Attitude of Other Countries
Press Conference at Karachi,
April 14, 1971

Because of the new Martial Law regulations promulgated on the 26th of the last month and in view of serious limitations, it is difficult to hold a press conference on the vital issues that confront the nation. Neverthe­less, at the same time, when the crisis is as total as it is today, when the country is facing the gravest situation in its history of 23 years, it is necessary to take the people into confidence and to mobilise the people in order to overcome a situation as critical as the present one. I do not think that any serious national crisis can be successfully overcome without the full parti­cipation of the people. You will recall that during the 1965 war the people were fully utilised and they rendered an invaluable contribution to tide over the difficulties that our country faced at that time. With the blanket of Martial Law and its regulations, our inability to address public meetings and holding productive press conferences, activities get restricted and rumors spread around, whispering campaigns take place. All sons of vile and unfounded stories get fabricated. This not only confuses public opinion but also demoralises the people and the problem is made more difficult because the world does not remain silent.

In the present age of communications the people listen to broadcasts of foreign countries. They manage to get newspapers from abroad and this kind of distorted information blurs the true picture. In the present crisis, the Indian press and All India Radio are indulging in wild attacks on Pakis­tan, fabricating stories and trying to confuse and confound public opinion in our country. Naturally, there is need for vigilance and need for sensible control. There is a dilemma both for political leaders and for the people, particularly for the political party that has a direct democratic responsibility to the people, particularly for "those leaders who have received a mandate, an overwhelming mandate from the people to represent and serve them.

Every citizen of Pakistan is concerned with the present crisis, but the responsibility of the elected representatives of the majority party here is indeed a special responsibility. We have taken important decisions and these decisions have had a bearing on the situation. The PPP feels that it does have a special responsibility in serving the people and in making its effective contribution to overcome the crisis. In the discussion that I had with President Yahya Khan on the first and second of this month we covered a wide range of subjects, we discussed the present crisis in depth and in these discussions I pointed out to the President the need for active association of the people in overcoming the political problems facing the country at present. I carried the impression after the meeting that the President was alive to these problems and that progressively, depending on the situation in East Pakistan, he intends to associate the people and their representatives more comprehensively so that a total effort is made to have this terrible agony behind us as soon aspossible.

During this crisis we have seen the attitude of many people inside the country and we have also noted the position taken by other countries. The present situation is complicated enough. I don't think it would be useful to further complicate it by going into details on the attitude adopted by certain countries. In any case, we believe that a national crisis of this magnitude can only be resolved by the people themselves. If we are determined to put our house in order, to restore normal conditions, to bury the legacy of the past and begin anew, we will come out of this crisis in spite of interference by foreign powers. As a matter of fact interference by foreign powers should make the people more determined to confront the challenge and to restore normal conditions.

This, notwithstanding, we cannot be unmindful of the role played by India in her efforts to bring about the disintegration of our country. India has violated all the normal, accepted and recognised rules of international conduct. India has violated the UN Charter. Her interference has been an affront to the principles of Bandung. India has played for a double standard: while she ruthlessly suppresses and holds in bondage the people of Jammu and Kashmir, she is trying to undermine the integrity of Pakistan. It is certain that the people of Pakistan will not allow India to succeed in her machinations. In the past also we have resisted and repelled Indian inter­ference and Indian aggression and I know my people. I know they are capable once again of responding to the challenge of Indian interference. Actually, by interfering in this way India is adopting an extremely myopic attitude. As you sow, so shall you reap. India has all the conditions in her own country to reap the bitter harvest of interference. In this connection, in this matter of foreign interference, I speak with some diffidence but at the same time I consider it my duty to the people of Pakistan to register the strongest protest on behalf of the people of Pakistan and I have every right to speak for the people.

What is the attitude taken by the Soviet Union? The Soviet Union is a great neighbour of Pakistan. It is a great power. We seek good relations with all the states and naturally, we would like to have good relations with the great powers. We have made strenuous efforts to improve our relations with the Soviet Union. You'll recall that the first start in these relations came when I went to the Soviet Union in 1960 to conclude the Oil Agreement. An element of reciprocity is essential in the improvement of strained relations. The President of the Soviet Union deems it necessary to address a letter to our President on our internal crisis—on a matter which was and remains and will remain strictly within the domestic jurisdiction of Pakistan. I am out of touch with foreign affairs. So I don't know whether it was a letter or a note. You'll have to read it to find out what it is. But whether it was a letter or a note it was blatant interference in the internal affairs of our country.

Naturally, we would like to see a political solution to the problems facing Pakistan. We made every effort to find a political solution. Once the situation comes under control, I am certain that a solution will be found. Once the situation comes under control, I am certain that the pieces will be picked up and renewed efforts will be made to arrive at a political settlement. For, only a political settlement can be a lasting settlement- But how we arrive at a political settlement, it is a matter which exclusively concerns the people of Pakistan. It is for them to determine in their better judgment what should be the nature of the settlement. We do not need advice from foreign countries on how we should proceed to settle our internal matters. We are neither a colony of another country susceptible to viceregal advice, nor do we fall within the hegemony of another country for this kind of advice to be given to us. I repeat, we shall find a political settlement but that is our concern. We do not have to be instructed or directed by a foreign country on the modus operandi for a settlement, nor did we have to be advised on whether to restore democracy or have any other system of governing our country.

On our part, we have admired the manner in which the Soviet Union has faced foreign aggression and foreign interference in the last 50 years of its history under socialism. We remember well how soon after the Leninist Revolution in the Soviet Union, the Soviet leaders and the Soviet people repelled foreign aggression and foreign interference. We have also noted how in these long years the Soviet Union consolidated her country by taking many measures, not all of them of a political nature, to safeguard the sovereignty of the Soviet Union.

We have known of countries going across their borders to safeguard what they term as their basic interests and we have seen how they have gone across their borders and what methods they have applied to safeguard what they term as their basic interests. We have not left the frontiers of Pakistan. We are within our frontiers and have every right to protect and safeguard our sovereignty. The Government of Pakistan has replied to the Soviet Union and reminded the Soviet Government of the United Nations Charter and the Bandung Principles. It is doubtful that the Soviet Union has forgotten the UN Charter and the Bandung Principles. What is regrettable is that the Soviet Union has forgotten Lenin and its socialist principles. The Soviet note was against the famous doctrine of the founder of the Soviet state on the question of state conduct in so far as interference in other people's affairs is Concerned. It is one of the cardinal principles of Leninism, Marxism and Socialism to refrain from interfering in the affairs of other countries.

What the Soviet Union is to be reminded of is not the UN Charter or the Bandung Principles but the teachings of Marxism and Leninism on the subject of foreign interference. In accordance with the teachings of Lenin and Marx, the People's Republic of China has taken a correct and just stand or our side and on the attitude of India and other countries about interference in our affairs. The assurance given by the People's Republic of China to Pakistan came only when it was crystal clear that there was foreign interfe­rence. After having satisfied itself that India was interfering in the internal affairs of Pakistan, China thought it her duty as a great Asian state, as a great power and as a neighbour of Pakistan and India to protest against the flagrant interference by another country in the internal affairs of Pakistan and to assure the people of Pakistan that China would support the just cause of the people of this country to resist foreign interference.

It would be much better for foreign countries to leave us alone to resolve our internal difficulties. We have a very serious problem on our hands and we would like to give our undivided and total attention to this problem. I do not want to make any comment at the attitude of some of the other countries. I say this because so far their attitude has been ambivalent. There is evidence of interference but the evidence has not been so conclusive as to draw the people's attention to it. However, we are watching the situation. If their interference does increase and we are satisfied that it is taking place we will certainly take our people into confidence. We will also take other necessary measures to deal with the situation. Since 1947 Pakistan has witnessed many emergencies but this is the gravest one that we have come across so far. I hope and pray that we draw the right conclusions from this crisis.

The present crisis is a legacy of past blunders. It would have been much easier, had we been able to find a constitutional and a political equation in the fifties. With the passage of time our problems have become more complicated. In those days the leaders who were responsible to the people failed to frame a constitution not because a constitution could not have been framed in those days but because they wanted to perpetuate themselves. This was a great blunder and we are suffering for it today. Another blunder, another mistake callous and crude in the extreme, was the appalling exploitation of the people. The Pakistan People's Party was the first West Wing based party to admit that the whole nation had been exploited and that the main exploitation had been of East Pakistan. We were the first to admit in our election manifesto that East Pakistan was treated like a colony.

We must face the ugly realities. In our search for a political settlement we must willingly give the people of East Pakistan their legitimate political rights and we must ensure that the exploitation of the majority of the people comes to a permanent end. We must evolve a system to live in a harmonious affinity under an equitable economic system, under the cover of democracy and under one flag. It may take a long time. It is not going to be an easy task. There is hatred and passion in the hearts of the people. But I am equally confident that with the right approach and a clear outlook we can surmount the present difficulties for all times.

In this connection, I would appeal to some individuals to learn from past mistakes and not make proposals on the future constitution. That would be misinterpreted by the people of East Pakistan. I do not know whether they are doing this in their innocence or there is some sinister objec­tive behind it but this is hardly the time to talk about the restoration of parity or to talk about separate electorates or to talk about the division of Bengal into various provinces. What would be the reaction of the people of East Pakistan when they hear these fancy proposals? I do not want to elucidate on the subject. You can draw your own conclusions. They will naturally take it as yet another attempt by West Pakistan to extend its domina­tion and hegemony over, them. They will think that we do not even want to let them have their natural political rights; that we want to deny them rights of the majority in the legislature. What legs will the patriotic elements have to stand on with such proposals coming from these individuals?

That is why I do not think these proposals are emanating from some genuine and innocent motives. The people who are making these proposals were always against Pakistan. Their hostility to the creation of Pakistan is a matter of record. Are they trying to seek by these means to further complicate the crisis? Do they want to achieve the dismemberment of Pakistan? One party that suffered an ignominious defeat in the elections and was against the creation of Pakistan, immediately after the elections, enthusiastically suppor­ted Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his Six Points, is now very much active. A party that did not believe in Pakistan and does not believe in Pakistan cannot come to the rescue of Pakistan. If the Awami League is to be banned for wanting the dismemberment of Pakistan—and it has rightly been banned for that purpose—it would logically follow that those parties which opposed Pakistan should also be banned. They should not set about like a mighty colossus trying to overcome the crisis because they will only aggravate the crisis.

And why are these gentlemen busy condemning Indian aggression on a safe wicket? They should go on record properly and unambiguously 10 tell the nation how they stand on the Awami League's Six Points. Not only that, they should reconcile their earlier statements after the elections and upto the 25th of March on the support they gave to the Awami League. We have in our possession the teleprinter messages exchanged between some people in East Pakistan and a notorious news agency of this country that came into being for anti-people activities..

Another forlorn and forsaken individual held a press conference in Karachi the other day. In the press conference he said that the attacks on him were PPP-inspired. He denied what is now called the London Plan. The poor man said that he had nothing to do with it. He went on to explain the talks he had had with certain other people and when he had them and why he went to London? If there was nothing in the 'London Plan,' if there was no such thing as the 'London Plan,' why did this gentlemen not deny it when it was first mentioned? If I am not wrong, I think, the first mention about this plan was made about two years ago. At that time there was no denial by any of them. Even now during this crisis there are frequent references to the 'London Plan' not only by political parties but also by the newspapers in their despatches and articles.

During their stay in East Pakistan, after the 21st of March, these leaders went about in vehicles carrying the Bangla Desh flag. They called Sheikh Mujibur Rahman their leader and their future Prime Minister. This particular gentleman said that he had a long association of over 13 years with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. So really there has to be a book on the tragedy of the last 23 years and particularly on this crisis. This time there should be an authentic voice on the subject so that mistakes are not repeated in the future.

 

  Speeches
Slideshow

Slideshow

Sign Our Guest Book