Thanking the Voters
Public address outside the Assembly Chambers, Lahore,
December 12, 1970

First I wish to thank you all once again— I find no words to express my feelings—for the kindness you have once again shown to me. I distinctly remember that it was in 1965 when India had committed aggression against Pakistan that you first supported me. And you have been supporting me ever since. You have been supporting me and my principles since the day I vowed that we would continue fighting for a thousand years. Five years have passed since I said that. Much has happened since then. When we came back from Tashkent and the integrity and sovereignty of this country was at stake, all Ministers and advisers were quiet. They could not challenge Ayub Khan. The responsibility fell on my shoulders. I know how much you have seen and experienced since then. I remember my historic journey from Rawalpindi to my home after leaving the Government as a result of differences with Ayub Khan. Your decision was clear from the manner in which you received me at the Lahore railway station on 15 June. I took note of it. I could not, however, make a speech for certain reasons. I said nothing but only thanked you.

Many events followed. Tension grew. Opposition mounted. The Pakistan People's Party came into being at a critical time. We had to make sacrifices. Public meetings were banned then. You remember the Bagh-i-Nasser. The public meeting was allowed but goondas were sent to disrupt it. It was not only in Lahore but everywhere. First, they would not allow us to hold a public meeting, and if they did, goondas would come to create disturbances. We were stoned and attacked by persons armed with swords, guns and sticks. However, we kept up our cour­age. We organised a party and set up its branches throughout West Pakistan. We launched a campaign against dictatorship. We went through trials and tribulations. Now the question is why did you support me and my party at each and every step? You remained steadfast. You supported us in every difficult moment. I have not won. The people of Pakistan have won.

We had organised the People's Party at a very critical-time. You won when we launched a campaign against a dictator. The Round Table Conference followed. I remind you and repeat that the Conference was a big conspiracy against the people. It was aimed at keeping Ayub Khan in power. Its basic object was to maintain Ayub Khan's presidency after making a compromise on principles. An unprincipled man is always ready to abandon everything for power. Ayub was a support­er of the presidential system, but later became willing for the introduction of the parliamentary system. The people's campaign was against Ayub Khan, his dictatorship and corruption. It was against the betrayal of the nation at Tashkent. They wanted to overthrow him. Any manoeuvre to maintain his rule was a betrayal of the people. That was why I did not participate in the Round Table Conference and preferred to stand by you.

The elections are over now. The Government has released all political prisoners. We welcome this decision. The Government should have taken this decision much earlier. We did suffer. But then, I believe in forgetting and forgiving.

The rightist parties observed the "Glory of Islam Day." It was a con­spiracy to sabotage the people's festival of 1970. It was done deliberately to protect capitalism and exploitation. It was done in view of the fact that our people were illiterate. It was done to deceive them. But hats off to the people. They deserve rich tributes. The reactionary parties, in collusion with the im­perialists. decided to put Islam in "danger." They spread prejudices. Before Round Table Conference started, these people said they would fight against dictatorship, but when our movement began they went to the Conference. They started praising Ayub. They conspired to burn copies of the Quran in Lahore and Multan. They themselves desecrated the Quran. They thought that by doing so they would be able to stop economic reforms.

Our opponents lavishly entertained voters for three days before the elections. I am happy that you ate their meals, rode in their trucks, sat in their camps, but voted for us. They contended that my public meetings were well attended because the people came to see me acting and dancing. The people come to our meetings because we talk of them and about their prob­lems. The people are awake now. All are not educated, but why were they not educated? It was due to the system which did not provide for solutions to basic economic problems. Unless the present system is replaced your troubles will go on increasing every day, every year. You know food and clothing have become expensive. How can a poor man survive? The present system spells disaster, a complete disaster for the country and the people. As long as capitalism is in force, prices will go on increasing, so will your di­fficulties. You have seen that in the past 23 years prices have been steadily going up. What does that mean? How can the poor live? I know how to run this system. Unless basic changes are introduced, the country's lot will not improve. We say this in the interest of the people and the country. We have already urged the Government to find an immediate solution to the price-hike after the elections. The solution does not lie in capitalistic laws. The proper implementation of the principles of Islamic socialism can solve this problem. As you have emerged victorious and have gained a majority in the Punjab and Sindh, and now that a constitution is to be framed, I want to assure you that the People's Party will try its best to have a popular constitu­tion framed. Unless a new constitution is made. and a new government installed, prices will go on increasing. But it is yet to be seen what type of constitution will be framed and whose government there will be in the country. It is time for a revolution. The country is faced with an economic crisis. A solution will have to be found for the sake of the masses who are poor. I know who have voted for the People's Party. Those in rags, without shoes and uncertain about their next meal. Those who are penniless. I must make it clear that this will not be allowed to continue. A new era is bound to come. No power on earth can stop it.

I congratulate Sheikh Mujibur-Rahman. We respect the majority. East-West parity no longer exists. We recognise the principle of majority under accepted democratic traditions. But we must also take into account many other factors. Both Punjab and Sindh are centres of power. We may or may not form a government at the Centre but the keys of the Punjab Assembly Chambers are in my pocket. In one of my pockets lie the keys of the Sindh Assembly and in the other those of the Punjab Assembly. No central government can run without our co-operation. Any constitution will have to provide maximum autonomy for the provinces. One Unit is finished. All the provinces will get autonomy. If the People's Party does not support it, no government will be able to work, nor will the constitution be framed. The Centre needs our co-operation. We cannot keep the people waiting. The People's Party shall do its job. Bhutto's party will take steps, one after another. We have to rebuild and strengthen this country. Our marvelous people can even move mountains. Let nobody stop our party. We will Insha Allah build up this country. Some people said the People's Party would get only 15 seats in the elections. You have seen the party has virtually brought about a revolution. We have gained the confidence of the people. Any attempt to create obstacles in our way will lead to dangerous consequences.

You know me well. You have been trying me for the past four years. When I say that we must get our due, I mean that. It is no joke. I have devoted myself to the uplift of the people. I am ready to die for my people. We are determined to make Pakistan stronger and prosperous. You shall see everything settling down, everybody working hard. No one will be persecuted. There will be no exploitation. We are capable of resolving both internal and external problems. We would, however, first solve our internal problems particularly the economic problems. We do not believe in compro­mising on principles. We have never done that. Our opponents first dubbed us as anti-Islam. Now they maintain we will not be able to follow Islamic principles. They doubt our integrity. As a matter of fact they prepared their manifestos by copying from ours but with no intention of carrying them out. Now, after the elections, they accuse us of not intending to implement our manifesto. Well, now, at least it has been proved that the implementation of our manifesto is not contrary to Islam. We shall implement our manifesto, We will nationalise all insurance companies and basic industries.

Some people argue that nationalisation means that Government will take away wealth from the people. This is wrong. Your money will remain with you. The Government will, however, run more financial organisations. In effect, you will be running them. Therefore, you need not be afraid of it.

These industrialists lock workers out of their mills and tell them to go to Bhutto. From now on, if anyone says that, workers should note down his name, address and the time and send it to me. I shall then take suitable steps to stop such action. You have suffered a lot. Have just a little more patience and you will find everything will be all right.

A maulana of Karachi says why don't I surrender my own lands first. I must tell him, the surrender of a single individual's land would not help. I on my part am prepared even to give away all I have. But that would serve no purpose. We shall take lands from landlords after fixing limits on land holdings. It would not be Bhutto's lands alone, every big landlord would have to surrender his excess land.

My dear friends and colleagues, I whole-heartedly felicitate you on refusing to vote according to the old tribal or feudal systems. I am very happy indeed. I am nothing by myself. You have been very kind to me. You have blessed me with your support. I assure you I will remain always at your service. I want neither ministership nor presidentship. I only want to end the exploitation of the poor. It would be the happiest day of my life to see the poor man's home bright with smiles and prosperity. The poor man now can­not wait. My party has authorised me to do whatever I can to end the present capitalistic system in the country and to adopt an independent foreign policy.

My dear friends, perhaps you remember my earlier statements in which I had said that India would continue to play ping-pong with us as long as we pursued a weak policy. She will keep on attacking us from here and there sometimes in East Pakistan and sometimes in West Pakistan. We know the Indians. We have been together for a thousand years. They are experts in exploitation and intrigue. They have to be slopped. Then they would not even raise a finger. You know what happened in the Rann of Kutch. The Indians think they have a bigger army. Well, we too have a big army.

If victories depended on numbers alone, nations would have won wars only by doubling their armies. Nations do not fight on numbers alone. The Indians call for talks. Well, we have been talking for 23 years and nothing has come out of it.

 

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