Ending the Tribal Voting Pattern
Speech at Public Meeting, Hathian, Mardan,
April 30. 1970

I am very grateful to you for having taken so much trouble in com­ing to this meeting in such hot weather outside the city. My colleagues and I are indebted to you and we shall never forget this kindness. I started the tour of this area on the 18th and it will be over today. I shall try to come again. I have always believed that we should have more contact with the people. We should take our programme to the people and present to them our principles. This was my second tour of the area within ten months.

I came here in July last and held successful meetings. This time also we were received with open arms by our poor brothers in Nowshera, Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu and Mardan. Our public meetings have been a great success. I want to thank the people of this area again on the last day of my tour, I also wish to thank the workers of the People's Party who worked hard day and night. Our meetings and processions would not have been successful without their untiring efforts. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

My dear brothers, I am again speaking to you today after an interval but I have not come to beg for votes. This party has not come into being for securing votes. When this party was established the question of elections or votes did not exist. During Ayub Khan's dictatorship there were no direct elections or adult franchise. The Basic Democracies' system pre­vailed, a system formulated with the sole purpose of perpetuating the rule of that regime. Only 80,000 members of Basic Democracies had been entitled to vote out of a population of 120 million. It was easier for the administra­tion to influence 80,000 members of B.D. They did not represent public opinion. This system was a big fraud. It was called Basic Democracies, but neither was it basic nor democratic. It only served as a pillar for Ayub's dictatorship. Public opinion did not matter at all to them. We were with you during that period. This party was established under very difficult circumstances. We faced Ayub's dictatorship when other political leaders had run away from the field and were hiding in their houses. Those who considered themselves the foremost politicians of the country had also retired from politics. They could not stand up to dictatorship. They were in opposition only in name. That was not the way to struggle against dic­tatorship. The struggle against dictatorship demanded sacrifices, impri­sonment, and facing lathi charges, tear gas and even bullets. It was no easy thing to do. Making speeches in the Chowk Yadgar or Paltan Maidan or Mochi Gate every couple of months was not the way to topple a dictator. Ayub Khan never bothered about these speeches. He ruled in spite of them because most of these speakers went to the Deputy Commissioners after making the speeches and apologised abjectly.

The opposition was opposition only in name. Ayub Khan ruled for eleven years ignoring all of them. Our party was formed when Ayub Khan thought that he could not be removed by anyone and that he would rule Pakistan as long as he lived. He was preparing his son to succeed him. The people with big names laughed at us. They never believed that we could face the dictator. These big people did not support us. When we founded the Pakistan People's Party we called a convention at Lahore. An attempt was made to set on fire the house where the convention was being held. Government servants went to our delegates and tried to prevent them from attending this convention. Attempts were made to stop our delegates from the Frontier and Sind. We did not have any newspapers, and the radio never covered our activities. The capitalists were not with us. What to say of supporting us they even avoided meeting us. Who was with us at that time? Only the people of Pakistan were with us. You, the people, made our success possible ; the workers, the tillers of the soil and the students supported us. We can never betray you. We shall always side with you because we have full faith in you and I am sure that you too have complete faith in us.

We knew that with your help dictatorship could be toppled but the others did not believe it. They did not believe that the people would face the police and the army. If they had any confidence in you they would have come to you, and called upon you to fight against dictatorship resolutely. We had to burn our boats. That is the way to fight dictatorship, but the old style leaders remained at home. They did not believe in the power of the people and they did not know how to mobilise it. They had their personal ends to serve. They say they have served you for 23 years. What service have they rendered during these long years? A whole life-span has passed and conditions in Pakistan have deteriorated. When Ayub Khan ruled over the country these people could not be seen anywhere. They were hiding in their houses, rather under their beds. Now they have come out because they want to secure votes and are boasting about their achievements. They claim they can bring down the heavens but didn't even bring down Ayub Khan. My dear friends, of course, we want the votes but we want to build Pakistan. At the same time we want to make it clear that Pakistan cannot be built only through elections and votes. A lot of con­structive work has to be done, inside and outside the Assembly. The Assemblies have been there in the past, but nothing happened outside the Assemblies. Time demands that political activity should be carried on in all spheres of life. Politics in the open, politics of the people, have not been the technique of these old politicians. They are used to round table conferences. What did Ghulam Mohammad do? He dissolved a sovereign Constituent Assembly and formed a new Assembly. This was an illegal act. He had no right to form a new Assembly.

The same thing was done by Ayub Khan. When a movement was launched against him, he called a Round Table Conference instead of going to the people. And what did our friends do? They bad declared that they would never talk to Ayub Khan. But when they were invited to the Round Table Conference they rushed to Rawalpindi. Ayub Khan only wanted to sabotage our movement. If all of us bad gone to the Round Table Conference the movement would have failed because the people would have placed some hopes on the Round Table Conference. The workers would have gone to their mills, the farmers to their fields and the students to their schools and colleges, and when the movement would have been over, Ayub Khan would have refused to make any changes in his system. He had declared that his Basic Democracy system was the best in Asia and he was never going to amend it. It was because of the people's movement that he was prepared to make some changes. He convened the Round Table Conference only to sabotage the movement. That is why I did not join it. It would have been another betrayal of the people.

Once again, the old politicians are depending on the feudal system to win the elections. They are counting on tribal jealousies, but they have forgotten that this is not the Pakistan of 1940 or 1950. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since. The people of Pakistan are wide awake. They will not cast their votes on the basis of tribal ties. They will cast their votes for their welfare and betterment. Pakistan has undergone a com­plete change. The people of Pakistan have come to realise that there has been no progress during the last 23 years which is a long period. Other countries have progressed a lot during this period. Even the countries which attained independence after us have progressed much more as compared to Pakistan. China achieved her independence much later but she has made great progress. Apart from China, you can take the example of Iran, Turkey or Egypt. They also have made great progress.

In Pakistan there is oppression and misery. What is the plight of the common man? You work day and night in your fields and your mills. These days you are reaping the harvest in the fields. Even our sisters are working in the fields. Not only that but small children who are clad in tattered clothes and who don't have shoes to wear, are working in the fields. These are the conditions in Pakistan while in other countries the children of this age are provided free education. There is a general complaint that bribery is on the increase. The question is how can we stop it? What is the salary of the lower grade government official? A constable is paid only ninety rupees per month. How can he make both ends meet? The prices are increasing. If you give them proper salaries, if you provide free education to their children, if you give them houses and raise their pensions, only then you can demand that they should resist temptation; Under the present circumstances bribery is increasing, the misery is increasing, and hunger and poverty are increasing. With what face do these politicians come and ask for votes?

It is not that we don't want your votes. We do want your votes but we want to make it clear that mere votes or a constitution will not serve the purpose. A constitution is needed because it is the fundamental law but it will not solve the problems by itself. It is regrettable that no constitution has been successful in Pakistan. We believe in a constitution and we shall frame one. But a constitution cannot serve as a shelter for the homeless; you cannot eat it if your children are starving and if you need clothes the constitution will not provide you with clothes. We want a constitution and we believe in democracy. We have struggled for democracy and we believe that through democracy the people's rule can be established.

There is no controversy here so far as the need for a democratic consti­tution is concerned. The difference of opinion is about the economic system. We have an anti-people capitalist system in our country which aims at the oppression and exploitation of the common man. This system has been in vogue for 23 years. It is a legacy of the British. On the other hand there is the system of equality, the system of justice, the system of the poor people, the workers, and the tenants. You have to decide whether you want the system of exploitation or the system which will eradicate poverty and hunger from the country. This is where the difference of opinion arises. There are two types of political systems, dictatorship or one man's rule and democracy or the people's rule. Similarly, in economy there is capitalism which is just like dictatorship in politics and on the other band is the peoples economy which is like democracy in politics. Just as we don't want dictatorship in politics we don't want a monopoly of the few in the national economy. When we raise our voice against capitalism, the agents and stoo­ges of capitalism come to you and alarm you by saying that this is against Islam. This certainly is not against Islam. Islam gave the message of equality to the world. It was because of equality that Islam spread from Algeria to Indonesia. Equality could be seen in the life of the Holy Prophet. It could be seen in the lives of the Khulafa-i-Rashedeen. Equa­lity is a basic principle of our religion. Equality can never be against Islam. You can see that this system has been adopted in Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Sudan and Iraq which are all Islamic countries. Have they become infidels? In fact the biggest 'kafir' is one who dubs a Muslim as 'kafir.' Equality is not against Islam. I have just cited the example of the Muslim countries which have adopted this system.

Moreover, Quaid-i-Azam Mahomed Ali Jinnah who was the founder of Pakistan, also desired to establish Islamic Socialism in Pakistan. You can look up his speeches or ask someone to read them to you. He had declared in Chittagong, in Bombay and in Delhi that Islamic equality will be enforced in Pakistan. After the establishment of Pakistan, he declared at Chittagong in 1948 that Islamic equality would prevail in Pakistan. Who can be a greater benefactor of Pakistan than the Quaid-i-Azam? He was one of the greatest Muslims and he founded Pakistan as the largest Muslim state in the world. Islamic socialism was a term used by him, and has not been coined by us. It was used by the Quaid-i-Azam and later the Quaid-i-Millat, Liaquat Ali Khan, had also declared that we shall establish Islamic equality in Pakistan. 'Musawat' is called 'yaksaniyat' in Persian. In English, it is called socialism. Just as 'jamhooriyat' is called democracy in English or 'dastoor' is called constitution. Our friends say that they don't need socialism, because they don't want any addition to Islam. They say that Islam is a complete code of life, and there is no scope for any addi­tion to it. We accept that Islam is a complete code of life but then why do they demand the 1956 Constitution? When the Holy Quran is there as our constitution and it has all our laws, why do they want the 56 Consti­tution? Why do they want to form a new constitution? If our religion is a complete code of life we do not need any constitution. The parliamen­tary system is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran. This system was formulated by the British who were our imperialist rulers. They ruled over the country for 200 years. Why should we want their system? If there is scope for democracy in Islam and if the parliamentary system is not against Islam, Islamic Socialism is also not against Islam. If that had been the case, Quaid-i-Azam, the founder of Pakistan, would not have used this term.

My dear friends and brothers, there is no danger to Islam. Islam being an eternal religion can never be in danger. This religion is forever. It cannot be in danger especially in Pakistan because the Muslims are in a majority in this country. If there had been any danger to Islam you would have felt it. Nobody has asked you to give up your religion. Nobody has asked you to stop believing in the Quran or to give up your prayers. When Pakistan came into being our opponents were with the British and the Hindu Congress. They were issuing edicts against the Muslims. When Muslims were being killed in the Punjab and in Patiala the danger was felt by everybody. Where were these people then who say that Islam is in danger? They were not with the Quaid-i-Azam. They were with Gandhi, Nehru and Patel. During the struggle against the Congress and the British these gentlemen sided with the Congress against the Quaid-i-Azam. Now when we are faced with the task of building Pakistan and eradicating po­verty and hunger they have come to tell us that Islam is in danger. Islam is not in danger. Our Prophet was the last of the prophets of Allah because our religion has been completely revealed. God Almighty has ordained in the Holy Quran that he will protect this religion. If there had been any danger it would not have been revealed that the last of the prophets had appeared. That is what is meant by 'Khatam-i-Nabuwat.' It is not Islam which is in danger but the capitalists and the feudalists who are in danger, persons who have exploited this country and its common people.

This party has come into being to serve Islam. Our very first principle is that Islam is our religion and we shall lay down our lives for the sake of Islam. We are prepared to make all sacrifices wherever needed, in Pakistan, in India or in the Arab countries. It is our duty to render any service that is possible for the sake of Islam. Islam is our religion, democracy is our polity and Islamic equality or Islamic Socialsim is our economy. This is our message. We are not like other parties. We have one flag and one programme. We shall not change our programme because we are not going to betray you. We shall end the politics of the betrayal of the common man. We have introduced a new system of politics, a revolutio­nary system which will protect you and bring progress and prosperity to the country. We want to build a Pakistan which should serve as a model for the world.

 

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