Politics of the People
Public Speech at Jinnah Park, Peshawar,
January 18, 1970

I remember that our campaign against Ayub's dictatorship was launched from this city of brave people. We held a meeting in Peshawar on 5th November, 1968. Earlier, we had held meetings in D.I.Khan but the campaign was started from here. I delivered a speech at Hyderabad on 21st September which Governor Musa replied to on 10th October. I started my tour of this area 10 days later. Many people said at the time that nobody could topple the Government of Ayub Khan. Ayub Khan had everything. He had power and the Basic Democrats, the capitalists, feudalists, government officers, the army and the police. He had permits in his pockets and was occupying his chair by repressing the people. He was so firmly established that he wanted his son to succeed him. Because of him the country had to face a lot of humiliation. I had promised that the people would succeed. There is no power greater than the power of the people. That is why when the majority of the poor people of Pakistan, the peasants, the workers and the students launched a struggle from Khyber to Chittagong, Ayub had to go. The whole nation rose against his dictatorship. I did not defeat the dictator; it was the people of Pakistan who defeated him.

You will recall that five days after my speech. Field Marshal Ayub Khan came here and also made a speech. You know that he failed. You will also recall that he was fired upon. When the shots rang out, our great Field Marshal fell flat on the ground and took cover. My dear friends, I believe that life and death are in the hands of God but I can assure you that if Bhutto had been involved in such an incident, he would never have fallen flat on the ground.

I have already said that the victory against Ayub Khan belongs to the people but when there was dictatorship in the country and the students were laying down their lives in Rawalpindi and Dacca and other places, where were these leaders who are now trying to lead us? Everyone is posing as a lion while in that hour of trial they all proved to be jackals. Now they claim that they fought for democracy. Some of them were sitting in England and others had locked themselves in their houses. All of them agreed that they could not fight against Ayub Khan. The people fought against Ayub Khan and I was with them all through the struggle. Official pressures and ultimatums did not prevent me from siding with my people. I have been with the people of Pakistan and I will never tell them to go ahead and offer sacrifices while I watch them from the side-lines. When the campaign against Ayub entered the decisive phase, these other leaders also came out of their holes. You will recall that there were many among them who declared that they will not hold talks with Ayub Khan. They promised to the people that they will never talk to Ayub Khan. Later, when Ayub Khan gauged that the movement was going to succeed, he summoned a Round Table Conference. His plan was to sabotage the movement. He did not want to give up power. His only object was that the movement should fail. He was in power and had plenty of money. These gentlemen who had done nothing to promote the movement joined the Conference. This Conference was against the people of Pakistan. These leaders joined hands with Ayub Khan and started a new conspiracy against the people. The same people had declared that they would not talk to Ayub Khan. They criticised me for not joining the Conference. If I had gone to attend the Conference, the movement would have petered out. Ayub Khan wanted to entrap me but I did not leave the people. When these leaders were attending the Round Table Conference behind closed doors, I was with you. That was my round table conference.

What has been the politics of our politicians? It has always been a sort of round table conference. Ever since the Quaid-i-Azam died and the Quaid-i-Millat was assassinated, the round table conference has been going on. Never has the people's politics been allowed in the country. The politicians have never tried to secure the confidence and co-operation of the people. That has been their mentality. They have been trying to keep the people away. Their time is now over. Now the politics of the people will decide the future of the country. Politicians of the old school are very experienced, but their experience is confined to conspiracy and intrigue. Now they say they will come to the people, but they stayed away from the movement and later they went to join Ayub's Round Table Conference.

Gentlemen, it is a matter of great regret that during the last 22 years there has been no constitution in the country. It is a blot on the political life of our country. There have been three constitutions during the last 22 years. I would say almost three because when the first constitution was ready, Mr. Ghulam Mohammad dissolved the Constituent Assembly. These constitutions did not work because the people did not have any hand in framing these constitutions. If the people had been given a chance to share in the framing of these constitutions there would not have been a tussle, because the people's verdict is final. What a disgrace it is that Pakistan which is the largest Islamic country has not been able to have a workable constitution during the last 22 years Our first and foremost duty is to frame a constitution and I promise you that we shall fully co-operate in the framing of a constitution within 120 days. We shall work day and night and put in our best efforts to formulate a workable constitution. A constitution is the fundamental law of the land. It will be our endeavour to strengthen the country through democracy. We do not want that democracy should ever be endangered again. We have struggled for democracy during the Ayub regime. We believe that democracy is the people's government and the people have the right to make or unmake the government. Moreover, the government is responsible to the people in a democracy. That is why we shall try our best to give the country a good, workable democracy.

At the same time we believe that unless the economic system is changed no constitution or democracy can help the country. For us this is a fundamental question. We want to banish poverty and misery from the country. It is sad that even after 22 years, we find people who talk only in the context of provinces. My dear brothers, you must avoid this trap of parochialism. If a Pathan is hungry and his child is dying of hunger, there is no difference between his hunger and the hunger of a Punjabi or a refugee. There are many big landlords and industrialists, but they never fall out among them- selves. A Punjabi industrialist does not fight with a Pathan industrialist. They co-operate and try to instigate the common people against each other. I want' to repeat that the poverty and the misery of a Punjabi, Pathan or Sindhi are the same. We have declared that we will co-operate in the formulation of a constitution. Our only difference with the other leaders is that they support the capitalists. They believe in retaining this system which has sucked the blood of the people. When we say that we want to change this system it is said that Islam is in danger. How can Islam be in danger in Pakistan? This is a Muslim country and we are all Muslims. I say Islam can never be in danger. Islam is an eternal religion. It can never be in danger.

It is not Islam which is in danger, it is the rich people who are in danger. Those who had opposed the creation of Pakistan, those who had called the Quaid-i-Azam a 'kafir', those who issued 'fatwas' against the Kashmir war those who had written against Pakistan, are saying that Islam is in danger. You can read their speeches. After all, 22 years is not a very long period. There are many people who are still alive and who remember. When the struggle between the Hindus and the Muslims was going on and when the Quaid-i-Azam was fighting for Pakistan, these people were with the Hindus and the British. They were opposed to the Quaid-i-Azam. Now they tell us that Pakistan is in danger and that they are struggling for its integrity. They are the same people who opposed Pakistan throughout and who were sorry when it was created. They tell us that they want its progress. When we talk of the people's welfare they say that it is against Islam. They have always been against Pakistan. Now that it has come into being they cannot say that they are against it. If they stand here and say that they are opposed to Pakistan, the people will not forgive them. Their ideas have not changed and they declare that whatever they said in 1940 and 1945 and 1947 has proved true.

They have not accepted Pakistan. Their efforts are to weaken Pakistan because that is the way to destroy it. They are now opposing Pakistan through other efforts, through the backdoor. They are hypocrites and liars. They have now changed their manifesto. You should recall what their manifesto was ten years ago. They held that feudalism could not be abolished and that industries could not be nationalised because it was against Islam. Now they want to nationalise capital and abolish feudalism. But all this has a hollow ring. In fact, they do not want to abolish capitalism. They only want to deceive the people. If their objectives are to end capitalism and feudalism, they should co-operate with us but these are not their real objectives. They are propagating that the People's Party and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto are dangerous.

New fronts are being formed. A front was formed in Sind. They declared in their speeches that they wanted the end of One Unit. One Unit was dissolved by the President on 28th November, but this front is still there, it is clear that the front had not come into existence against the One Unit but to protect the capitalists. These are the people who brought the politic? Of this country to this pass. They betrayed the people. The troubles of the common man increased. We want the economic conditions of the country to be changed, so that you live a comfortable life and your children get education. I have seen the whole world. I have seen in other countries that education and medical treatment are free. Why can't this be done in Pakistan? This can be done in Pakistan through an economic change. Our friends call this 'kufr.' There are many Muslim countries which are socialist. Have they ceased to be Muslim? Why is this question being raised in Pakistan? It would be a sad day if a party tells us that we are not Muslims. Those who had opposed Pakistan, those who had sided with our enemies, are our real enemies.

My dear friends, the fact is that without the progress of the people there can be no progress in Pakistan. There can be no prosperity if the people arc hungry. Under these circumstances Pakistan can never progress. We want to establish equality in accordance with our religion. Equality is absolutely in keeping with our religion, just as democracy is in accordance with Islam. All these leaders want democracy and we accept that Islam contains the principles of democracy. At the same time the parliamentary system of England is nowhere mentioned in the Hadith or the Quran. This system has been given to us by the British. They fought against the Muslims and enslaved the Islamic countries, not only in the subcontinent but also in the Middle East. If the parliamentary system which we have inherited from the British, who ruled over us and exploited us, is acceptable, why is the equality of Islam not acceptable to these gentlemen? The parliamentary system was not founded in Peshawar, Lahore or Dacca. It originated at Athens and the British introduced it to us. They called it parliamentary democracy and our friends have accepted it. We would welcome the parliamentary system and we will help in its establishment. We will not impose it. The decision must come from the people.

Quaid-i-Azam upheld Islamic Socialism. He supported it before and after the establishment of Pakistan. Our opponents cannot deny that. That is why they opposed the Quaid-i-Azam because he wanted Islamic Socialism, because there was to be equality in Pakistan and these people did not want equality. A gentlemen who has retired from politics but keeps on issuing lengthy statements, has admitted that the Quaid-i-Azam did use the term "Islamic Socialism', but that he meant something else. How do they know that he did not mean what he said? He was a politician, a lawyer and our leader. These people should have had the courage to oppose him after the establishment of Pakistan as they did before. I can tell you that their conspiracies to save the capitalists will fail and the people, the workers and the peasants will triumph.

These reactionaries are afraid of the people's awakening. The people know what their rights are and how to achieve them. The fronts against the people will fail. I promise that we will side with t-he people and will always be with them. The success of the Pakistan People's Party is not the success of Bhutto but of the people. We have taken the path of the people and will always side with the people who are bound to succeed. We shall never come through the backdoor and a day will come when I shall be able to garland the people. General Yahya Khan announced on 28th November that political activity will be allowed from 1st January and political parties will be permitted to take their programme to the people. The nation will then decide its future. General Yahya Khan also promised that there will be no curbs on the press, radio and television. After 22 years people have been allowed to exercise their choice for the first time. You have to decide very important issues. We want that the elections should be held in a free atmosphere. That is our demand.

 

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