Basic Issues are Economic
Public Speech at Mardan,
February 25, 1970

My party and I are thankful 10 you for having joined our procession today—a procession that was historic in its size and significance—and for coming to this meeting. This successful procession and this large meeting would not have been possible without your co-operation. I am particularly grateful to my sisters of this region for their presence at this meeting.

Our message is for the whole of Pakistan. Our politics is an open book. It is the politics of the people and of principles. We don't believe in round table conferences. We don't hater conspiracies hiding in drawing rooms. Politics in Pakistan has not been the people's politics after the death of the Quaid-i-Azam and the martyrdom of the Quaid-i-Millat. Ghulam Moham­med illegally dissolved the first Constituent Assembly. This was followed by the formation of an illegal Constituent Assembly One 01 our politicians claimed that he struggled against Ayub Khan, but he co-operated with the little dictator Ghulam Mohammad. Ghulam Mohammad and Ayub Khan were both dictators. One was small and weak, while the other was big and strong. Politics since that period has been the politics of a few. It has been the politics of a few capitalists and feudal lords. We don't believe in such politics. We want the politics of the peasants and the labourers. I refused to join the Round Table Conference because it was a conspiracy against the people. Ayub Khan wanted to sabotage the people's movement through that Conference. Ayub Khan was afraid of the Students, the workers, the peasants and the people of Pakistan. He was supported by the capitalists and feudal lords, the Basic Democrats, government officers, the police and the army.

In spite of this the people of Pakistan fought against him. The students gave their blood and the workers faced him bravely. Ayub Khan wanted to sabotage the movement at all costs. It was with that end in view that he invited us to the Round Table Conference. I believed that if I joined the Conference it would be a betrayal of the people. Ayub Khan had set a trap for everybody but I eluded him. If Ayub Khan considered himself a politi­cian. I too understood his politics.

When these leaders were sitting in the Round Table Conference. I was having my conference with the people outside. You people are my round table conference. I shall always side with you and die with you. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto will be with you at every step, at every turn and on every front. Ayub Khan made long term plans. He wanted to nominate his son as his successor, but the people of Pakistan defeated his dictatorship and history will record what was the role of the People's Party in this struggle. I do not make lofty claims. Pakistan is not my empire. We are your servants. I stepped forward and told you to march ahead declaring that we would collectively defeat the dictator. If you went to jail I also went to jail.

The objective in defeating Ayub's dictatorship was that we wanted democracy- All the parties want democracy because that means the rule of the common man. People don't have any voice in a dictatorship. There is no difference among the parties on the question of democracy. We all want a constitution as well. We shall try our best to form a constitution because it is the fundamental law of the land and a sacred document. We cannot say right away that the constitution can be finalised in four months or not. After the Assembly is elected it will be clear within ten days whether a constitution is possible within four months or not. If every party sticks to its stand and is not prepared to compromise, a constitution will never be possible within four months.

Even if a constitution is framed within four months, the basic problems of Pakistan will not be solved. The basic problems are economic problems, the problems of poverty and misery. If you are dying of hunger you cannot eat the constitution. If your children cannot get education the constitution will not serve as a school. If you do not have money for your medical treatment the constitution cannot be used as a medicine. I do not mean to say that we do not need a constitution. We want a constitution and we will make our best efforts to have one. Our only differences with other parties are on economic issues. On the one hand, we have parties which want the status quo. These parties uphold the capitalist system. Then there is the Pakistan People's Party which declares that this system will have to go. This system has sucked the blood of the people. It is an anti-people system. The 22 families have usurped the entire wealth of the country. They have looted the people.

Our manifesto declares that the basic industries will be nationalised. The other factories will remain with the owners. Our manifesto is based on Islamic Socialism which means Islamic equality. The anti-people parties are not concerned with the people's welfare. They do not want to end capitalism and poverty. They consider such actions against our religion. They say that our religion is a complete code of life and there is no scope for any other 'ism' in it. We also hold that our religion is a complete code and we are prepared to lay down our lives for the sake of our religion. We are Muslims and we are proud of it. My Creator knows the truth.

We shall serve the cause of Islam, not only in Pakistan but wherever Muslims live. If I did not have the sense of honour of a Muslim and if I was not a true Muslim. I would not have been able to face India resolutely. We are Muslims first and foremost. Who says that equality is against our religion? Equality is the message of our religion. Islam succeeded because of this message. You can also consult the Holy Quran. The Pakistan People's Party will never enforce a law which is against the principles of Islam. We say that Islam is a complete code of life but our opponents say that there is no scope for equality and Islamic Socialism in Islam.

They keep on repeating that Islam is a complete code of life but they talk about the parliamentary system of democracy at the same time. Where is this parliamentary democracy provided for in Islam? This system was introduced 10 us by the British who were the most dangerous enemies of Islam. They ruled over this country for over 200 years and exploited it and its people. Islam is not in danger. The capitalists and their supporters are in danger. We are all Muslims and this country was established for the Muslims. How can Islam be in danger in a Muslim country? When the British and the Hindus opposed Islam tooth and nail and also opposed the Quaid-i-Azam, our opponents were with Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Subhash Chandra Bose. They opposed Pakistan to the last. They opposed Pakistan even after its establishment. Now they tell us that Islam is in danger. Who are these people? They are the same people who opposed Pakistan. The Quaid-i-Azam was on one side and these gentlemen were in the opposite camp. They declared him outside the pale of Islam. They also issued an edict against the first war in Kashmir. Now they are worried about the ideology of Pakistan. These people want to weaken Pakistan to make easy the task of our enemies. These people are against the progress of the common man. Gentlemen, you should study the speeches of the Quaid. He himself had declared that Islamic Socialism would be introduced in Pakistan. The Quaid-i-Millat also had said the same thing. I am not the first person to say it.

Twenty-two years have elapsed since independence but the people have not seen any prosperity. How miserable is the lot of the people! Their wages are low and the cost of living high. How can the poor make both ends meet? We want to stop this exploitation and to free you from your shackles. We want an atmosphere of freedom for the development of our national personality.

We have to face the capitalists and their lackeys. I can assure you that the people will be victorious in the end. It is a difficult path but there is no reason for disappointment. Victory is yours and the people of Pakistan will reach their destination. Our country has everything. Its people are brave and it has all the resources. If there can be free education in other countries, why should it not be so in Pakistan? If there is inexpensive medical treatment, and food and shelter available to the people in other countries, it can be done in Pakistan too. All we need is the right kind of economic system. That would be my endeavour. That was the endeavour of the Quaid-i-Azam, Allama Iqbal and Liaquat Ali Khan. We are following the principles of Islam. We are working for the welfare of Pakistan. 1 shall always be with the people and never side with the capitalists and the feudalists.

The Pakistan Peoples Party is your party and you have to strengthen it. People from Khyber to Karachi are with the People's Party. I have always served you. I gave you a popular foreign policy and liberated it from the chains of imperialism. You can compare us with the others. Have our opponents ever had contacts with you? When did they go to jails with the people? Their politics has been closed-door politics. Their time is over. They have never worked for you and they cannot serve you now. There are parties which have existed for 40 years but have done nothing for you. You have tried all of them.

Ayub Khan had told me that I could be sent to any country as an ambassador. He offered me mills, sugar mills or jute mills; whatever I wanted, but I told him, "No, 1 don't want any mills. 1 want to serve the people." Ayub Khan corrupted the political life of the country through devious methods. One of them was to issue permits to politicians for setting up mills. Those who received permits never criticised him. The people's hatr­ed increased. Now again the politicians and their relatives are being issued permits. If the elections are to be free and the Government has to remain neutral, this practice should end. These permits will be used in the elections and will be sold in the market. There is a defeated politician of my area who betrayed the country and has always an immoral stand in politics. He has also received a permit. There is another Minister who has issued permits for mills to his relatives in Karachi. These permits should be confiscated. That is the demand of the people.




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