Consulting the People
Address at Public Meeting in Malir,
August 5, 1970

It is being argued that one should avoid extremist policies; that balanced policies should be evolved and pursued. I wonder how one can solve the problems of extreme corruption, blackmarketing and poverty by balanced policies. Indeed we need a modem party which can translate the Quaid-i-Azam's dream into a reality. Talking of a balanced policy is a mere decep­tion. You cannot pursue balanced policies in a country where all sorts of vices are rampant in their lowest forms.

I will not pursue a balanced policy. I have a revolutionary policy. It will be directed against our enemies both within and outside the country. We are not afraid of making sacrifices. We are not afraid of going to jails. We will always be ready to offer the last drop of our blood for the preservation of Pakistan. These elections would be the last for us under the present regime.

Nawabzada Sher Ali Khan gave an interview earlier this year in which he said that if these elections could not be held smoothly or if the consti­tution could not be framed, elections would be held again after three months, and if even these elections did not produce results, yet another round of elections would be conducted within three months. I would say to Nawab­zada Sahib that we shall not be a party to this hoax. General elections could not be held in 23 years. How would you be able to hold elections again every three months? In case there is a deadlock a reference to the electorate within three months will not affect the position of parties very much. So, what good will you get out of fresh elections? We shall con­sider the coming elections as final. We shall form a constitution—a Pakistani, Islamic and popular constitution. If we lose, everyone would lose. We shall simply not fight elections again and again, for we know the elections alone cannot solve problems.

It is the People's Party which has held the largest number of public meetings since the restoration of political activity. It is because the party wants to maintain contacts with you, with the masses. It is your party because you have formed and made it popular. It is not the question of elections alone. We have not come forward to ask for your votes. We have been making speeches even during the dictatorship of Ayub Khan. One would like to ask where the so-called great politicians had gone then? The Pakistan People's Party was not formed for us to come out only at the times of elections.

True, it is for the first time that elections on the basis of adult franchise are being held here on a nation-wide basis. But there have been provincial elections. India has had three elections so far. But, then, has poverty and misery ended there? Rather the situation there is going from bad to worse. That is why we do not consider the elections as the remedy for all ills. Ours is a revolutionary party believing in struggle for and service to the common man. It stands for fighting against the enemy. It is committ­ed to continue fighting till the last to give Kashmir is the choice of joining Pakistan. I sought your opinion on whether or not we should participate in the elections. I continued asking you from January to July. Our opponents then said that the People's Party would not fight the elections as it believed in violence and disruption, and that it was not hopeful of success.

This was one aspect of the propaganda against us. On the other side elections on adult franchise were being held here for the first time. We asked for your opinion by holding public meetings. You decided in favour of our participating in the elections. So at the Hala Conference we decided to participate in the elections. You will recall that I had also sought your opinion about attending the Round Table Conference. I was against attending that conference, for I thought it was a conspiracy against the people. I knew it would lead to strengthening the hands of dictatorship. However, I did not take the decision by myself. I came to you but you did not allow me to attend, so I did not.

At the Hala Conference there were two opinions about our participating in the elections. One view was against our participation on the plea that by doing so we would be betraying the people. The argument was that the people would think that the elections would solve their problems immedia­tely. And when they found that their problems were not solved even after the elections, they would feel they had been cheated.

The other point of view was that the people wanted the elections to be held. So we should make it clear from the very beginning that the elections alone would not solve the people's problems. We should, however, parti­cipate in the elections in order to defeat our opponents. It was also argued that the Assembly would provide us with an additional platform. So, in view of your opinion, we decided to participate in the elections.

I am confident that we shall, be returned to the Constituent Assembly and by the Grace of God, emerge as a majority. No one can stop us. Our enemies, imperialist agents and capitalists have been saying that ours is not a party; it is a one-man party. This propaganda is false. They did what­ever they could do against us. But the people are with us. It was pro­pagated that people come to see Bhutto; they do not come to attend his public meetings. I am not a movie star that people should come to see me. They come to hear me. Because I explain their problems, their feelings and put forward solutions. That is why they have faith in our party. Time is coming for you to see how much success we achieve.

Some Government Ministers have been creating difficulties for us through the press and by spending a lot of money. But, despite all this, the People's Party will emerge victorious. Although we have no money, we are accused of spending huge sums on public meetings. We are. in fact, spend­ing very little and that too due to the assistance of friends. I do not favour spending money like this. I have never appealed to the people for donations. I do not want to put burdens on the poor people. I feel ashamed of asking them. That is why I had asked you to do whatever minimum you can. Even a rupee two rupees, or eight annas would do.

You may rest assured that the People's Party would represent you truly and faithfully. I assure you if ever anyone in the party did anything against your wishes, I would throw him out of the party. The people are more dear to me. I would not tolerate anyone betraying the people. I would not make it a prestige issue as Yahya Khan has been doing. You know whenever we ask Yahya Khan to relieve certain Ministers, he makes it a matter of personal prestige. It is like the imperialists.

We told Yahya Khan that during the election campaign his Ministers would not be neutral. He said he would remain neutral. We know that his Ministers are not. What has he done 10 stop them? There is no doubt that they have been meddling in politics. One of them has actually been asking the capitalists to help a particular party. The anti-people budget has been made by these Ministers. On the one hand me Six Points are dubbed as anti-Pakistan — we too say that, because they endanger Pakistan's integrity—but on the other a newspaper belonging to one of the Ministers from Karachi has been playing up these Six Points.

Now the budget. We have never seen such a useless budget in the last 23 years. It has put an enormous burden on the people. The prices of virtually everything have increased by 25 per cent. The people have been crushed by this budget. Those with fixed monthly salaries are already burdened so how would they pay taxes? Millions of rupees were charged under the Refugee Tax. Where has all this money gone? Previously a quarter in Malir cost Rs. 700. Now it costs Rs. 1,400. Interest is also charged on this amount. And there is the problem of transport. How would the children go to schools? All these problems can be solved after bringing about economic changes in the country. We want to make edu­cation upto Matric free.

The problems and difficulties of labourers are increasing. You know the harsh treatment meted out to the labourers of various mills. The workers have been locked out, persecuted and then thrown into jails. What should the poor people do? Prices have been increasing constantly. Mills are closed. How can the people survive? Death seems better than such a life. But we will bring about a system of Islamic equality which will put an end to violence and exploitation, and set up a popular government. Our demands are the demands of the people. Poverty and misery cannot end unless revolutionary changes are made in the economic system. Poverty, misery and illiteracy cannot end without nationalising big industrial units. Pakistan cannot prosper unless Islamic equality is enforced. It is not I alone who favours Islamic Socialism. The creator of Pakistan the Quaid-i-Azam, stood for Islamic Socialism. Both Liaquat Ali Khan and Hussein Shaheed Suhrawardy advocated it. We are not the first believers in Islamic social­ism. We shall not be able to control the situation that is developing unless we radically change the structure of our society. Unless we do this and ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth and income Six Points would continue to be talked about in East Pakistan, and voices for a confederation would continue to be raised in West Pakistan.

Such things happen only when a country is plagued with dejection and failures. Why do not the U.S., Russia and China think of a confederation? Why don't these parties involved in the controversy over a confederation talk to us directly? Did millions of Muslims make sacrifices to transfer their independence and sovereignty to others? All this is the result of de­pression. Pakistan was not made to land in controversies of Six Points or confederation. Pakistan was not brought into being to impose on us such people who had spoken against the Quaid-i-Azam in Washing-­ton. The concept of Pakistan did not envisage the arrests of students and labourers.

In Kashmir, the Muslims and young students are being persecuted. The situation is so grave that Mrs. Indira Gandhi herself had to go to Srinager. She went so far as to say that India would in no case be prepared to hold talks with Pakistan. Despite all this nothing is being said or done from our side. All leaders are quiet. When Britain announced her decision to sell arms to South Africa, a meeting of the Security Council was called. The African Commonwealth countries threatened to leave the Commonwealth. But while the Muslims are being killed and arrested in Kashmir, Pakistan does not say it would raise the problem of Kashmir in the Security Council.

Is it not an irony that we are talking of elections here while the Muslims in Bombay, Ahmedabad and Kashmir are being ruthlessly killed. I salute the young Kashmiri Muslims for defying Indian guns and bayonets. But alas, we have been paying only lip-service to them. The matter should be raised at the Security Council.

We cannot compromise on the problem of Kashmir. We believe that a compromise on this problem will nullify the existence of Pakistan. Ayub Khan tried to take this issue into the background after the '65 war. But the situation now has taken a serious turn. If the Government cannot do any­thing else, it should at least take this issue to the Security Council imme­diately.

 

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