Launching the Election Campaign
Public Speech in Nishtar Park,
Karachi, January 4, 1970

The workers are in jails. They should beset free. They are not at fault. They are only fighting for their demands. My very first demand is that those workers and students who are in jails should be set free. We are launching our campaign from Karachi. This is not our first campaign. We have struggled already and overcome many difficulties. We have been in jails. The Pakistan People's Party will always side with the people, and with the poor workers and the peasants and the students.

By people of Pakistan I mean the majority of this country, not a few families, neither a small minority. We are the people of Pakistan. The people are my round table conference. The Round Table of Ayub Khan comprised only a few individuals who were conspiring against the people, shutting them-selves up in rooms. That is why we did not join the Round Table Conference. Our politics is the politics of the masses. It is politics of the open. The Round Table Conference was a deep conspiracy against the people. Ayub Khan wanted to sabotage the people's struggle. He wanted that the movement against him should fizzle out. That is why he summoned the Round Table Conference. He did not want to surrender power. He had government officers at his back. The capitalists, the feudalists, the army and the police were supporting him, but the people were not supporting him. Ayub Khan thought that he could hoodwink the people. That is why we did not join his Conference. We were with the people and could not have betrayed them. The people had made sacrifices. They had struggled against dictatorship.

Time has shown that our decision was in the interest of the people and that of the country. If we had joined the Round Table Conference, the movement would have failed. Ayub Khan would not have decided to hold elections. Nothing could be gained from the Round Table Conference, neither elections nor the decision on adult franchise. He had only conceded the parliamentary system and the other leaders wanted that I should call off the movement. He was a hunter but I am a better hunter. He could trap others but failed to trap Zulfikar Ali I escaped the trap because I did not want the people to be trapped. I shall always remain with the people.

I want to discuss the three main principles of my party. The first and foremost principle of the People's Party is that Islam is our religion. We shall lay down our lives for the sake of Islam, not only in Pakistan but wherever such a sacrifice is needed. My dear friends, we are all Muslims and have struggled for Pakistan against the Hindus and the British. Our first and foremost principle for which we will fight will be Islam. I can assure you that if the Pakistan People's Party had been in power and there had been a war in the Middle East we would have helped the Arabs. That would have been in keeping with the spirit of Islam and its honour. When I spoke in he Security Council, India's Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh, who is being complimented these days, left the Security Council. If I did not have the spirit of Islam and if I were not a servant of Islam, I could not have done it.

Gentlemen, please give me a patient hearing. I am going to say some thing very important in Karachi. Something about the war. Something about Tashkent. In this great city I shall relate a story. I have tolerated enough for the last three and a half years. Many spokesmen of the Government and others have been saying that I have nothing to say about Tashkent. This is a very important issue and should be discussed only at the right time. In politics there is a time for everything and one should calculate the need of the hour.

But first of all, I would like to discuss the principles of the Peoples Party. As I have explained, Islam is our first principle, then comes democracy. We have struggled for democracy. The people of Pakistan have struggled for democracy. In democracy the people are represented and their opinion carries weight. That is why the people of Pakistan want democracy and we have struggled for it. This struggle was not against our religion. There is no conflict between our religion and the principles of democracy. There is no party in Pakistan which does not stand for democracy. If democracy is not against Islam, the principles of equality are also not against Islam. That is why we say that our economy should be based on socialism. My dear brothers and sisters, if there was any conflict between Islam and socialism, I swear that we would have rejected socialism. I am a Muslim first and need no certificate from any party to that effect. Has politics in Pakistan dropped to a level that a Muslim should dub another Muslim as a 'kafir'? If you want to look for 'infidels,' you may go to India. If you call a Muslim a 'kafir", you do a great disservice to Islam.

I am sorry that it is being said "in Pakistan that there are certain 'Islam Pasand' parties and the others are anti-Islam parties. How can anyone be anti-Islam in Pakistan? Who says so? Who has the audacity to say that we are against Islam? The people who had opposed the Pakistan movement, the Nawabzadas who opposed the creation of Pakistan, are telling us today that equality is against Islam. There is as great a stress on equality in Islam as there is on democracy. These people who demand the parliamentary system of the British and fundamental rights as enunciated by the Europeans, do not regard them anti-Islamic. How can they call the principles of equality unIslamic? Equality is the basis of Islam. If democracy is hot against Islam then how is equality, which is called socialism in English, against Islam?

If our Quaid-i-Azam had been opposed to Islamic Socialism, if he had rejected socialism I would have followed him, but he stood for Islamic Socialism. We have to follow the lead given by our Quaid and not that of Pandit Nehru. Allama Iqbal had also pleaded for socialism because he believed that it was not in conflict with Islam. So did Hussein Shaheed Suharwardy. He also demanded socialism. When Mujibur Rahman talks of socialism he is not dubbed as a "kafir"; but when this humble man talks of socialism they say that Islam is in danger. This is nonsense. Islam is not in danger. Islam can never be in danger. It is the capitalists who are in danger. Now that capitalism is in danger they say Islam k in danger. Islam which is the religion of the people of Pakistan can never be in danger. Why has this question been raised in Pakistan? When the Quaid-i-Azam made this speech in Chittagong or when he spoke in the Constituent Assembly or in Bombay why was he not contradicted and told that he was speaking against religion? They did not tell the Quaid-i-Azam that he was against religion, but they did oppose the creation of Pakistan. Now they are opposing Islamic Socialism. My dear brothers, please note that the same people who opposed Pakistan are now opposing Islamic Socialism. This is only because they did not want Pakistan. They are still opposed to Pakistan and want to weaken it. That is why they say that they are against Islamic Socialism. I say that if you are against Islamic Socialism, you are against Pakistan.

My dear friends: Pakistan cannot progress under the present system. It cannot become a strong country if poverty and misery are on the increase. Pakistan can progress only if the people of Pakistan progress. The present position is that the plight of the common man is most miserable. There is large-scale unemployment. If the people fall sick they cannot get treatment in hospitals. How can Pakistan progress under these conditions? That is why this party demands economic change because without economic change there can be no progress in Pakistan. So far as socialism is concerned it is a programme for economic progress, just as democracy is a political programme. If we can be good Muslims by demanding democracy there is no reason why we cannot be as good as Muslims in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, the Sudan and in Algeria. All these countries are Islamic countries and they have adopted a socialist pattern of economy. Why can't Pakistan do the same? If socialism had been against the interest of Pakistan our Quaid-i-Azam would not have said that he believed in Islamic Socialism. Why are different interpretations of the Quaid's speech being given? Another question often asked by the critics is why did the capitalists not oppose this idea when Quaid-i-Azam declared his intention to introduce Islamic Socialism? The reason was that at that time their system was not in danger. That is why they accepted what the Quaid said.

After the Quaid-i-Azam, Quaid-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan also came out in favour of socialism. Presenting the 1947 budget in the Indian Parliament, as the Finance Minister of the Interim Government, he revealed himself. The Quaid-i-Millat himself called that budget, a poor man's budget, the peasant's and the labourer's budget. That was why Hindu industrialists opposed his budget. Then you can read the speeches of the Quaid-i-Millat delivered by him in America. I am talking to you impartially. I have spoken to Begum Liaquat Ali Khan and requested her to comment oh this issue because the Quaid-i-Millat was her husband. I told her she knew that the Quaid-i-Millat believed in Islamic Socialism and she should explain the real position. About three days ago I again met Begum Liaquat Ali Khan and spoke to her on this subject. She confirmed my impression.

If the Government wants they can enforce any system. If they can pass laws about the labourers they can pass any other law. But then they should not call themselves impartial. Do they think they can speak about anything they want to because there is Martial Law in the country? They should have some regard for their pledge that they are impartial. If they are impartial, why do they issue a statement every day against socialism? They say that they are the referees. What types of referees are they when they themselves try to score a goal?

It is being said now that the socialists should behave otherwise this country will be turned into another Indonesia. A million Muslims were killed in Indonesia. The blood of one million Muslims was spilled. Ninety per cent of Indonesians are Muslims and a million lost their lives. We are not going to allow the same thing to happen in Pakistan. We shall defend the lives of the citizens of Pakistan. Please listen carefully. It is the first time that I am speaking on the subject. What happened after the death of so many Muslims in Indonesia? Was a friend of Muslims replaced by another friend? I believe that what Soekarno did for Indonesia could not have been done by anyone else. Our opponents are happy at the fall of a person who came to the rescue of Pakistan at a very critical juncture. Ayub Khan had written a letter to Soekarno and when our emissaries look that letter to Ahmed Soekarno he said that whatever arms were needed by Pakistan will be provided. Some of his colleagues who are included in the present Government of Indonesia objected to it. They were of the opinion that Indonesia should not side with Pakistan against India because Pakistan was a member of the Commonwealth and had never helped them in their struggle. They said that there was no precedent for such assistance and that Indonesia should not send her submarines. Soekarno ignored this advice and offered all his submarines and planes to Pakistan. I am surprised to note that some people have forgotten that great Mujahid and proclaim with pride that they will change this country into an Indonesia. We can never forget that great revolutionary who led the struggle for independence for Indonesia and helped this country at a critical juncture.

My dear friends, please pay attention, 1 am going to tell you something very important. There was a time when Ayub Khan told me that if we could defend East Pakistan, our armies could break through to Delhi. He repeated this many times. He told me that this was the only hitch in the way otherwise we could launch a struggle for Kashmir. Later, when we went to Washington, Mr. Robert McNamara talked to meat a dinner in our Embassy and asked me how we would defend East Pakistan in case of war with India. He admitted that we could advance in the West.' I asked Ayub Khan to explain to me the military strategy and he repeated the same theory. I told him that if East Pakistan could be defended then perhaps we could face India. He refused to believe that.

I have kept quiet for three-and-a-half years and disclosed nothing to my brothers and sisters but now the time has come for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to go and knock on every door and tell everybody what happened behind the scenes. I will not contest the elections on trifles. I shall follow the Martial Law Regulations. I will not say anything against any party. I shall talk only "about fundamentals. I'll only talk about matters, which concern the nation, the people, the Muslims and Pakistan. I had told Ayub Khan that the defence of East Pakistan was not difficult. Later, the Government of India tried to test our strength in the Rann of Kutch and committed aggression against Pakistan. Ayub Khan thought they were very clever and that is what he told me. He said that when Dr. Khan was the Chief Minister of West Pakistan, India had captured Biarbet and we had done nothing. I told him that Dr. Khan was dead and we had to teach India a lesson. Everybody knows that our valiant forces did teach India a lesson in the Rann of Kutch. We could have advanced as much as we had wanted. Ayub Khan thought I was sentimental. I told him that I was not sentimental and that he should allow me to carry out my policy. But he accepted a cease-fire and took the matter to the International Court of Justice. He declared that he was a friend of India. The result was that we lost territory which rightly belonged to us.

There was a time when our military commanders had requested two divisions. This was refused. Later, they said they should be allowed to raise at least one division, but that top was not allowed. The Indian Prime Minister had threatened an attack on a front of his own choice. Our Finance Minister had enough money for industries but refused to allocate funds for the raising of two divisions demanded by the army. Later, even Ayub Khan opposed the move. If the two divisions had been raised, the situation would have been different today.

 

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