Let Democracy Return
Speech at the Quaid's Mausoleum Karachi,
September I1, 1971

If you listen to me in silence, I shall be obliged for we have no loud­speakers. We have come here to pay homage to Quaid-i-Azam and rekindle his memory. I had no plan to speak but on September 6 some gentlemen came here and made speeches. I, therefore, hope that the Government will have no objection if I speak to you. It is strange, however, that speeches are not allowed at the Mausoleum of the Father of the Nation. Isn't it ironic that even here, the most honoured of places, we are not allowed to speak from our heart. But 1 will speak to you with complete sincerity, from the depths of my soul. I will speak in the interest of the country. I will speak for the restora­tion of the rights of the people of Pakistan. This is necessary today because for long I have been demanding that political freedom be restored. If there are restrictions placed on the people and their leaders so that they cannot get together, then the gulf between the Government and the governed widens even further. It is a basic principle of democracy that no such restriction should prevail. Without freedom, no problem can be solved, not to speak of the grave crisis through which Pakistan is passing today.

Brothers, as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, an individual, 1 am nothing. You are my power and my strength. No government in the world can solve its prob­lems without the co-operation and support of its people. Ever since this tragic crisis enveloped the country, I have called for its solution through the help, support and power of the people. No problem can be solved through oppression, through bullets, through force. A few months ago when I said this first, a number of sycophants and defeated politicians said that this amounted to treachery. Had democracy been restored then, we would not be in this sorry state today. These people claim to be the lieutenants of the Quaid-i-Azam. They claim to have taken part in the Pakistan movement. They are the same people who used to say that they would not accept Ayub Khan's one-man constitution. Why are they silent now? Why are they tongue-tied today?

These people are not your friends. First, they wanted elections for the return of democracy. Elections were held. The people gave their verdict. Today, these people are not prepared to accept this verdict. This was not my verdict. It was not their verdict. It was the verdict of the people. Why are they conspiring now? I repeat that if power is not transferred to the people, this crisis will not find a solution. What happened in East Pakistan, can happen in West Pakistan as well. I said so many times in the past that bloodshed was imminent, that a civil war was in the offing, that a great crisis was brewing. Four years ago, I wrote in my book that a war appears likely. My campaign speeches are on record. They can be read. I warned of this crisis. I repeated it everywhere. See what happened. East Pakistan is as much a part of Pakistan as West Pakistan. It is the majority province. How tragic it is that today, Muslim is slaying Muslim in this Islamic country.

This can happen in West Pakistan also. But, I warn the powers that be that we will not permit bloodshed here. We will not permit another Jallianwala Bagh. The Quaid-i-Azam made Pakistan with the sacrifices of the people, the common people. Why did thousands perish in this struggle? What was the dream that was Pakistan? It was to be a country where justice would prevail, where democracy and social and economic justice would reign supreme, where the poor would prosper, where there would be joy and happiness for the worker and the peasant. Pakistan was to be a country for the Muslims, without social and economic distinctions or the superiority of race and birth. That is why the Muslims of the subcontinent struggled for this goal. That is why they made sacrifices.

Oh! my Quaid, did you dream of the Pakistan that we are living in today? Was it your concept, your dream? Did you have this Pakistan in mind when, speaking to the first Constituent Assembly, you said that you were indebted to the Members for having chosen you as their President. Why did the Quaid say that? He was a democrat and he respected the democratic process. He felt honoured by it. And do you recall what he said once? He said he was confident that Pakistan's first Assembly would set an example for the whole world to follow. He said it would have two responsibi­lities: to frame a constitution and to ensure its complete independence and sovereignty. He said that the constitution will be made by the elected representatives of the people. He had given the guidelines by saying that it would be a constitution based on the principles of Islam, on social justice, on egalitariansim. He wanted a just Islamic order. These are his words. I am reading them out to you. No constitution that has not been framed by the representatives of the people can last. There have been many constitutions but they did not last. The 1956 Constitution did not last because it was not framed by the people's representatives. The 1962 Constitution also failed because of this reason. Elections have been held. There is an Assembly in existence. These are popular decisions, reflecting the people's will. Nobody can supersede them.

The Quaid-i-Azam had said, "You are free people today. You have everything. You have the resources and the will. You have to make this a prosperous country. You can bring to an end poverty and privation." Oh! my Quaid, you created this country for the people, not for the few who are today holding absolute power. Oh! my Quaid, I have come to you today to protest. I have come to protest on behalf of students, workers, peasants and intellectuals. I have come to protest because workers are being laid off, because peasants are being ejected. Was this your concept of Pakistan? Was this the Pakistan you had struggled for? Today, students are being lashed. For the last 23 years, my Quaid, your people have groaned under repression. We cannot even speak at your resting place. What sin have we com­mitted? What is our crime? We divided the subcontinent so that we should be free, so as to be able to live our own lives. Be our witness Oh! Quaid. that today we are forbidden to open our mouths. Silence has been imposed on us. Speak, speak my Quaid, when will this night of oppression end? When will the sun of oppression finally set? We have forgotten what happened to the rule of law. We have forgotten its meaning. We do not understand what justice means. We have forgotten what an egalitarian order is like. For years now we have been completely unaware of the existence of these things that you used to speak about. My Quaid, do you recall the promises that you made to us? Do you remember the dreams that you made us see? Oh! my Quaid, in India where the Brahmins rule, the Prime Minister can speak to multitudes, but in your country we are forbidden to even address ten people. Oh! my Quaid, speaking in Chittagong you had said that public servants should carry out their duties like public servants. You had said that they were the servants of the people not their masters. You had said that they were paid from the public coffers and should remain faithful to their oath. that they should serve the people. You had said that they should not meddle in politics or align themselves with one political party or other. You had also said that they should be faithful to the political party in office.

Oh! my Quaid, is this justice that the bureaucracy has cast its black shadow over the entire country? Where is democracy and the rights of the majority? What is happening in villages? There are two uncrowned kings in every district, the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police. They are beyond accountability. They do what they will. My friends. I am holding in my hand a book containing the Quaid's sayings his thoughts. He made Pakistan and he told us that there will be a people's rule in Pakistan. Why are we being denied? Why are we not getting our democratic rights? Let me tell you our crime. We wrote a manifesto which enshrined the rights of the poor. the toiling masses, the outer humanity. We raised aloft the banner of the peasants and the workers. That is our crime.

Conditions are deteriorating every day. The crisis is deepening. We are told one thing one day and another thing the next day. There is a limit to hypocrisy. The people have given us political responsibility. We will fight every political change. Why should we not ask who is or is not in your jails? Why should we not ask why the Government have declared a general amnesty? If the entire responsibility is that of the Government, then I declare that we shall not be responsible for the consequences. Shall we not ask how one day you dub a man a traitor and the next day you declare him a patriot? We have a right and we will struggle. We will resist. We will fight. We have resisted before. We will resist again. I know that the occupied and sycophant press tells lies. It distorts facts. It is said that we are power hungry. I make a promise at the Quaid's mausoleum that we are not power hungry. We don't care about power. The People's Party won the majority of seats from West Pakistan. This is a reality. This is the verdict of the people. I am saying it aloud that the country's economy has been destroyed. We are standing on the edge of the precipice. There is nothing left in the national exchequer. The people are in despair. They come to me and say that they are being oppressed. They come to me with their demands. We, therefore, demand the transfer of power. This is a sign of our patriotism. If the Government is afraid of our party let it transfer power to a minority party. At least they will be representing a few lakh people, if not seventy million as we do. You think that we are hankering after power, all right, do not transfer power to us. Transfer power to a minority. At least it will be a representative govern­ment of sorts. There will be an Assembly. There will be democracy. Can we make a greater sacrifice?

For God's sake, restore democracy. Bring this game of hide and seek to an end; stop playing cat and mouse. Or else, have the decency to say in so many words that you do not wish to transfer power. Say that we are not fit for democracy, that you are not prepared to step down from the high chair you are occupying, say that no one has the power to force you down from it. Every four months you make a new speech over the radio. Have you ever heard of a government anywhere in the world which should claim to be interim and which should remain in power for three years? Oh my God, is there nothing in our fate except an interim government? No interim government should last more than a few weeks or months.

Oh! my Quaid, we have come to complain to you. We made sacrifices for Pakistan and this is how we are being treated. We can make more sacri­fices. Tell us, our leader, what we should do.

Oh! my Quaid, bear witness to it. We are making this pledge at your mausoleum. We took the revolutionary way. We brought about a revolution against Ayub's dictatorship. We won the elections. We have struggled and sacrificed but power remains denied to the people.

Oh! my Quaid, the last 43 years of my life I have lived like a man. I will live like a man. I do not wish to die like a rat. We will serve the people. We will remain with the people, no matter what happens. Life and death are, after all, in the hands of God.

Oh! my Quaid, if we decide to live, how should we live? All around us is darkness. Shall we continue to live in the clutches of the bureaucracy? Shall we live under the night of oppression? How shall we live?

Oh! my poor people, my starving people, sons of my workers and peasants, how long shall we live like this? How long shall we bear this repres­sion? Come my workers, my peasants, let us all get together and break our­selves free of these chains of oppression and injustice. Let us all raise our hands and pray at this place, "God Almighty, let there be justice in Pakistan. Let there be propserity. Let there be light. Let democracy return to this troubled country. Let us pray for strength so that we should be able to follow the Quaid-i-Azam's teachings and defend his Pakistan."

 

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