. They don't come in open opposition. How can such people oppose openly? They would oppose and hatch conspiracies behind the screen. Our job is to frustrate those conspiracies and make the nation strong. This is our objective. If poverty is banished, the nation would be strong. How can Pakistan increase its strength, if poverty and want are not eliminated? Tell me the name of even one country where people are poor and yet it is powerful. The strength of a country depends on the strength of its people. If the people of a country are in a backward state, the strength of that country will not touch the skies.
My associates and friends, our venerable Sardar Ibrahim Khan was formerly a great leader of his party. He was not an ordinary member, but the President of Muslim Conference. But he has seen that after 20-25 years a Government has come to power that has overcome a number of crises—the problem of India, the problem of Bangladesh, the problem of the prisoners of war. He (Sardar Ibrahim) has thoroughly examined the record of this Government and arrived at the conclusion that this Government has performed good and right jobs and difficult tasks in different circumstances. After having seen all these, he decided and announced the merger of his party with our party. What was the selfishness in it? I don't find any such thing. But people are envious and see everything with doubt and suspicion. There was no other fact except that he studied the achievements of this Government and came to the conclusion that Pakistan can be served by this very method and he joined us.
Now come to the decision taken by Azad Kashmir Liberation League which had Mr. Khurshid as its President. It was a separate party but Mr. Khurshid also announced the merger of Liberation League with the People's Party. Nov Liberation League will have no separate existence. About Sardar Ibrahim Khan, it can be said that he is the President of Azad Kashmir but Mr. Khurshid is not in the Government. How then did he join the People's Party? Why are the people of this area joining our party? The answer to this question is that our Government has a stand, a policy regarding the future of Kashmir. This policy directly concerns the people of Kashmir. Had there been any fraud or deception in our policy, you would have been the first to perceive it because the decision lies with you. Pakistan can only provide support and cooperation. If a plebiscite is held, it will be the people of Kashmir, and not the people of Pakistan, who will cast votes. If the votes are to be cast by the people of Kashmir, they can also distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong. Had there been any defect in our Kashmir policy, or if it had been based on compromise or if there had been any fraud in it, why such personalities would have forsaken their parties and joined the People's Party. You know it well that we can, in no circumstances, resile from our stand or the right of self-determination. When we did not abandon our stand on the occasion of Simla Accord, when will the time come for us to do so? You know it fully, and all justice-loving people would bear testimony to it that nobody can criticise our policy on the Kashmir issue. Of course it is a different thing to level allegations. Such people can even say that I did not address a meeting at this place today. Who can believe such people? But you know and the world knows that this meeting has been held. However, set aside false words and propaganda and see the truth. You will see that there has been no change in my policy on the issue of Kashmir from the very beginning, since the day I entered the political field, since the day I assumed the responsibility of Ministership, during the days I was out of the Government and since the day I again took over. I never said that we should now forget this issue. How can we forget it? This question concerns the fate of Pakistan. It is the question of the destiny of Muslims. We can, in no circumstances, forget this issue. Other people may forget it but ultimately they too realize their misunderstanding. Just look at Sheikh Abdullah. Within a few months, he had misunderstandings with the Congress, and it was natural. The poor fellow had come with good intentions because he remained in prison and was out of power for such a long time. He was perhaps not aware of the complicated politics of these days and did not correctly assess it. However, all that was to happen has happened. But I assure you that there will, Insha Allah, be no inconsistency in our word and deed.
My associates, our policy is clear. We shall serve the poor in this region. We shall make our best endeavors for your economic progress. We are paying full attention to the development of power, and construction of roads and schools. We want to strengthen your Government. You will see that we shall, Insha Allah, by the grace of God and with your blessings, also seek a solution to the issue of Kashmir. I say that however high a mountain there may be in the way, there is always a way also to cross it. There is no problem in the world that has no. solution. We shall continue our efforts and, Insha Allah, will achieve a just solution at all costs. That this auspicious day shall dawn during your and our lifetime, is not beyond the grace of God.