The Incident at Sanghar
Public Speech at Gabole Park, Karachi,
April 12, 1970

I was looking forward to this opportunity to visit the poor and down­trodden area of Lyari and speak here about local and national problems. The Pakistan People's Party is your own party. You have formed it and it is the duty of the party to serve your cause and to bring prosperity not only to Lyari but to the whole country. I spoke in Gabole Park in 1964 when I was a Minister. It was a very small meeting. I am an ordinary citizen now but today the gathering is mammoth. I am an ordinary person who wants to serve you. I do not want to become a strong man or self-conceited or intolerant.

We want to build Pakistan. We do not want to destroy anything use­ful. We want to launch a movement for constructive work. We want to coerce no one. Instead, we want to win your hearts through love and service. What­ever the conspiracies against us, whatever the plans against us, we are not going to be scared off. We are with the people, shall continue to be with the people at every stage, through every trial. My dear friends, please remember that there is a Sanghar in Lyari today. In fact, the whole of Pakistan has been turned into a Sanghar. Whatever plans our opponents may make against us and whatever the number of murder threats or murder attempts, we shall continue to fight them with the help of the people. This is my solemn promise to you.

You must have come to know through the newspapers what happened at Sanghar. This was not the first incident of its kind. There was a regular battle in Sanghar with guns and rifles. Our opponents were occupying bunkers and were sitting in trees with their rifles. The attack was carried out at about noon. The Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of police of the district never informed us about this conspiracy. They must have had knowledge of the fact that people in large numbers, armed with rifles were coming from far off places since the night before to ambush us. The arches erected for our reception were hacked down with hatchets. Our people reported the matter to the police at 2 a.m. and complained against excesses. The Superintendent of Police told them to come later in the morning. Our workers again went to the Superintendent of Police after a hours and told him that people in large numbers were coming into town they were afraid there might be bloodshed.

We were at that time in Shahdadpur which is eleven miles away. We left Shahdadpur at 10.30 a.m. in a procession. When we reached a place miles from Sanghar the district officials came to us and requested us to go to the Rest House before holding our meeting. They said they wanted to make some arrangements in the meanwhile. We accepted their request to go to the Rest House. I must make it clear that the route we were on also led to the House. The Deputy Commissioner asked us to stay outside the city. On outskirts of Sanghar the pickets set up by our opponents were stronger. We had in fact been surrounded. There was no question of our halting.

Now we could not have gone to the Rest House because we were rounded from all sides. Later, we learnt that even the Rest House had surrounded. Then they opened up. My friends and colleagues saved me. Government later told the Press that Bhutto had been requested to on his way to Sanghar but he did not. I say this is a white lie. How could we nave stopped on our way to Sanghar? We could not have gone to Rest House either, because it too was surrounded. Why did they want us to go to the Rest House? When we moved towards the Rest House a hail of bullets was fired at me. I was in a motor car but I came out because I wanted to face death bravely. I started walking forward and told my opponents that 1 I was standing before them and that they need not fire on my friends colleagues. I was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and they could shoot me. Then started firing again. My friends fell upon me and I had a very narrow escape

The Press has reported that the firing took place after I had left Sanghar. This is absolutely wrong. This is a lie. Now we are being asked to prove was responsible for the firing. On the one hand, they are issuing absolutely baseless press notes alleging that I was escorted to a jeep. I never sat in a jeep. My friends put me in a Dodge but that car was also fired upon and a bullet missed me by inches. Many bullets hit the car in which I was sitting. The press notes are false. In spite of this they want us to co-operate with the enquiry committee. We had demanded that the enquiry should be absolutely and should be conducted by a judge of the High Court. How can the executive enquire into the misdeeds of the executive? That is why the working committee of the People's Party had demanded that the enquiry should be conducted by a high court judge. The present government is not impartial. The speeches of people backed by the Government are being widely covered. but my statements are blacked out by the press. When I held a press confe­rence in Karachi an order was given that it should not be covered on tele­vision. May I ask who gave this order? This is not impartiality. I repeat that this government is not impartial.

I know many people since the time I was a Minister. General Yahya has now been elevated to a very high position. The General said in Rawalpindi on 31st March at a press conference that he has four caps, that of Head of the State, Chief Martial Law Administrator, Supreme Commander and Commander-in-Chief. Yahya Sahib, may Cod bless you with a fifth cap too. Mr. President, the whole nation is bareheaded and you are playing with four caps. Why is this system of exploitation being perpetuated? Why are these injustices being done?

The President should -take into consideration the fact that none of these four caps have been given to him by the people. It was the people who launched a movement and faced a dictator. That dictator was much stronger than Yahya Khan, He had come in to power eleven years ago when there was much less political consciousness in the country. The parliamentary system had failed for reasons that are well known. The politicians had no following. Ayub Khan had long conspired to usurp power. Then he intro­duced the Basic Democracies system and strengthened his position through 80.000 hand-picked Basic Democrats. He enforced an undemocratic consti­tution but it was a constitution. He also had the support of a party, whatever its worth. He had huge amounts of money at his disposal. He had to control only two provinces which was comparatively easier through two governors. He was supported by the army. the police and the bureaucracy. In spite of this when the people launched a movement, the dictator was brought down. This is a great achievement which should never be forgotten by the present rulers or by those who may come in to power tomorrow.

I am saying it in good faith that the lessons of history should not be forgotten. Don't forget that Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini are no more but the people of Germany, Russia and Italy are very much there. Similarly, the people of Pakistan will always be there. This is no accident but a principle of history based on truth.

My party believes that it will win over the people by serving them honestly. I know President Yahya Khan and understand his decisions. I had a meeting with him on the 11th in Karachi in which he assured me of his impartiality. But I want to point out that his government is not impartial. One of his ministers is a representative of the rightist Jamaat-e-Islami. How can this government he impartial?

Recently an Islamic Conference was held at Jeddah in order to establish an Islamic Secretariat of the Islamic countries. You have seen that Egypt, the Sudan, Libya and Algeria did not participate in this conference. Turkey also abstained from joining the Secretariat. I am told that Iran also opposed it. This means that the Muslim world has been divided but our minister declared on arrival in Pakistan that the conference was a great success.

If this conference has been successful it simply means that its purpose was to create a division among Muslim states. You will recall that not long ago as Foreign Minister of Pakistan I attended many international conferences. You will recall the Casablanca Conference. You will also recall that during the 1965 war with India the entire Muslim world suppor­ted us. It included Algeria, Libya, the Sudan, Iran and Turkey. We can again secure their support but it requires a lot of political insight which is a rare thing. International politics is a very intricate game and very tactful handling of international relations is required to gain that support.

I was telling you about President Yahya Khan's claim that he is impartial and our view that his government is not. He has repeated his promise, in his speech on 28th March, that his government will remain impartial. I want to point out to the President that the Government must show impartiality in practice. The members of his government should not be allowed to make objectionable speeches. The plain truth is that the representatives of Jamaat-e-Islami are present in the Government. How can this government be impartial? It has been further proved by the Sanghar incident that the Government is not impartial. I must declare, however, that we shall remain in the political field irrespective of the fact whether the Government is impartial or not. We are bound to win, however intense the opposition by Ministers who are partial. Victory will be ours because the people arc with us.

My dear friends, please remember that there can be no acceptable decision without the people's support. Whether the elections are held or not, whether the constitution is framed or not, the people's verdict on the consti­tutional, political and economic matters is what matters. The Pakistan People's Party is the party of the masses. It is your party and it represents your feelings. There is no difference between you and roe. My voice is your voice. When I say that no constitutional or political questions can be solved without the agreement of the Pakistan People's Party, I only represent your feelings. The people of Pakistan from Karachi to Khyber support the Pakistan People's Party because this party belongs to the common man. The success of this party means the success of the common man If one Bhutto is assassinated, a thousand Bhuttos will arise. If I am killed, the people of Pakistan will carry on this democratic struggle.

My dear brothers, please remember that the solution to our problems lies in hard work. There is no short cut to it. Every government which has come to power has tried to make us believe that they would find an easy solution. There have been innumerable schemes and plans to unify the people but none has been successful. The fact remains that it is a very difficult task. We have selected for ourselves a path which is full of difficulties but that is the only way to solve our problems. You can see the situation prevailing in Pakistan. You had struggled for freedom but your difficulties are increasing every day. Here in Lyari drinking water is not available. There are no play­grounds. The lease question had not been decided although Ayub Khan had promised during his election campaign to grant permanently leases to the residents, of Lyari. Six years have elapsed since that promise but you have not been granted leases in spite of many resolutions and meetings. It was done only yesterday because I was to deliver a speech here today.

I had announced on the 3rd that I shall speak to my brothers and sisters in Lyari on the 12th. As a result of this announcement you were granted this lease after six years. It was done not because of me but because of your power. I do not see any difference between my power and yours. A football match is being played in Lyari today so that the people should go to see that match and not come to my meeting. I say if they have to play football let them play against us. If they want to play cricket we are prepared to play cricket with them. We are already facing them in the political field.

We talk of the people's problems. Ours is a revolutionary party. It is our solemn promise to the poor and oppressed people of Lyari that if the Pakistan People's Party comes to power we shall change the face of this locality. These are no false promises. These are no mere election stunts. These are my promises as a Muslim and a Pakistani. You will recall that I had promised to give you a free foreign policy. I fulfilled that promise. I promised you that we would defeat dictatorship and remove Ayub Khan. With your co-operation, we toppled Ayub Khan. Now it is my promise to you that we shall, Insha Allah, change economic conditions and root out poverty and misery from the country.

My dear friends, many people say that this cannot be done. I say that if this can be done throughout the world why can't it be done in Pakistan? Leaving aside big powers, you have only to look at our neighbouring coun­tries. You will realise that they have made tremendous progress. We do want the constitution to be framed because it is the fundamental law. We do not regard the constitution as sacred. You cannot eat the constitution if you are hungry. The constitution cannot provide you daily bread and shelter. There is no difference so far as the question of constitution is concerned. We shall make every effort and work day and night to frame a constitution within 120 days. With that object in view we shall participate in the elections, provided the people permit us to do so.

I had said that we shall take action against some people; of course, we shall fix the corrupt officials, the imperialists, the blood suckers, those who want to sell Kashmir, those who want to separate East and West Pakistan, those enemies of the country who betrayed the people of Lyari. If I die, you will fix them on my behalf.

The President's Legal Framework Order is said to be based on five principles: Islamic ideology, integrity of Pakistan democracy, provincial auto­nomy and progress. But that is not the end of the matter. They will have to be discussed, defined and demarcated. There has to be agreement on the quantum of provincial autonomy, and on how to decide whether a proposed measure is against Pakistan's integrity or Islamic principles. The elections will be contested by several parties with diverse programmes. The Legal Frame­work Order is a new starting point. Let us hope that the electoral race will be impartially supervised and that the same set of rules will apply to all. The constitution will be framed by the representatives of 120 million people. If the principle of democracy is included among the principles of the L.F.O., the decision of these representatives should be final. It will be against the spirit of democracy if the President has the power to reject the decision of the people's representatives.

 

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