Interviewer: Sir, may I being by expressing my grief over the floods? I have flown over the Ravi and what I have seen is really hear-rending. I am distressed.
PM: We had floods in 1973. They were of course very bad. But we had floods also in 1975. Now again this year we have them. They say that the world is entering a wet cycle but while there seems to be a wet cycle in some countries, in other countries there is a very dry cycle; in many parts of Africa there has been drought for a number of years. This year, in Europe there has been a severe drought. As you know, in England it has been very warm. In France, the crops have been badly affected.
Interviewer: In this speech in Lahore, Henry Kissinger said that your discussions held that morning were on the methods of security of the area rather than principles. In your welcoming speech you have hinted at a certain difference on principles. Can you say, Mr. Prime Minister, how your views differ on the principles and how you differ in your conclusions on the methods?
PM: I hope you noted that I told Kissinger that what we consider our security is indivisibly linked with that of Iran. We firmly believe that if, God forbid, Iran were to be in danger, or that Iran was overrun, Pakistan would find it very difficult to resist the avalanche. I am, of course, speaking hypothetically. In the same context, we believe that if, God forbid, Pakistan were to be overrun, Iran would be outflanked and outmaneuvered. This is not only my belief, I can say, without fear of contradiction, that it is a belief that the Shah of Iran has persistently held. His declarations on the subject are conclusive. As a matter of fact he has considered it to be an axiomatic proposition. It is not a mere coincidence that both the countries have come to share the same view. It is a natural and an obvious fact of life. We are also strategically placed, like Iran, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Due to our geographical location also we are tied together.
We feel, therefore, that it is essential for the United States to supply Pakistan with military material. For some psychological reason – I call it that because to me it does not seem rooted in logic – the American Administration has an enigmatical tendency to equate Pakistan with India. The American Administration often gives the impression that for it, except for the Pakistan-India danger to tranquility, that there is no other region with problems. There is a world, a world contiguous to India and Pakistan. It is wrong to assume that beyond Pakistan and India lies nothing. It is just as wrong to bracket Pakistan and India together and let India’s reactions to American military assistance to Pakistan outweigh every other consideration. This is neither fair nor rational. There is no justification for such an equation.
In the Past India used to say that she is building a formidable military force not because of Pakistan alone but because of China. You remember, the Indians used the China excuse, because for many years this went down well with most Americans. But now India is normalizing her relations with China. She is anxious to have good relations with China. India approached China repeatedly and after several initiatives China responded by exchanging Ambassadors with India. So there is no quarrel that India has with China. The bulk of India’s Armed forces, especially its Air force, are placed near Pakistan borders. And, remember also that, the Soviet Union is giving massive military assistance to India.
Interviewer: Is that being paid for?
PM: By barter, on very easy terms of payment.
Interviewer: Is that what you are asking for from the Americans?
PM: No, with the Americans there can be more than one way. We have treaty relations under which we can receive arms free of cost. That was the original basis of our bilateral agreement. We have two bilateral military agreements and we are also members of CENTO. Against this background we do not understand why the United States is so sensitive even to selling arms to us? And, sometimes, when the United States says it will sell us some arms it enters into a long debate on what weapons can be used for defensive or offensive purposes. Weapons today being what they are this issue is not easy to settle. And, the United States, brushing aside our treaty entitlement to receiving military assistance free of cost, demands payment in hard cash-no-credit.
But even if there was no treaty obligation, there are countries to which the United States is giving military assistance free of cost. These countries are not in the same category as Pakistan. So, our stand is that it is necessary for the United States to fulfill our essential military requirements, if not as assistance then sale on credit.
Interviewer: There is the mood of the Congress to be considered?
PM: Why should this apply only to Pakistan? Actually the mood of the Congress should apply to the whole world and not to Pakistan alone.
Interviewer: Mr. Prime Minister, the U.S. Secretary of State had warm praise, as well all do in Iran, for your efforts to improve relations with Afghanistan and with India. We are particularly interested in the speed of your rapprochement with Afghanistan. Can we, then, assume that the Durand Line is now both the line of peace and an international line?
PM: I do not wish to say anything, which may place in jeopardy the forthcoming negotiations that we are having with President Daud. You know very well that there are interested parties in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and outside Afghanistan and Pakistan that do not want a rapprochement between the two countries. It does not serve the interests of some countries. For this reason caution is necessary. I do not want to say anything on the trend of our negotiations.
What I can say is that I was very happy to visit Kabul, that my delegation was given a very good reception, and that our discussions were sincere and fruitful. I was impressed by that if we maintain this kind of dialogue, this quality of dialogue, we can make further progress.
Interviewer: Well, then may I reword that question? For the record, Sir, how are the negotiations proceeding?
PM: The answer I gave should help the other side in appreciating that we are not going to rock the boat or make things more difficult for them and I hope that they, too, would promote reciprocity. I am anxious to assist the other side in the process of moving towards a logical culmination of our discussions. We hope that they also will assist us in this process. In other words, we have to help one another in this matter.
Interviewer: This distinction between the line of peace and the international line has been made in Kashmir. But you have said you can’t compromise on Kashmir. I recall a magnificent speech made in August 1973, when you became Prime Minister. You said that it needed courage to face realities and that it was time for the country to get rid of the Bangladesh syndrome. Now what about the Kashmir syndrome?
PM: There is a very big difference between the two. Bangladesh was one thousand miles away and originally the Lahore Resolution spoke of two States. It was later on in 1946 that the leadership of Muslim Bengal insisted upon a federation rather than a confederation and they changed the original Lahore Resolution at a convention, which was held in Delhi.
Kashmir on the other hand is geographically contiguous to Pakistan. Our rivers which you see so full of mischief these days have their watersheds in Kashmir. The Indus passes through the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and the Chenab also flows through the disputed State. So our rivers are linked and our economy is linked; we are linked by race, by culture and by religion. Therefore, there is a distinct difference between the two situations, which you described as syndromes.
In 1947, the areas forming West Pakistan and East Pakistan were Muslim majority areas, and they voted against exploitation and perpetual domination to come together. The Kashmir people have never had the opportunity to vote on the question, although the United Nations, Pakistan and India promised them that right in the form of a plebiscite. In the State of Jammu and Kashmir, apart from geography, there are additional factors, those of economics, of trade and commerce, those of religion, of families and of blood. So many people in Punjab are from Kashmir.
Allama Iqbal himself was of a Kashmiri family settled in Punjab. These factors did not exist between Bangladesh and Pakistan.
So, I think there is a world of difference between the two positions. That is why in Simla, although we were at that time in the midst of our worst crisis and hardly in a position to be able to negotiate, hardly in a position to be able to resist, Pakistan did not compromise on Kashmir. Since we did not compromise on Kashmir in Simla, I fail to understand why we should compromise on such a fundamental issue now. As I said the other night, there are some issues on which a compromise can lead to a greater complication. We are quite prepared to have bilateral negotiations with India, on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, within the framework of the Simla Agreement. I am quite prepared, whenever the Indian Government is ready-and by that I do not mean that we are going to wait for another generation.
India cannot avoid having discussions with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. It exists, it is a reality, it has existed all these years but attempts to resolve it have failed. We should try again. In the reasonable, foreseeable future – let us say soon after the elections that are to take place in India and Pakistan – with fresh electoral mandates we should take up this issue and hold discussions on it.
I have said we are prepared for bilateral negotiations, and you know I have great faith in bilateralism. I believe it to be the most efficacious method of resolving disputes. If these bilateral negotiations fail, we are prepared to consider other peaceful avenues for the settlement of the dispute, even going to the United Nations although our experience there, for about a quarter of a century, has made us somewhat cynical about the outcome of its resolutions. There are other methods we can consider, arbitration, mediation or informal good offices. Peaceful methods have been tried in equally complicated problems in the past. They have been tried with success by other States.
So all these peaceful methods are open to India and Pakistan to arrive at a solution and that is why, since we are concentrating on a peaceful solution, we can contemplate no war over Jammu and Kashmir. That is why I call it a line of peace, the line of war. It will remain a line of peace but I do not say that it is going to become an international frontier. There is a difference between a line of peace and an international frontier. If I hade said that the ceasefire line was going to become the international frontier then it could have been interpreted to mean that I had conceded the part of Kashmir, which is held by India. I did not use those words “Line of peace” in contrast to the “Line of war” but it, nevertheless, remains a ceasefire line. They are holding their side of the line and we are holding our side of the line. The ceasefire line is not being hutted up as it was sometimes in the past.
Interviewer: Having demarcated the boundary of control, is it not logical to keep the momentum of rapprochement by allowing overland trade across what you call the line of peace?
PM: You know this would cause unnecessary confusion in the minds of some of our people. There is a segment of political opinion nurtured by people who are professionals in negativism. They thrive on negativism and they thrive on contradictions and on misrepresentation. They try to exploit the people. They think that the world has not moved since 1963 or 1948 or 1958 or 1968. Yes, in terms of the calendar they might think that we are in 1976, but the concept of how the world is moving today is completely alien to them. They are not in it, not part of it. They are not part of it because they don’t have a broad vision.
They have not seen the world. Some of them have seen the world as tourists but not as observers, scholars or political analysts. They have not been abroad to study problems. They have not, for instance, studied the German problems. They have not seen how Willy Brandt and the Germans overcame their difficulties. They do not seem to be aware of the Trieste question and how it was approached and resolved. They have not observed how the Shah has overcome the question of Iran-Iraq differences. They have not studied how the European Economic Community came into being.
You know that in politics you have to study various trends and various developments that take place. As I said in Quetta the other day, it is we who form part of the world and not the world that forms part of us. We cannot be oblivious of the trends and the tendencies that emerge in the world from time to time, how powerful is the impact they have on various events and situations. Taking a lesion from something that has been done else where in the world does not mean that we are compromising on our principles. They are sacrosanct.
But, apart from basic principles, there are other issues, which can be resolved. We should go in search of a solution on the basis I have outlined and this means also that we should discard a colonial or a clerical outlook. Some people get worked up about joint communiqués. They think that the problems of the whole world can be settled in joint communiqués. Such people have complexes. Some of them in our country do not want Pakistan to move forward. They do not want Pakistan to form part of today’s civilized world, which is marching ahead. They want to tie down Pakistan, to tie it down to the past, to retain the past slogans, to retain the past hatreds and to retain the past bitterness. As I said, they are professional negativists and they tell lies. For instance, in our relations with India we have adhered to the Simla Agreement; we have no secret agreement with India at all. If there were one, the secret would have by now been out.
What is it that remains secret in the world of today? Is it possible to keep an agreement secret for four years? Recently, Kissinger talked to me here on the nuclear reprocessing plant and the next morning there were stories about it in newspapers in London and Paris. So it is quite absurd to think that secrecy can be maintained on fundamental matters for four years.
But they keep telling our people that secret agreements also were concluded at Simla between, India and Pakistan. The sort of thing used to happen in the days of secret diplomacy, in the era of Bismarck when agreements were made above and under the table. But the Bismarkian era is a thing of the past and international agreements do not take place now under the table. This does not prevent our critics from repeating that we are selling our Pakistan’s sovereignty to India. Perhaps, they also think that the era of repeating big lies is not yet over.
Pakistan regards Iran a friendly and fraternal country. It purchased some onions and potatoes, which are perishable commodities from India, and it wanted us to see that the potatoes and onions reached Iran without perishing because your people needed those commodities.
I received an urgent message from His Imperial Majesty’s Government saying that they needed these vegetables urgently. We said: ”Yes, of course!” After all we are brothers; we must both act like brothers and show that we are brothers. So we said we would allow transit of the goods even though they were Indian goods. We said we would allow Iranian trucks to take these goods into Iran.
What a fuss was made over it by our opponents and how virulent was the propaganda they carried on. They said, that this concession was only the beginning and after Iran there would be India, and once India came into the picture there would be disaster. But who has given permission to India? We did not give India the permission to send its trucks over our roads.
Interviewer: Is the option open to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to become an independent state or join either India or Pakistan?
PM: Now you are talking about an independent State. We are placing our case on two principles of international law. One is the right of self-determination and the other, which is more important, the agreement between two parties. That agreement says that the Kashmir dispute would be settled by the exercise of the right of self-determination by the people whether the State of Jammu and Kashmir should accede to India or to Pakistan. We attach the highest importance to international agreements. If the international agreements between India and Pakistan was of a different nature, then that would have taken precedence over the general principle of international law. The principle of general international law, as you know very well, is always superseded by an agreement. It so happens that in this case the agreement did not go against the right of self-determination. The agreement says that the right of self-determinations to be exercised but that the choice is confined to accession by the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan and there is no third choice. If we allow a third choice, we break the agreement. To us that agreement has more value that the general principle of self-determination.
The general principle of self-determination also has a value and we are glad that this general principle, this universal principle, has been incorporated in the agreement. Why should we break it? Should we do it for something vague, for some flimsy notion which will b e brushed aside in time and with it Pakistan’s moral position, which is the main pillar of Pakistan’s case? And we will have also lost the legal basis of our case and for what? Not for a settlement! Then why should we break that agreement and toy with an adventurist notion?
PM: The agreement is not open to negotiation. We say that the agreement is binding and the agreement binds us to the right of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. It is for them to choose between India and Pakistan. If we say that a third choice is open then we will be breaking the agreement.
Interviewer: What I meant to ask, Mr. Prime Minster was that if there is a new agreement….
PM: Even if there is a new agreement we shall not abandon the principle of self-determination. We will not give up that general principle. We say that the new agreement has to be based on that general principle.
Interviewer: Would it not, in all fairness, be more logical to have, for example, a separate referendum in Kashmir and a separate referendum in Jammu?
PM: This is a hypothetical question and not at all relevant to a practical solution of the problem. First of all, in spite of the agreement and in spite of the general principle, the U.N. resolution remains defied. Why then open a Pandora’s box and go into the realm of fantasy and discuss hypothetical question? When this clear-cut, simple resolution is being defied by India, what makes you think that India will be in a better frame of mind to agree to some thing different? Why should we encourage India to break the agreement, which contains one of the most important principles of international law? If international agreements are to be broken, we will not fall back on arbitrary considerations or arrangements made for expediency. We stay with the principle that the right of self-determination should remain with the people.
Interviewer: When do you think relations between India and Pakistan will resemble those that exist between Sweden and Norway, and analogy that you, Mr. Prime Minister, have drawn in you book, “The Myth of Independence”?
PM: that can happen once the Kashmir dispute is resolved. I see no difficulty. There should be an enormous improvement in our mutual relations once the Kashimri dispute is resolved. It is a great tragedy that the Kashmir dispute has prevented us from opening up new vistas of boundless cooperation and I firmly believe that one we have found a satisfactory solution to the Kashmir dispute we shall respond wholeheartedly for good relations with India.
That was the original concept of Pakistan envisaged by Quaid-e-Azam. Quaid-e-Azam did not want Pakistan to be in perpetual enmity with India. He did not create a state so that it could always be at war with India. His whole concept was to the contrary. Quaid-e-Azam said and felt that since we could not live together in once country, it would be better for us to separate to from two sovereign states, to get our psychological, political and economic security by the formation of those two separate states and then to live as equals, as brothers and friends. Pakistan to him was the basis of creating equality between the Hindu community and the Muslim community.
Equality alone would result in a most congenial relationship between the two countries. Do you know he even envisaged that he could go after independence and live in his house in Bombay? He had spoken to many people like that. He said: “You know our relations will be so good, we will be living on the basis of equality as brother and have a house here and sometimes in winter go and live in a house there.” He did not expect the carnage and bloodbath that took place when the subcontinent was partitioned. Nor did he expect the two countries to be in a perpetual turmoil and conflict. His whole concept was of India and Pakistan as two equal sovereign states with the necessary psychological and political security to live like Sweden and Norway. But then the Kashimr issue came in and up upset every thing.
Interviewer: Sir, referring to your book, “The Myth of Independence” and recalling Dr. Kissinger’s speech in Lahore, one is bound to say that your China policy of the 1960s was a real pioneer statesmanship. From the perspective of history, however, can it be said that your opening up to China was inspired by strategic considerations vis-a-vis India?
PM: No, not vis-à-vis India. This is what the Indians have said and this is an unfair charge. So much so that not once but twice-once as Foreign Minister and once as the President of Pakistan, I told the Indians that if they thought in that vein they could ask us to use our good offices to improve their relations with China. I made this offer to Swaran Sing when he was the foreign Minister and to Mrs. Gandhi at Simla. I said, ‘Please do not think that our relations with China are based on the exclusive considerations of our relations with India. This is not the position. But if you think this to be so, there is a test, there is an acid test and that acid test lies in the fact that we are prepared to lend a hand in improving your relations with China.
We certainly did take into account China’s strategic importance but not in the context of India, but in the context of Asia, the much larger perspective of China’s role both as a Pacific power and as a continental land mass adjacent to the Soviet Union, adjacent to Pakistan and, as I said, having its specific orientation and a population of seven hundred million people. We felt that it would not be possible to have a successful United Nations, an effective United Nations, without the participation of the real China. We felt it unrealistic to expect that the major issues of Asia at least could be resolved without the full participation of China. And this is what happened.
For example, the Vietnam War came to an end. We felt that on the larger plane there could not be disarmament, real disarmament, universal disarmament and complete disarmament if ever it is to come, with China excluded from the disarmament negotiations. We felt that questions like apartheid and segregation could not really be resolved without the full force and support, in international forums and in other regional forums, of the People’s Republic of China. So, our motivation for improving relations with China was not only that it was neighbor of Pakistan having a common border of about three hundred and seventy miles through some of the most difficult and rugged terrain of the world but also because of the other factors outlined by me. Our relations, apart from relations with Iran, with our other neighbors were not as good as we would have liked them to be. We wanted a better relationship with our neighbors. This also was among the much bigger considerations, which I have already stated.
Interviewer: Sir, you once said that in Mr. Nehru’s time there were great failings over Kashmir and China. How did he fail over China?
PM: He failed over China because – and I am putting it very mildly and very briefly – in 1962 he initiated a war with China. You see he did not grasp the realities of the situation. He thought China was irritating him by trying to straighten out the boundaries and that he should throw them back from the boundaries. If you read all the documents of those days you will find them confirming that conclusion. In Madras he made a speech. He said: ”I have ordered my forces to throw Chinese out”. Then he went to Colombo and he was asked by Madam Bandaranaike whether he really meant to do that; and he replied that the time had come when India must throw the Chinese out of its border area.
Chou Enali had gone to India before that to negotiate a peaceful settlement and to arrive at some “no war agreement”. He had laid down the principles on which negotiations could take place. Nehru rejected all of them. You might have also come across this in a well-written book by Neville Maxwell, “India’s China War”. In those days the Unites States Joint Chief of Staff was General Maxwell Taylor, who also said that the Indians took the initiative and started the war – the boundary conflict. But the world opinion at that time was so much in the hands of those who wanted to make India look like the victim that they gave a distorted picture of the position and said that China had invaded India. The fact was otherwise; India had ordered its armed forces under General Kaul to throw out the Chinese from what it regarded to be Indian territory and what the Chinese regard as disputed territory.
Interviewer: The Chinese had moved into that area?
PM: The Chinese had moved much earlier into Laddakh, and the Indians 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 that territory of Aksai Chin. They saw the road being built and they participated in the ceremony and then promptly claimed it to be their own territory.
But even if India had claimed the territory, it did not mean that she should have gone to war over it. The Chinese told them repeatedly: “Let us not fight over it; do not try to use your guns; do not try to muscle into the territory; we can come to a negotiated settlement.” But Nehru misjudged the whole situation and he thought that he was capable of just pushing the Chinese back and that they would do nothing. China at that time was isolated and the Sino-Soviet differences had also arisen. This was not then known to the world but was known to Nehru.
In 1962, China was not what China is today. Nehru really thought that he would teach the Chinese a lesson, and it turned out to be a lesion in reverse because China hit back and China hit back hard and the Indians came rolling down the hills and when they came rolling down the hills then there was complete panic. The Chinese, very wisely, declared a unilateral ceasefire, withdrew their forces, returned all the weapons and equipment to the Indians, and even put petrol in their tanks and trucks.
Interviewer: There was a very violent world outcry against the Chinese?
PM: That was because of Communist and non-Communist positions but in the records, in confidential discussions, in congressional hearings, and in all the discussions that took place in CENTO in which we participated, it was admitted by every one that the Indians had made the first move.
Interviewer: In the long-term strategic sense would you not agree that your China policy made the Russians push more towards South Asia and the Indian Ocean?
PM: The Russians are a Great Power and a Super power. The Russians have age-old objectives. There might be a change of systems and a change of government but the objectives of the Super Powers do not change easily. The Russian objectives would have remained unchanged even if there had not been Sino-Soviet differences.
Interviewer: In your recent essay on the RCD there seems to be a constant theme of a vision of the greater unity. Then in the context of the Third World problems, Mr. Prime Minister, the contention seems to be that the non-aligned conference should dissolve itself into a much more comprehensive concept of Third World unity.
PM: I would not say, “dissolve” because that could be misunderstood. I am not speaking as a politician. I am speaking as a person to person. I would say that it would be a logical step to take. But in my present position I cannot take that position. I cannot write as a journalist and so I am not saying the non-aligned countries should dissolve their forum but I would certainly plead that the conference of the nonaligned should elevate itself to a higher forum, a forum of the Third World and on that basis we might find a rationale to promote our interests.
Interviewer: I was going to ask, Mr. Prime Minister, whether you envisage a Third World conference?
PM: I have been asking for that. When I sent to Pyongyang I made the proposal for a Third World conference. We are not lobbying for it yet. I do not believe in making the wires hot, sending emissaries and special envoys. With the gathering of momentum, events will carry out proposal towards that direction. At present, I have only given the call. I have raised the curtain. The Nairobi Conference failed, so more people have started thinking that there may be some thing in this Third World conference. The Paris Dialogue is bound to fail. It is now obvious, is it not? Then those who take part in the Paris Dialogue will say there is something in the Third World. The Non-aligned Conference will not come to any unanimous or any far-reaching decisions, which would have a significant impact on world affairs. So some more people will say that there should be a Third World conference. And that the special session of the United Nations is not going to succeed because industrialize countries will not let it be a success. So, as I said, events are moving towards a Third World conference. As the level of realization increases so our diplomatic efforts will increase with it.
Interviewer: Would this not lead to bipolarization between the third World and the industrialized nations?
PM: That is already there, but you see that this bipolarization is not on-sided. The industrialized world is taking all the advantage. Take economic advantages, for example. They take all advantages even from oil-producing countries and the Third World is left holding the rough end of the stick. What I have in mind is a more articulate unity of the Third World, expressed in impressive terms. It can be expressed in impressive terms when it is both aligned and non-aligned-all the Third World, the oil-producing nations, the non-oil-producing nations, all get together to demonstrate their unity for better terms in trade and for loans and for debt rescheduling and for a change in the monetary system.
The industrialized countries are telling some of the oil-producing countries that this conference is directed against oil-producing countries. This is mischief. It is a deliberate mischief because they have been trying to drive a wedge between non-oil-producing and oil-producing countries. They tell you people; What are you worried about, you are now one of us and you should not trouble about these other people? You cannot go on fixing the prices of bananas and eggs and of other commodities and oil. You are one of us-Mediterranean and European. You know what they tell us. They tell us, look at these people. Are you not angry with them? Are you not going to protest? We, the industrialized countries, who are not Asians and Africans, are giving more technical and other assistance to your countries than the oil rich countries.
What is the point in spending and wasting their money and squandering away their money by buying hotels in Europe, by buying real estate in America, by acquiring arms which they do not need, by having ten to twenty reactors which they do not need, when they do not even have the manpower. If they would only share some of that wealth! Why don’t you confront them? They take this line with us and surely their purpose is to break the unity of the Third World. My objective is that the Third World conference should stop this mischief, to tell the oil-producing countries that the Third World countries are not angry with them. On the contrary they are grateful to them.
Countries like us wish them prosperity because if they can become rich, we too will be affected as their possession of riches will have repercussions. As it is, our labor is being employed and is being absorbed by some of them. We have the manpower. We have a pool of technological experience. So, in a way, we share in their wealth. What we should tell the oil producing countries is that we together have to demonstrate greater unity because there is no conflict between us. If there is a change in the monetary system the oil-producing countries will not suffer on account of that. How do they suffer if poorer Third World countries get better terms of trade, if they get better credit facilities, if the tariffs for their products are reduced, if debt-re-scheduling is permitted, if there are more and better terms for credits and loan repayment? All this for the Third World would not be in conflict with the interests of oil-producing countries. But there are whispers being spread, to the effect the moves of the poorer Third World countries are to embarrass the oil producers, and to us the whisperers say that the oil producers do not care for you. Our answer should be to close our ranks.
Interviewer: Mr. Prime Minister, would you like to amplify your recent statement that what you had predicted in your essay on the RCD had come true?
PM: Well, what I asked for was closer collaboration between Iran and Turkey and Pakistan in military and economic spheres – a more integrated association.
Interviewer: But is that in accordance with your concept of bilateralism?
PM: When our three countries – Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, are involved, I have to take into account our historical legacy. This historical legacy of collaboration between our three countries, the special relationship goes back to 1947 when Pakistan came into being. I am not a dismantler of special relations, especially when they are natural. Therefore, I have said that RCD is to be restricted to these three countries because there has been an evolution between these three countries. They have stood together with each other through thick and thin, through stresses and strains and through many vicissitudes. We have been tested in many ways that gives us a common historical experience, this naturally becomes our legacy. So far as this legacy is concerned, it is a historical legacy. We are proud of this legacy.
Interviewer: Certainly, in another sphere you predictions about intrigues in Lebanon, your warnings, have been proved very much to the point. May I ask, Mr. Prime Minister, why it is that in the capacity as Chairman of the Islamic Conference you did not summon the Islamic leaders to discuss this problem?
PM: No, it is not that we remained silent. When we tried to take some initiative behind the scenes-such initiatives usually begin behind the scenes and if there is a response then things come out in the open. We were told that this is a matter, which concerns the Lebanese and that there should be no outside interference. Afterwards, when it became a wider problem we were told that this is an Arab problem and that it should remain an Arab problem.
Interviewer: But, Sir, as Chairman of the Islamic Conference you could have raised it at the open session?
PM: No, I could not force it upon the delegates, especially on the Arab leaders.
Interviewer: Sir, the Muezzin does not forego his call to prayer if there are not enough people to come to pray?
PM The analogy does not hold good for the Islamic Conference when the delegates had assembled at the call of the Muezzin. When Muslims respond to the Azan they know what they are being invited to do: to offer prayers, to respond as Muslims have responded for nearly fourteen centuries to the Azan. The agenda for the Islamic Conference – formal or informal–was a different matter. If I had given the call for a discussion in an open session and there had been a half-hearted response on an acrimonious debate, that would have encouraged the opponents of the cause. This would have been ruthless. As you see, even today, ruthlessness is not one of the things, which is lacking in the Lebanese conflict. No magnanimity is being reported from there. Usually in such conflicts the wounded and non-combatants are allowed to be evacuated, but this is not being done in Lebanon. The Red Cross did not forego its call for truce, but you know what happened when one side responded positively. The result in Lebanon may influence the final settlement in the Middle East. Events there have included mistakes and those who have made them will suffer.
Interviewer: What about the Lebanese Muslims?
PM: We have sent a medical mission to Lebanon and we would have done more. They have been caught in this flare up because they demanded the right to ask for a change in Lebanon’s constitution. The constitution was outdated. It placed political and economic power in the hands of the Christian barons. The demographic position has changed. The people have become more enlightened. New economic factors have emerged and the economic imbalance has increased. There was need for a change in the constitution. The Palestinians got involved and the fighting became bitterer, it took on a new dimension. New arms came from outside, then encouragement to both sides, then calls for Lebanon’s partition, and then a plan of action which is aimed at liquidation of the Palestine Liberation Organization. And if PLO is liquidated, a call may come for a new form of Middle East settlement.
Interviewer: Did Mr. Kissinger say this?
PM: No, I am saying this.
Interviewer: Turning to the domestic scene, Sir, may I ask the Prime Minister why there is still emergency in Pakistan?
PM: Yes, Emergency in Pakistan is there for some reasons. First, we have not resolved our differences with Afghanistan. We are still in the process of resolving them. Secondly, the Kashmir dispute with India is still unresolved, and to make maters worse, the opposition is not happy at our process of normalization with India. Thirdly, even if this process is completed we would have to watch the situation before we lift the emergency. The purpose is to prevent any thing that will go against the consolidation of national effort and national unity. Fourthly, it was only in 1971 that this country was dismembered. The aftermath of dismemberment is still there. The fall-out has not ended. Agents are still hanging around. Intrigues are still taking place and manipulations are going on.
There have been attempts to throw bombs in public places like cinemas. We have broken the back of the insurgency but all its germs have to be stamped out. Such situations take time to resolve. For an under-developed country in a strategic area, in which Great Powers are actively interested, to think of an instant end to a state of emergency can be unrealistic. It is better to keep the emergency in effect till the objectives for which it was imposed are achieved. It should not be applied intermittently as and when a crisis arises. It should be lifted when the situation has stabilized and matured, and various issues do not force us to bring back the emergency.
Take an issue like the nuclear reprocessing plant we are purchasing from France. It may force us into a position of confrontation with a Great Power. In this case the issue was discussed with Mr. Kissinger and we have agreed not to go into confrontation over it. But, suppose, he had taken a different position and they would have cut off our economic assistance. We would have immediately imposed emergency.
So you see, the ingredients are all there. The world itself is going through a perpetual kind of emergency. In the circumstances to prematurely and complacently lift the emergency, when all the factors, live, dead, latent and potent are present, would be unrealistic over-confidence.
Interviewer: You have said that your policy is democracy. Is there democracy now in Pakistan?
PM: There is democracy in Pakistan to the extent that our mental, our cultural and spiritual levels, and, above all, our temperaments, accept its institutions after thirteen years of dictatorship. After this long period, democracy will take time before it is generally recognized as such. This acceptance by some may take time, as will the vestiges of dictatorship may take time to disappear from all sectors of our public life.
Interviewer: Your party is really gaining much confidence of the people; do you think there is a chance of moving toward a different type of democratic system?
PM: You mean a presidential system. This question will best be left to the electorate. This question might arise in the elections. It would not be raised by my party, but I have reason to believe that some people might raise the question whether we should or should not have a presidential form of government.
see the tragedy of Pakistan is that Mr. Ayub Khan said he gave a presidential form of government to Pakistan, where as he did not really give a presidential form of government to Pakistan, but the people thought that his system was the presidential system. So, every one became opposed to it when they became opposed to him and his system. But his was not the presidential form of government. When my party went to the electorate we had no alternative but to go in for a parliamentary system because there was so much antipathy to Ayub Khan’s presidential form of government that all parties in the elections in their manifestoes had said that they would go back to the parliamentary system.
Secondly, East Pakistan was part of Pakistan and in a parliamentary system it is easier to divide power between tow wings. To elaborate, in a presidential system this is more difficult to achieve. The Vice President does not have the powers that a Deputy Prime Minister in a parliamentary system has. So because of the East Pakistan factor and the failure of Ayub’s so-called presidential system each one of us, each party in its manifesto, said that there should be parliamentary form of government. Now for five years we have had a parliamentary system. I do not know if we can have it for another five years.
The people are not happy with the influence that members of legislative assemblies have. Members of the assemblies, it is said, wield too much patronage and too much influence but all this is part of a parliamentary system. They are to be kept happy but all the people are not happy with that. They are not happy that there should be a certain privileged class in a position to extort, from the government, concessions, which are not reasonable, or beyond their normal requirements, requirements beyond the reach of the common man. So this aspect of the problem has begun to worry the people.
The parliamentary system has a corrupting influence, which the real presidential system has not. In a presidential system the legislature can be resisted. The president can say that if the legislature passes a law, which is impracticable, which the people do not like, he will veto it. The assembly can reconsider it and again pass it. But its members would then be accountable to the voters themselves. The President is there for a period of time and others cannot interfere. This cannot be done in a parliamentary system. The Prime Minister can be changed at any time.
Interviewer: You have said that your economic policy is based on Marxism. But, surely, Marxism would not apply to a rural economy like yours?
PM: I have said that we accept, in our party, only the economic analysis of Marxism. In the economic analysis of Marx the peasantry was not excluded. There are volumes on the peasantry, on land reforms without compensation and on land belonging to the tiller.
Marx said that Communist revolution would be spearheaded by the industrial proletariat, and that the first place should be given to the proletariat because it is the engine of the revolution.
But what we say is that we reject Marxism, in its historical interpretation of history. We reject Marx on the ground that it denies the existence of God. Marx said that there is no God and that there is no world hereafter. We believe that there is a God and that there is a world hereafter. We reject Marx’s concept of a stateless society. We believe that structures of States are part and parcel of the scheme of things.
We reject Marx even to the extent that there can be a complete withering away of what are called the upper classes. We think there will always be groups of people who are better endowed, with some talent or the other, than others. And this will result in class differences, but what we do not want is that there should be a distinct class of exploiters or a permanent class of exploited people. But we do take a lot from Marx. We accept Marxism and its concept of economic planning; we do not leave the development of economy to the capricious market forces. Market oriented economies lead to fluctuations, lead to depressions and inflations. The better the economy is planned, and on a scientific basis, and this can be done properly only by the State, not by entrepreneurs, the better it will be for social beings.
But here we also say that we have not done away with the private sector. We believe that only the essential industries, the basic industries, should be in the State sector as also those industries which are not really industries but are reprocessing plants like cotton ginning and rice husking mills where anti-social elements turn out sub-standard products, which adversely affect the lives and health of the people. You know, I gave these mill owners a chance to mend their ways. For four years, I told them that they should not play with the health of the people. I told them not to mix all sorts of things in wheat flour, not to adulterate and not to export goods that are not of the same quality as their approved samples because this gives the country a bad name. But the anti-social elements among them ignored these warnings and continued their adulteration of products for sale at home and abroad. In this situation, I decided that, Marx or no Marx, this kind of business cannot be tolerated and that is why we nationalized the wheat, rice and cotton processing units.
Interviewer: Mr. Prime Minister, Pakistan once more enjoys the federal government promised by the Lahore resolution of 1940 and the Objectives Resolution of 1949. But you have also said that Federalism is a transitory phase towards Unitarianism. You have even quoted the United Kingdom as an example. In view of the devolution process in U.K. and the move toward more provincial authority in other federalist states, do you think, Mr. Prime Minister, that Unitarianism is necessary or desirable?
PM: It is a general principle of jurisprudence. There are exceptions to it, of course. When I say that federalism is an evolutionary stage towards Unitarianism, I am speaking as a scholar of international law.
I was a student of a great jurist, Dr. Hans Kelsen. He held the view that Federalism is a stage in the evolutionary development of society and that Unitarianism cannot be imposed on a society unless conditions are ripe for it. There is a gradual development into the unitary stage. This is what he said.
From individuals you become a family, from a family you become a tribe, from a tribe you become a society, from a society you become a state, from a state you become an international state. This is the general principle of international law and jurisprudence on the general evolution of society.
Interviewer: What does the Prime Minister think have been the fundamental causes of the trials and tribulations suffered in the first 25 years of the history by your great people?
PM: Well, the hangover from the British Raj was a long one. Many British concepts and ideas were artificially injected into a situation that has changed. As I told you some of our leaders thought that they were in he thirties or forties. Some acted as if they were in the thirties. So, many errors of judgments were made in their approach to politics.
The way they handled the East Pakistan situation is an example. It was looked upon not as a very complicated and serious problem. They never realized properly that here was a region a thousand miles away, with a majority of our population and feeling that they do not fully participate in the decision making process. When the people of East Pakistan asked for a greater voice in the affairs of State the leaders here-sometimes self-appointed-said that the East Pakistanis wanted to dominate, and sometimes that in the name of Islam they should mute their demands. They would bring Islam into most issues and they did a great disservice to Islam by doing so. The leaders here would argue: Oh, you are East Pakistanis. Why do you want seats in the legislature on a population representation basis? Are we not all Muslims? Let there be parity. They did not realize that they were really helping those who wanted to divide the country. Parity really meant two states. It was sheer expediency to suppose that all solutions lay in invoking our common religion.
The reaction came in the form of a backlash of provincialism. The people in East Pakistan began retorting: Yes, we are Muslims but this does not mean that this should happen or that should happen or that, we should not have representation or we should not get our due rights. So, provincialism because a monster, which leaders, who were weak – because they were a residue of the British Raj – could not control by old methods. They did not go to the people; instead they tried to handle everything through the bureaucracy. They leaned too heavily on bureaucracy and thought that by sitting in a room and having some conferences they could contrive to hoodwink the people into accepting formulas, which were unjust. That was the kind of approach that led to separation.
The military dictators ruled like ignorant individuals who thought that the whole thing was an Army drill and all that was required was that regimental orders had to be issued and every one will fall in line as if on a regimental parade ground. Their approach to political problems and political issues was not political at all. They said: Let us use force and let us teach them a lesson. A government has to use force when necessary, my government has had to do so when driven to the wall. But we did not forego the political process.
If we used force in Balochistan at some places I demonstrated by going there often that the political presence was very much there. I have gone there in winter, in summer, in heat and cold, whatever the climate – 120 degrees or even below freezing point I have been in Balochistan, I have been on tour, there, for twenty days, for fifteen days, for shorter and longer periods. Why? Just to meet the people. No only do I meet the people but I explain to them the problems. I regard this as a process of political educations, both mine and of the people. This helped in rousing the people, in harnessing their power to crush the insurgency, a foreign inspired insurgency and to abolish the sardari system.
I have been to Balochistan to give away three hundred thousand acres of land free of cost to tenet farmers. In all this, a great deal of patience was exercised. To win over the hearts of the people may sometimes be more difficult than to chisel though a rock but the one route that does not go there is route march by military men with death dealing weapons.
I have told you already of the failure of the politicians in the past. And then there were intrigues. Many in India have not really reconciled themselves to the creation of Pakistan and they have kept trying to infiltrate subversive ideas to scholars, to poets, to professors, to students, to cultural forums all the time.
These Indians have always said: we are really one nation. Even today if you listen to Amritsar Radio, the underlying motive seems to be cultural penetration. Why are we divided, it says, one brother is living on this side and another is living on the other side? This is artificial. This propaganda was and is there in some transmissions all the time. It was so especially in the Bangla transmissions. I do not mention the part played by some countries bigger than India; they were interested in certain strategic goals. These were the factors, which were the cause of our trails and tribulations, about which you asked.
Interviewer: Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.