Prepare for a People's Government
Speech at a Public Meeting at Gol Bagh, Lahore,
October 14, 1970

I am glad today to have the opportunity of addressing you in Lahore once again since the restoration of political activity in the country. I have made three or four speeches in this historic city since the restoration of political activity. I made the first speech at the historic Mochi Gate on 8 March. You will recall that by the Grace of God that public meeting was very successful On that day I had spoken to my brothers and sisters of this city about the aims and objects of the People's Party and about its manifesto. In that three-hour speech I had assured you that my party and I would stand by the people in all circumstances, on all fronts and in all their troubles and tribulations. I had assured you that in no circumstances would the People's Party desert the people or ignore their demands. It would always continue working for them and projecting their agonies and sufferings. That was my pledge to you. I made two speeches after Mochi Gate: one in Ichhra and the other in the cantonment. Today I am speaking again in this old city and I am particularly glad that I am making this speech in Gol Bagh.

I had also made one speech here in Gol Bagh about three years ago. The difference between then and now is that it was night then and it is midday now. It was Ayub Khan's Government then, and it is Yahya Khan's now. It was a bad time then and it is a bad time now. The people were with me then and the people are with me now. We had the people's co-operation and confidence then, we have the people's co-operation and confidence now. Ayub Khan spared no effort to harass and break us then. In the same Gol Bagh water pipes were broken and the drenched ground strewn with tampered but live electric wires to expose the audience to the danger of electric shocks. Attempts were made to disturb our public meeting. What, after all, was the objective behind it? The only object was to stop us from holding public meetings, from making speeches and from speaking the truth before the Pakistani people. They only wanted the people to hear things which suited the Government. They did not want us to speak the truth about the internal and external security of the country.

As you well know, some politicians are saying that they have come forward to stop Bhutto. Ayub Khan had the same purpose—of stopping me and the People's Party. These attempts are still being made. All politicians were against the People's Party during Ayub Khan's rule. And even now all of them are against the People's Party. The People's Party leaders and workers were arrested then as they are being arrested now. What can we infer from -this? Is there really no difference between then and now?

In those days Ayub Khan signed the Tashkent Agreement, but we came out against it. We have again come out. Capitalists and feudalists were against us then; they remain our opponents today. In fact there is no diffe­rence between now and then. We put up a tremendous struggle and made sacrifices to end the Ayub dictatorship. Many of our young workers were killed. Peasants and labourers left farms and factories and joined the great movement, defeating the dictatorship.

When the people defeated the Hitler of that time, a military government took office. That Government held out a promise that a provisional govern­ment would be formed which would eventually be replaced by a popular government. This military government had stated that it would transfer power to a popular government. It kept on repeating its promise of transfer of power. It was reaffirmed on 28 March, 29. June and then on 28 November, that this government only wanted itself to be replaced by a popular one. This policy was reiterated by the President while he was in Nepal, in Dacca and then in Lahore. It was asserted that the military government was tempo­rary and its sole aim was to transfer power from the military to civilians. Another promise made by the Government was that it would remain neutral in internal politics, that it would not side with any political party and hold free elections on the basis of adult franchise. It promised non-interference in elections. In effect, it held out three basic promises. And these promises were made by ho less a person than Yahya Khan—General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan—who calls himself the President of this country, and is the Commander-in-Chief and Chief Martial Law Administrator. He himself claims to be wearing four caps—those of the President, the C-in-C, the Chief Martial Law Administrator and the cap of neutrality. It was a promise by the President of the provisional Government of this country to the people of Pakistan. And the Pakistan People's Party welcomed this promise.

My dear friends, do remember that when the Pakistan People's Party had welcomed this promise, the other parlies like P.D.P. and P.D.M. and I suppose there must be one called D.D.T. were opposing it. In the beginning, the Government held the view that a referendum should be held on the constitutional principles. We agreed to this proposal also because we considered this a democratic method. Referendums have also been held in Turkey which is an Islamic and democratic country and is a member of the R.C.D. We, therefore, agreed to the proposal for a referendum.

But the question was not of politics and democracy alone. It was also a question of economy. The struggle in Pakistan cannot be for democracy alone. The real struggle is about the economic conditions. Despite this we not only accepted the referendum offer but welcomed it.

In July my colleagues and I toured the NWFP. Wherever we went— Dera Ismail Khan, Peshawar, Kohat and Bannu—we welcomed the referendum and the elections in our speeches, because both were democratic prac­tices. From Bannu I went to Chakwal, Shikarpur and then to Larkana.

But the question of all questions was of economic reforms. Those who were opposing the referendum and the elections were in fact opposed to economic reforms. Although we welcomed the proposals, the Government arrested our workers and colleagues. On 13 August, 1969, Mumtaz Ali Bhutto was arrested. Then Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and Abdul Qadir Sheikh were arrested. All of my colleagues and relatives in Sind were arrested. Why after all, were they arrested? We made no criticism then. We were rather sup­porting the Government. We were asking for a referendum. But in spite of that the Government arrested my brother without allowing him even an hour to get ready. He was immediately taken to prison. I ask the Government: You could not say then that we were opposing you. Why then were our people arrested? Was your proposal hailed a year ago. Certainly not. You knew that the struggle was for economic reforms and on foreign policy. Even then you tried to stop us. On 12 August you sent to me five military officers, including a Brigadier, who asked me to accompany them to the Martial Law Headquarters. I refused to go. But I told them that I would go if it was in the interest of the people. I told them to come to my house. These officers said that I had been called to Rawalpindi. I said if I was being called I would not go. But it was another matter if I had been invited. They then said that it was an invitation.

Ayub Khan tried to harass us. The present Government dug up all those cases which Ayub Khan had made against us. It permanently posted in Larkana a Deputy Superintendent of Police who had concocted the Tractor Case against me at the instance of Ayub Khan.

I ask Yahya where was your Government on 28 November when at­tempts were made to kill us in Sadiqbad. Our motor cars were stoned. And a friend of mine was injured. He is now in jail. Thirty people had been arrested then, but 25 of them were released on bail. It was done under Martial Law Regulations. I could not believe the news when I read it. I phoned General Osman Mitha to ask him what was happening. The hooligans who had come in broad daylight to kill us were sentenced to only two months im­prisonment.

And what offence did we commit on 31 March? We were on a political tour of Sind on that day. It was a very successful tour. We were going to Sanghar. It was midday. The people were resting in their homes. But our opponents armed with rifles and machine-guns were preparing to ambush us. Nothing can compare with the goondaism experienced by us that day. Five thousand armed men were in their positions, and the administration did not know what was happening! At that time the Deputy Commissioner and Superindent of police asked me to go to the Circuit House. Had we then gone to the Circuit House, we would have been killed, because the armed Hurs had circled the Circuit House. The Hurs were hiding even in the kitchen of the Circuit House. And we were being asked to go there. God, however, saved us. I came out of my motor car, and asked those people why they wanted to kill us. About 20 shots were fired. The people shielded me. And in this way I was saved. Two officers of the police gave evidence that I was attacked and that shots had been fired. But the news was not broadcast the radio, however, gave a news item quoting Sobur Khan as saying that mosquitoes had increased in East Pakistan. Foreign radio stations gave importance to the news about the attack. It was the first lead, but when it was broadcast from Karachi it was the sixth item in the bulletin in order of news value!

When I called a press conference in Karachi, the Government asked TV not to cover it. Apart from that you know what is happening here everyday. Our people are being arrested everywhere. In Sind, 300 People's Party mem­bers have been arrested. In the Punjab, Lyallpur, Sargodha and other places PPP workers and students have been detained. Maulana Kausar Niazi has been arrested. Is the weekly Shahab alone writing objectionable material? How do you rate the contents of Zindagi, Chattan and Jasaral? Have you ever heard speeches against us? Ever since their appointment as Ministers, the imperialist stooges like Sher Ali Khan, Mahmood Haroon and others have been trying to crush the Pakistan Peoples Parry. How can the Govern­ment claim to be neutral? Would you call the Sanghar incident an act of neturality? Are the arrests a sign of neutrality? Was it for neutrality that military officers were sent to me.

The brave people of Lahore are my brothers. I have served them. I do not claim to be your hero. Today, however, I am going to make a speech that will be remembered. I may be in jail tomorrow.

My friends, we have seen neutrality in action. Why has the People's Party been victimised from the beginning? Why should it be so despite the fact that we have welcomed the elections as well as the referendum?

There are two reasons for this. First, the economic problem. We are against the economic system of the capitalists, bankers, feudal lords and exploiters. Secondly, we do not want a compromise with India.

There is no substance in the allegation that the Pakistan People's Party does not want elections. Why should we oppose the elections. The people are with us. You are with us. The poor labourers and peasants throughout the country are our supporters. Why should we be frightened? Only they should feel frightened who have no support of the people. We had decided at Hala in favour of participating in the elections. October 15 is only ten days away. You will see how many candidates we sponsor. Why should there be no candidates with us while the people are with us? You will see what we do on 15 October when nomination papers are filed. We are fully prepared for the elections. We want elections. We want a civilian Government. I swear by God that we want elections. But if our workers, colleagues and friends are arrested everyday, how will we be able to fight elections? Leaders from the Punjab, Sind and NWFP have been and are being arrested. No army can fight without its generals. No commander can fight while his generals are in prison. Now it is for you to give a verdict on whether we want elections or not. The Government would like only those forces to win the elections which do not stand for changes in the economic system. It believes that the old parties like the Muslim Leagues—which seek votes on the basis of a caste system—the P.D.P. Jamat-i-lslami, the three Muslim Leagues should come into power. But this does not seem to be very likely. A popular revolution is in the making. They can foresee a revolutionary party of labourers and peasants being elected to the Assemblies. They know what this party will do. Soon after the coming into power of this party, all insurance companies and major industries will be nationalised. Their owners fear we will change the whole system; we will turn the tables. Well, we shall turn the tables. We will serve the people.

This country has seen in the last five thousand years the reign of Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Afghans, Rajputs, the British and the Generals. But you have not seen a popular people's government. We shall form such a government. That is why we are being opposed.

My brothers and colleagues, I assure you that we are prepared for any sacrifice. Imprisonment means nothing to me. I am quite prepared to die. I assure you as Allah is my witness. Jam prepared for martyrdom.

My dear friends, brothers and colleagues, our opponents are now scared of the popular, Islamic upsurge. They tried to dub us as kafirs. They should be ashamed of calling their co-religionists kafirs. What bigger crime can there be than this?

Our opponents managed to call themselves "Islam Pasand" by celeb­rating the Shaukat-i-Islam Day in Lahore. They are the people who opposed the basic ideology of Pakistan. They thought they would bait the people by calling upon them to come out in the name of Islam. But it did not work. Our opponents did not realise that this was 1970. and the people were those who fought India in 1965. It was their voice which declared in the Security Council that they would fight against India for a thousand years. Our people have faith in Islam many of them may be illiterate but they know what the vital issues are today.

My dear friends, Jamat-i-Islami called Egypt's Gamal Abdel Naseer as kafir. They used to call this man a kafir who was a leader of the Mus­lims and who was a great enemy of the enemies of the Muslims, a man who was dreaded by the Jews, and of whom America was afraid. These people labeled Nasser's socialism as the faith of an infidel. But was Nasser's body burnt like kafirs or was it buried in a mosque? You know that the whole world mourned his death. His death was a great tragedy for us too. These leaders could not even issue a statement to condole Nasser's death. But today I make an announcement that from today onwards this Gol Bagh will be named as Bagh-i-Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Nasser served the Muslims throughout his life. He served the poor people. He nationalised all the big industries in his country. He called it Islamic Socialism. He improved the lot of his people. So who shed tears on his death except the poor? The poor mourned his death because he belonged to them. He was against the capitalists and feudal landlords. He brought about a revolution by struggling against the moneyed exploiters. We too announce that we will break our shackles. We will eliminate the capitalists and feudal lords. We will make Pakistan a great country. Those who oppose us do not know what democracy means; while I am the represen­tative of the large majority of the people, they represent only a very small minority. You represent the capitalists and stooges.

Allama Iqbal has said:

"Stand up and wake the poor of my world."

Allama Iqbal, I have woken up the poor of your world.

Hardships never lessen with time. Ask the poor. who have nothing to eat, nothing to wear and no houses to live in. They have no money to educate their children. Their grief cannot vanish. They will never get used to grief.

My friends, efforts are being made to stop us. All the three Muslim Leagues are being merged, Daultana, Qayyum Khan and Fazlul Qadir Chaudhry are cooking some sort of curry.

Bhashani came to Rawalpindi and had a three-hour talk with Yahya Khan. Now he denies that he had a secret agreement with Ayub Khan. The whole world knows how and under what conditions this agreement took place.

Masih-ur-Rahman came to me with a letter from Bhashani Sahib. It bore Bashani's signature. I gave this letter to former President Ayub Khan. Bhashani then asked that this letter should be given back to him. But the former President put this letter into his pocket. Another meeting took place.

Bhashani should recall the Dacca meeting. Another meeting was also held at Barrister Shaukat's residence in March 1966. We had meals together. I still have in my possession all the letters written by Masih-ur-Rahman. Bhashani should not disgrace himself in his old age. I have kept silent for three years. And now he comes to tell Yahya Khan that there has been no change in foreign policy. I know all these things as if I were present during his talks.

My dear Maulana, I have never attacked your person. But you have started attacking me. You had said in 1968 that Bhutto was a nobody and his participation in politics was of little significance. But when you came to Lahore, the people raised slogans of Bhutto-Bashani Bhai Bhai. You then told them that you were no brother to Bhutto. When you staged a rally in Toba Tek Singh, our workers went there. But you neither allowed them to fly their flags nor raise slogans.

My dear friends, I am being attacked from many sides. But I am the least worried, because the labourers, peasants, and the students are with me. All these leaders today stand disunited and disintegrated. They want to stop me. But to stop me means stopping the labourers, peasants, students, all the working people from coming to power. And you cannot stop them. To stop Bhutto means promoting imperialism, and denying the Kashmiris their right of self-determination. In fact, our opponents want to change the foreign policy. They think I am the greatest obstacle in their way. They want to remove this obstacle.

The leader of our present delegation at the United Nations, Sardar Abdul Rashid, has made a statement that I had deliberately softened the tone of my statements at the U.N. in order to let the India-Pakistan con­flict settle. But as you know my statements were strongly criticised by Swaran Singh.

My dear compatriots, friends, labourers and peasants, this may perhaps be my last speech. I may not be in Lahore and may be arrested. But I assure you I will not avoid any sacrifice for Pakistan, her people and for the ideology of the Quaid-i-Azam. I will never leave you. I will die for you. I am being attacked from all sides but given your co-operation I will defeat all of them. This is my promise to you.

We will make this country, Insha Allah. We will eliminate corruption and illiteracy and spread education. We will make this country prosperous by nationalising all big industries. We will establish the sovereignty of the people. And I will stand by you forever and always. This is my final pledge to you.

 

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