4 March 1973
Yoru are here Interviews

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 T.V, he said Japan now possesses tremendous economic resources. It had built up foreign exchange reserves of $25 billion 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 labor-intensive industries in Pakistan, which were being closed down in that country because of the soaring labor 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 $92 million had been repaid. Two thirds of the remaining $243 million were spent in East Pakistan on the setting up of the Chittagong refinery and two fertilizer factories. As such, the credits given to West Pakistan in fact amounted to $100 million, he added.

Coans had even participated in their road-building ceremony. There was a ceremony when the road was completed, and the Chinese invited the Indians to participate in that ceremony. And the Indians participated in that ceremony. Later on, the Indians claimed trms 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. He said a country like Japan, which had economic resources and power, and political wisdom and sagacity could have its voice felt and heard in the name of peace. He was confident that her voice would be respected in this regard.

The President said 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 rectification 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 in the United Nations, you can already see the difference. There is a growing difference,” he 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 interviewer 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 interest 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 entertain 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 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 many sacrifices were made for the creation of Pakistan. But if for one 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 so many common factors that cannot vanish so easily.”

In reply to another question, the President regretted that India is still holding on to our ninety-two thousand (92,000) prisoners of war including over 20 thousand civilians, women and children, in utter violation of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Resolutions, 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 willing 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,” he said.

Replying to a question as to 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 (60m) 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 Asian 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 land”, that would be a big contribution.

In reply to another question concerning the farming of the Permanent Constitution for the country, the President remarked that there 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 on 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 she 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 hard-working people of this nation, who had made major contributions in the history of subcontinent, would re-assert their importance and position for peace, not for war.

He said, “our victory would lie in improving the conditions of our 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 going to be self-sufficient in sugar and wheat. Similarly, very good progress was being 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.




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