Designs Against the People
Address at Public Meeting,
Multan, October 8, 1971

I have come to Multan after a long time. You will recall my having told you that the basic problems of the people, of the struggling masses would not be solved through elections alone. We participated in the elections because they had been held for the first time in Pakistan's 23 years of history. The people wanted us to take part. Our opponents were saying at that time that PPP was against democracy and did not believe in the electoral process. We proved them wrong. We were not opposed to dem­ocracy then: we are not opposed to democracy now.

These very people who had paraded before the people as great believers in democracy are now opposing transfer of power to elected representatives. I do not wish to name them because you know these defilers of democracy too well. One of these persons told me after the elections that since we had won at the polls, I was his leader. He said the country was passing through a crisis and he will extend his full co-operation to us. I say this so that you should know what hypocrites these people are. We do not believe in their politics. They have been rejected by the people. The people have given their decision in unmistakable terms. You should not, therefore, be mislead by their statements. They do not matter. Their conspiracies are not directed against any person but against the toiling masses. I am merely a symbol of the people's struggle. I have merely carried the people's banner. You will once again defeat their conspiracies. History has passed them by. This they must realise. It is ordained that there will be a change. The Pakistan of today is not the Pakistan for which the Muslims had struggled, made sacrifices, left their homes and hearths to come to the land of promise. This is not the Quaid-i-Azam's Pakistan. The Quaid had said to his people, "It will be your Pakistan. You will be the rulers. There will be truth and justice. There will be a constitutional government run by the people. The shackles which chain the poor and disinherited will disappear. Your problems will be solved. The Government will be accountable to you. It will be an Islamic Pakistan". This is what the Quaid-i-Azam had said.

My friends, it is nearly 25 years now. Where are the Assemblies? Where is the constitutional government? Where are the results of the elections held after a quarter of a century? A strong Pakistan can only be a people's Pakistan. What do you see today? Despair and despondency. No one is prepared to listen to the wails of the poor. Could anyone have imagined that Pakistan would be run like a bureaucrat's principality? The Quaid had said to the civil servants, "It is not your function to interfere in politics." What is happening today? We do not seek power for its own sake. Had I loved power, I would not have left Ayub's Government after Tashkent.

Why did all these politicians go scampering to Rawalpindi when Ayub summoned the Round Table Conference? We had led the movement against Ayub and we stayed away from that conspiracy against the people. They went because they thought they would get a share in the pie. They went to sell you out. This is their character. While they went to Rawalpindi, we stayed with the people. We refused to be traitors to your cause.

It is not a question of power. We only want to build the Pakistan of the Quaid-i-Azam's dreams. We want nothing more, nothing else. We are only concerned with the people and their happiness, their future, their place in the sun. If power means the mere occupation of the chair of office, then we reject power. We do not want it. After all, Ayub too had power for 10 lone years. What did that bring to the people? The entire system was wrong and anti-people. There could have been no progress. Finally, he betrayed the people at Tashkent. Where is he today? Therefore, we do not wish power for its own sake. We want power to go into the hands of people because that is permanent. That lasts. Individuals come and go. Only the verdict of history is final. I do not want this verdict to go against me. I do not want that after I am gone my son should live to face the shame of my betrayal of the people. I will stay and fight even if I have to lose my life.

Public meetings are not allowed. Isn't this strange? Are we Indian soldiers that our getting together should worry the Government? We belong to this country. After all, if the leaders are forbidden to meet the people, what will happen to the country? We are not allowed to speak. Our party news­paper, the only one, has been banned. What is our crime? Are we not the peoples elected representatives? I do not want to say unpleasant things but I have no option now. If some people do not like what I say, I leave the decision to you. You are my only judge. I said in Karachi, "Oh God! When will the long night of oppression end!" My brothers, let us get together to bring this night of terror to an end. I had said we do not want a government of Generals in this country. They got very annoyed at this. I ask you, what wrong did I do? If it is not a Generals' government whose Government is it? Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's?

Our President is a General. The Information Minister is a General. The Governors of Sind, Punjab, NWFP and Baluchistan are Generals. So, I ask you, what crime did I commit when I said this was a Generals' Govern­ment? I am not against the army. But is it the rank and file of the army which is ruling? All I say is that the Generals' Government should go. I respect the army as such and I pay them a tribute here for their professional services. As Minister I worked for the strengthening of our defence forces. But we want to change this system.

I told Yahya Khan in July that the Government was trying to do us down, to work against us. I told him we would not stand idly by, that we will do our duty to the people. I told him to do justice, to be fair, to decide if we were in the wrong, to decide if we had committed a crime. Everyone wants democracy. We want democracy. The Government wants democracy. Then what is the dispute? If we call for the implementation of the electoral verdict, what is wrong with that? I am a servant of the people and I will not commit political suicide.

What is happening today? The prospects of a people's Government are fast receding. First it was said that there was a crisis in East Pakistan, there­fore, power cannot be transferred. If the crisis was so bad why did they make a vague effort to associate public representatives of all sorts with the running of the Government there? What is the logic?

When I returned from East Pakistan on March 26,1 went to call on an important member of the Government in Karachi. I said to him, "It is a national crisis. The nation comes first; all else is secondary". I asked him what the Government's intentions were. I asked him if they wanted to prolong the crisis or shorten it. I said if they wanted the latter, they should listen to us. I warned him that if the crisis continued, Pakistan would come to an end". I asked him to state honestly if they were even interested in the revival of democracy. He assured me that they were interested in the revival of demo­cracy.

The President called a Secretaries' meeting in Rawalpindi in April and said that he would transfer power in June, no matter what. One of the Secretaries said to me, "You will make the new budget, the people's Govern­ment will make the new budget". I also sent one of my lieutenants to Yahya Khan and he told him the same thing. He said he would set the a date soon. The situation remains unchanged. The crisis continued, but the Government seems to have changed its mind. Now they have a non-military government in East Pakistan. It may not be representative, but it is a non-military government nevertheless. If they can have it there what prevents them from having it here? When we say that we will launch a movement, they speak of national solidarity. They wanted time. We gave them time. And then the President said he would frame the constitution himself and all the sycophants said it was most welcome. Well, we went to see the President on July 15 and said, "How can we accept it?" He replied, "Why not"? I said, "Because we are pledged to the people that they will frame the constitution. How will we face them? I had told Mujib that I was not prepared to sign on the dotted line. How can I sign on your constitution?"

Discussions were spread over a period of three months. All parties except ours have accepted what Yahya said. Then came the announcement that amendments could only be brought about within a period of 90 days. I reacted on September 29. My last meeting with the President took place on September 18.1 told him that he had gone back on his word. His advisers tell him that Bhutto is making trouble. I told the President that his advisers were misleading him. I told him they were like cobras. And you must have read in the papers that they found cobras in the President's House, Karachi! I told the President that his advisers were working against the national interest. I, therefore, implore the people to decide who is in the wrong.

Let me give you another example. On 18th September, we had satisfactory discussions with the President. But what happened then? Did I do any wrong or is it the Government which is to blame? I was with him when the Chief Election Commissioner telephoned him on and the President told him, "No, no! Elections will be held according to schedule. You announce the date. A lot of time has been wasted". I was happy to hear this but the next day, Mr. Nurul Amin issued a statement saying that by-elections should not be held. Did the Chief Election Commissioner not know that Mr. Nurul Amin would object? Is this official unaware of what is happening in his country? Did he not know that the month of Ramzan was due or that floods were expected in East Pakistan? Do our people suspend all our activity during Ramzan? Could they not vote during this holy month? I ask the President to decide who is playing foul. Nobody listens to us. Well, we want a people's govern­ment in January next year, no matter what happens.

They have appointed Ministers in East Pakistan. What parties do they belong to? Are they elected? All parties have been represented but the majority party has been ignored. We do not want to be associated with an unrepresen­tative government but democratic practice demanded that we should have been at least asked. My party is committed to the solidarity of Pakistan. Could we not join the Government? It is said that we are not popular in East Pakistan. If our popularity is less there, this Government's popularity is much lesser than ours.

The Government had said that Ministers would not be allowed to fight elections. Why was this policy changed in East Pakistan? What has happened since 18th September? Why have elections been put off? The "razakars" are working against us in East Pakistan. What are the options open to us? We are true to our commitments. We will not betray the people. I am told the President is going to make another announcement on 12th October. Well, we are waiting. But, also, he is leaving for Iran on 13th. Perhaps, he will announce the convening of the Assembly before he leaves and, on return, announce that it cannot be held. He may tell us that since the Indian troops are concentrated on our borders, democracy cannot return. Well, if there is a threat of war, our forces can face it. If there is going to be a war, it is still the people's right to demand that power be transferred.

Every war is fought on a political level. You know what the condition of the people in East Pakistan is today. If the people of Pakistan are not with the Government how will it face the enemy successfully. The people are the greatest power. They are talking of a total war. If it is going to be a total war, then the people cannot be ignored. Who are the people going to follow? We are their representatives. We need time to consolidate the country, at least six months. We can do nothing now. Our Foreign Secretary goes to Moscow, meets Mr. Gromyko but is not even allowed to enter the Kremlin. When the President returned from his visit to Moscow, our party weekly wrote about it and he was very annoyed. Were we wrong? It is the same Soviet Union, the same Pakistan. I was once the Foreign Minister. What has gone wrong now? I tell you this Government does not understand any of these things, not to speak of foreign affairs. If the people's government is not inducted into office immediately, there will be a deluge. Nobody will be then able to stop it.

We have had our say on the constitution but one of the defeated politi­cians who called upon Yahya Khan the other day came out and said that he had been assured by the President that he will make a truly Islamic constitu­tion. "We are completely satisfied and we will fully co-operate with the President", he declared. Then he told his three and a half workers to move out into the country and fight disruptionists. Well, we have never claimed to be experts on Islam. We are Muslims. We are not theologians. They know religion as we know politics. When they declare that Yahya's constitution will be Islamic, I tell them to keep out of things they know nothing about. Their testimonials will help no one. Let the constitution come and let everyone see how Islamic it is. The man who is drafting it is not a Muslim. The politic­ian who says it will be an Islamic constitution has not even seen it. He just spent 40 minutes with the President.

So, they are going to confront us. Who are they? We defeated them at the polls. What have they got to confront us with? Why are they trying to mislead the President? Why do they tell him that they will confront and fight Bhutto? I say to the President, "Don't be taken for a ride. These people are hollow."

The Generals' Government will try to weaken our party in two ways. One, they will set up a joint political front of rightist parties against us. Two, they will try to spread dissension in our ranks. Money is being passed around. I have evidence. I showed it to Yahya. The intelligence agencies, the I.B. and the National Security people are involved in it. Do you know what Yahya told me? He said, "They are spending secret funds. How can I ask them where they spend them? This was a strange reply. Supposing, they start using these secret funds against Yahya tomorrow. What will he do? He won't even know. These funds belong to the Government. Investigations can be made if they are being misused. Let them try to buy over Members of the Assembly. The people are with me. We know what is going on. We too have money. It ran our intelligence service. We know which of the Muslim Leagues received into Rs. 1.2 million. If we have to perish, we will go down fighting. We will not permit these leeches to suck the people's blood. This is my promise

 

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