President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto said that his Government was aware of its responsibilities towards the integrity of the country and would discharge them with thoroughness.
The President said that what happened in East Pakistan in 1971 did not happen even once in a lifetime. These were freaks, rather extraordinary development, which could not be repeated again and again.
He said in no circumstances will this country be dismembered again, and it is not so simple to do it. It would not have been possible even in 1971 if it did not have an imbecile running this country.
The President said that it was a mistake to over-simplify matters. There was a qualitative difference between East Pakistan and the situation here. In East Pakistan, where they spoke a different language and were ethnically a different people, they had come to feel that they were under colonial domination from 1,000 miles away. Besides, the people there had somehow or the other gathered around a cause. This was not the position here.
Replying to a question the President said that in Balochistan, the NAP had become quite unpopular and moreover, powerful tribes had arrayed themselves against it. They had alienated various sections of the population. In the Frontier also, there was only about a district or so, which could be regarded as a stronghold of the NAP. The President pointed out that the NAP did not have a workable coalition. If they had, they would not have pleaded for their own Governors. Actually it was only their Governors that kept them afloat. In one case he said the merits of the situation required that the Government should also go with the Governor. In the other case they felt there was a difference and it would not be necessary to take action against the Government. But the Government resigned and they tried to make a virtue out of their resignation knowing fully well that they will be defeated on the floor of the House when the Assembly meets. He said in any case within 30 days, the Assembly will meet in Balochistan and the new government will be formed. The NAP had only eight members out of a total of 22 in the Balochistan Assembly.
The President strongly repudiated ex-Governor Bizenjo’s allegation that troops were pouring into Balochistan. He said that after the withdrawal of the armies of Pakistan and India it was only natural that the Pakistan army should go into different parts of the country, where there were cantonments. The troops were there in Sindh and in the Punjab and they did not feel that this was something unusual or abnormal. There have been troops in Balochistan; there have been troops in the Frontier also. In any case, he said there had been no use of force in Balochistan. Not a single bullet had been fired and not a single person had been killed. No one had even been arrested in Balochistan so far. But he added the Government had to take certain precautionary measures. The President asked the BBC Correspondent to go to Balochistan and see things for himself. He said, if he was honest to himself, he would see that there was nothing at fire.
Asked whether he was sure that the arms seized in the Iraqi Embassy were really meant to be used in Pakistan and not against Iran, the President said as the time passed by, there was more and more evidence to justify their initial apprehensions. But leaving that aside, bringing arms is this unusual fashion to a friendly country was in itself an unfriendly act. Why should a friendly country consider it necessary to use Pakistan as a base for the dissemination of arms to any other country?
The President said that Iraq and Iran had a common border and Iraq did not have to hop in Pakistan to get to Iran. They had been using that border for centuries. There was also a wide and open sea, and it was not that they could not get to Iran from any other source but Pakistan. The President said that although they wanted to continue to have good relations with Iraq and did not want to heighten the tension that had arisen, they had, at the same time, to take cognizance of new developments that had taken place. There was a treaty that Iraq had with the Soviet Union just as there was a treaty that India had with the Soviet Union. Commenting on the suggestion that Iraq might be working for a third power in sending arms into Pakistan the President said that it was wrong for Iraq to be used by a third power like this. But even if it is for a third power, whichever that third power is, they are quite determined to take matters to their logical conclusion, if the circumstances so demanded.