Beware of Vote Beggars
Public Speech at Peshawar,
April 27, 1970

When I was a Minister, Ayub Khan used to ask me to go to the universities. I am the same person who used to be called upon to address the students and now, suddenly, I have become dangerous. I am the same Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Why am I not allowed to hold a meeting in the Peshawar University? Heavens will not fall if I address a meeting in the University. I have never spoken there although I have visited the University twice. I do not wish to talk to the students about my party or elections or socialism. I will only speak about foreign policy and national affairs. I think that is reasonable. The Vice-Chancellor, for whom. I have great respect, should accept it. These days, leaders of other parties are making speeches over Radio Pakistan on the subject of Pakistan's ideology. Why can't I speak at the University?

You would have noticed that since the newspapers strike, the radio is not covering the activities of our party, as if we did not exist. I have been touring this area and there have been processions and meetings of historic proportions hut not a word about them over the radio. This is not fairplay. our Government claims impartiality. Is this impartiality? I want to recall the Sanghar incident. I will not talk about it in detail. Armed assassins had been waiting to ambush us since the night before. They were armed with rifles, hatchets and sticks. It could not have been a secret from the local police. the police recorded in the first information report that five to seven thousand people were assembled in the town. One of the injured also stated that six to seven thousand people, armed with rifles, had launched a murderous assault on my party. That evening in the national news broadcast at 8 p.m. it was only at the end that a snippet had been added to say that there had been an attempt to assassinate Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. I have served this country for some time and incidents concerning me have news value but the official radio played down the Sanghar incident. Later, a press note stated falsely that I had been advised to delay my visit to Sanghar. The next day, the Govern­ment of West Pakistan issued another press note saying that the firing took place after I had left. That was a lie. They opened up on us, and my compa­nions fell upon me to protect my life. The police confirmed our version. On the third day after the incident. I held a press conference in Karachi, but televi­sion and radio ignored it.

That is why I say that if this Government claims impartiality it should remain neutral. Their actions should correspond with their claims. The entire Government should be impartial. If its Ministers want to take sides, they should say so. I saw the President twice recently and emphasised that his Ministers should remain neutral. But even if they concede that they are not neutral we shall continue our campaign. I also discussed with the President the Legal Framework Order and pointed out the disabilities we shall have to face because of this Order.

During the recent press strike, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists played an important role. The P.F.U.J. came into being in 1954. Ever since, the journalists have had many problems. They are not in the habit of going on strikes because they are not irresponsible. When the workers go on strike they are dubbed as irresponsible people. This cannot be said about the journalists. It was their first strike and it had sound reasons. What are we to conclude?

Look at the situation in general. The prices are up and it is very difficult for the poor and middle class to survive. If the journalists went on strike for a rise in their salaries, I see nothing wrong with it. They had only demanded the implementation of the decision of the Wage Board established by the Govern­ment. It was a perfectly justified demand and there was no controversy about it. They were being opposed by the All Pakistan Newspapers Society whose members are owners of newspapers and whose income is increasing every day. They refused to accept the decision of the Government. Between these two parties, the Minister for Information declared that the Government was neutral. It was a very strange thing to say because the implementation of the decision of the" Wage Board was the responsibility of the Government. —which also controlled the National Press Trust—the biggest employer of journalists.

The Government could not remain neutral in this matter. They remain neutral where they are not supposed to be neutral. I call upon the Informa­tion Minister to act honourably and resign. It may not be accepted, but he should have the courage as a gentleman to submit his resignation. But you cannot expect this from him. He has always been in service. First he served in the army, then as an ambassador, but he's not worked for the people. He knows only how to work for a salary. If he wants to serve the people, he should resign from his Ministership and come into the political field. He should face bullets like we did in Sanghar.

Let me come to Tashkent now. Ayub Khan wanted to turn the entire nation into a nation of jackals. When I left the Government, I came to you and you welcomed me. I did not want to enjoy any privileges after Tashkent. I chose to stay with the people whatever the cost. I knew that there would be many troubles and pitfalls. I can never forget those days and the support given by the people. They were very hard days. Ayub Khan was the dictator of the country and held absolute power. He had warned me that if I joined politics he would destroy me. He put me through a lot of trouble, but with the support of the poor people, the workers and the students, I came through unscathed. If you had not supported me, some harm would have come to me. In fact, you protected me. People in large numbers turned out to receive me wherever I went.

It was said during those days that my popularity was temporary. It was only because of the Tashkent question and the memories of war that people came out in large numbers to receive me. It was expected that I would be forgotten within six months, but time passed and my supporters increased. I held historic meetings. A murder attempt was made on my life in Multan. My support continued even after that and your co-operation did not decline. Then it was said that because of my campaign against Ayub Khan I was popular among the people, but I would soon be forgotten. It was expected that within three months of the Martial Law I would go into the background. Well, they had a surprise coming their way. Now they say that it is only the students who are with me and the students do not have the vote. I am very proud of the fact that the students are with me and that they are my strength. It should not be forgotten that the students are the future of this country. It is not the students alone who are with us. The labourers are with us and the farmers are with us, because we are representing their feelings. This is not my speech, this is your speech. This is not my voice, this is your voice. Never mind if the students do not have the right to vote. They are a great force in the country and can influence the situation. We shall lay down our lives for the cause of the students. We are always with them. Now many of them are in jail. We cannot tolerate the situation that while thieves and smugglers are roaming about freely, students and workers are rotting in jails.

My dear brothers and friends, this is your party and you have formed it. I did not have big people with me. No capitalist or feudal lord sided with me. They were all with Ayub Khan. Only you were with me. Ayub Khan had the support of the police, the army, the government servants, the capitalists, the jagirdars and the Basic Democrats. He was in power and used the big stick. How was he defeated? How was this Hitler of Pakistan defeated? You defeated him! I shall never say that this was my achievement. I was only on your side. I had promised that I would be with you throughout the struggle.

This is your party. We shall never betray you because that will be betraying ourselves. I never want to see the day when I have to bow my head in shame before you. I know that there has been a lot of treachery against Pakistan. A great deal could have been done during the last 23 years. Much has been done in other countries but what are the conditions here? We are suffering because of misery, poverty and deprivation. I have just come from an area where many people do not easily get drinking water. The lives of such people in Karachi and Bannu are worse than those of animals. These are harvesting days. I have seen that not only my brothers are wor­king in the fields, but our sisters and small barefooted children in rags are working in the fields under the scorching sun. What is happening in other countries? Children get free education. I am not interested in power. I have been in power for eight years. But I must do my bit to change this sorry state of affairs whether elections are held or not, whether an assemb­ly is formed or not.

Hypocricy prevails all round. The people who ruled over Pakistan under the parliamentary system before Ayub Khan are again coming to you. They are not coming with a programme to change the face of Pakistan or to eradicate poverty. They are only coming to beg for votes. They again want to become members and ministers and to fly the Pakistan flag on their cars. But they have no intention of serving you. When the movement against Ayub Khan was launched, they remained in their rooms, locked from inside. They were hiding under their beds. Now they have come out to ask for votes.

A constitution will be framed, but it will be no magic wand. We have tried constitutions. The mere ushering in of a constitution will not bring prosperity and end the troubles of the common man. Other countries have their constitutions. We have tried constitutions in the last 23 years. If a Pakistani child is dying of hunger in a poor man's family and his father does not have the money to feed him, the constitution cannot serve as food for that child. It cannot serve as a school for the education of the children. It cannot be a substitute for employment or for a house. A constitution is the funda­mental law. We certainly need it. Those who say that Bhutto does not want a constitution are wrong. I certainly shall strive for a constitution, but a constitution alone will not solve the economic problems of the people.

We also want democracy. We have struggled for it more than anyone else. We launched the campaign against Ayub Khan who was a dictator. It was because we believed in democracy. We faced the dictator and offered many sacrifices. We were with the people and we emerged victorious. We shall fight for democracy again, but please remember that so long as there is no basic economic change in Pakistan, there can be no progress and your troubles will go on increasing. Please remember that there is no difference of opinion on the question of constitution or democracy or religion. The only difference is that some people stand for the capitalist system which is a system of exploitation. The capitalists who are sucking the blood of the people and increasing the number of their mills want to perpetuate this system. They want to continue to exploit us. They do not want a change in your conditions. On the other hand, there are those who want equality and an end to exploita­tion. They want that poverty should go along with capitalism. This is how the forces are arrayed: the capitalists and their stooges on the one side and the patriots and the poor people of Pakistan on the other.

We are all Muslims and this is a Muslim country. It would not have come into being were we not Muslims. It is my strong faith that Islam can never be in danger in Pakistan. It is an eternal religion and will be there even after the Day of Resurrection. May I ask you a simple question? If there had been a danger, a threat, would you not have felt it. If some one tries to kill you, you sense the danger. Do you feel any danger to Islam? It is not Islam which is in danger. It is the capitalists and their stooges who feel threat­ened. Such danger calls have been given very many times. These people dubbed the Quaid-i-Azam as a 'kafir.' They did the same to Allama Iqbal and Sir Syed Ahmad. In fact no one with progressive ideas has escaped their 'fatwas'. Why do not they issue these edicts against exploitation and against the capitalists?

Gentlemen, you need not worry about this because this bogey has fizzled out. Islam is not in danger. It cannot be in danger anywhere in the world. When Hindus and the British were opposing Pakistan and Quaid-i-Azam, our opponents were in the enemy ranks. They did not side with the Quaid-i-Azam. They are still against Pakistan. They cannot openly oppose it now. Therefore, they are trying to weaken it. Why do they not serve the Muslims if they want to serve Islam? True service to Islam means Muslims should be served and justice provided to them, and their misery brought to an end? No more prophets will be sent by God because our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was the last of them, and with him the revelation of religion was complete. Islam is a complete religion and cannot be in danger. The people who have exploited you and oppressed you cannot come to you and enume­rate any services. They can only raise the slogan of "Islam in danger".

If Islam is a complete code of life, why does one of these gentlemen keep talking about the 1956 Constitution? Why do we need a constitution then, especially the 1956 Constitution? Where is the parliamentary system provided for in Islam? It is not mentioned in any verse of the Holy Quran or in the Hadith. This is a system formulated by the British. Have they 'Islamised' it by translating it into Urdu? If they accept a system formulated by the British, why do they oppose 'Musawat'? They say that they do not want any 'ism' because there is no scope for any 'ism' in Islam. Why do they accept capitalism, feudalism and imperialism? Why are they opposed to socialism alone, which is nothing but an English word for "Musawat."

I am not the first one to demand Islamic Socialism. Quaid-i-Azam Mahomed Ali Jinnah was the first to promise that Islamic Socialism would prevail in Pakistan. I can assure you as a Musalman that we want to introduce Islamic Socialism in Pakistan. We do not want the Chinese or the Russian system in our country; we want Islamic Socialism in keeping with the spirit of our religion. Equality is one of the basic principles of Islam. When the fertile lands of Egypt, Iraq and Syria were captured by the Muslims, they were not turned into feudal estates. They were nationalised and given to the tillers. The treasure captured in the war was equally divided between the commander and the soldiers. Justice does not mean that a few should enjoy all the luxuries and comforts while the poor die of hunger.

Our party stands for establishing a system of equality. We have come out with this objective. Our opponents are afraid of us. They are worried about the revolution to come, but no one can stop the revolution.

 

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