A Long March for People's Rights
Speech at a Public Meeting,
Abbottabad, April 19, 1970

As you all know God Almighty sent 124,000 prophets to the people of the world till such time that religion was completely revealed. During that period, there could be a danger to religion. We believe that with the appea­rance of the Last of the Prophets (peace be upon him) the revelation of religion was complete. Had there been any danger to Islam, Mohammad (peace be upon him) would not have been the Last of the Prophets. We can safely conclude that there is no danger to Islam at all. That is the one reason why no more prophets will be sent to the world. This is an article of faith with us because our religion is a complete code of life and God Himself is its protector.

Leaving aside the religious aspect of this question, I wish to call upon you to use your common sense. May I ask you a simple question? How many of you living in this country feel any danger to their faith? If Islam had been in danger, you would have palpably felt it. You are living in Pakistan. There is nobody in this country to preach anything against religion. Nobody comes to your homes to prevent you from offering your prayers. Nobody has ever asked you not to have faith in God Almighty or not to recite the Holy Quran. None has preached against performing Haj. There is no such party in Pakistan. When the fire is kindled, the sparks are visible. If there is flood, the water can be seen all around. If a storm is blowing, it can be seen. Because you do not feel any danger to Islam, it is proved that there is no danger to Islam. In fact, there can be no danger to Islam in Pakistan because it is a Muslim country. There are no enemies of Islam in Pakistan.

When the Quaid-i-Azam was struggling for Pakistan, when blood was being spilled and when people were making sacrifices for the cause of Pakistan, these so-called defenders of Islam were not in the ranks with Quaid-i-Azam. The nation was passing through a critical phase and the Hindus and the British had joined hands in a big conspiracy against the establishment of Pakistan. Our enemies were siding with Nehru. Patel and Gandhi. When we took on our enemies, these people advised us against the establishment of Pakistan. At that time, they dubbed the Quaid-i-Azam as a great infidel. During our struggle against the enemies of Islam, these people were against the Pakistan movement. What right do they have now to tell us that Islam is in danger in Pakistan? No, none at all! Islam is not in danger in the present circumstances. It is the capitalist system which is in danger.

We declare that democracy is our polity. There are two types of political systems, the democratic and the dictatorial. You have struggled against a dictatorship and defeated it. Dictatorship is one man's rule. It is not a people's government. That is why you were opposed to it. We were with you during this struggle. That is why our second principle is that demo­cracy is our polity.

In so far as our third principle is concerned, it relates to the economic. problems of the people. This, in fact, is the basic problem. This problem concerns you and in order to solve it, we demand Islamic equality. Equality is one of the basic principles of our religion. The English term for musawat is 'socialism' We do not want to fight on the question of terminology. How­ever, I am not the first one to commit the crime of using this term. It was the Quaid-i-Azam who first used it. You can consult the relevant books. You will find that the Quaid-i-Azam declared that Islamic Socialism would be established in Pakistan. Later this was repeated by Quaid-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan as well. I want to make it clear to my Pakistani brothers that so long as the solution to your poverty is not found, this country can never progress. There has been no progress during the last 23 years. The reason is that the capitalists ruled the country. Just as dictatorship is hateful in poli­tics, similarly capitalism is hateful in economics. If democracy is not opposed to Islam, equality too is not against Islam. Everybody knows that there is no parliamentary system in Islam. But Islam is based on equality. Why do cur opponents ignore this? Whose cause do they serve?

The People's Party is your party. You have formed this party. We are with you. We have never cheated you. When I first appeared on the scene I had promised you an independent foreign policy. The previous policy, form­ulated by the imperialists and followed for 12 years was detrimental to the national interest. This policy was against the integrity and sovereignty of the country. Pakistan became the laughing stock of the world. Even small coun­tries of the world made fun of us. When I assumed office as Foreign Minister, I said that the foreign policy of the imperialists was totally wrong and I promised that we would formulate an independent foreign policy.

We established good relations with the countries we had ignored. Our relations with Afghanistan were very strained. We did not have good relations with Russia and not much contact with China. When I went to Russia in the capacity of Minister for Natural Resources, I concluded an agreement there which initiated a phase of good relations with that big power. Later, we developed the best of relations with China. When we fought a war against India, countries from Algeria to Jordan supported Pakistan. We did not have an Islamic Secretariat at that time! Recently, when the question of establishing an Islamic Secretariat was raised, many Arab countries refused to have anything to do with it. During our war with India. Shastri himself declared that India had been isolated. All these changes took place when I was Foreign Minister. My foreign policy was the people's foreign policy. During the war with India, I spoke in the Security Council and declared firmly that we shall fight India resolutely. It was at this meet­ing that Swaran Singh left the Security Council. I had said that we were not afraid of India because we were fighting for a just cause. Ayub Khan was afraid of India. He used to take out a map and show to us the size 01 India. He used to point out that India was a big country and had a large population and immense resources. I used to tell him, "Ayub Khan Sahib, please roll up this map. We will fight India."

During my short political life, this was my first promise which was fulfilled. May I ask the Islam exploiters, whose careers range from thirty to forty years, what have they done for this country? What services have they rendered to Pakistan that they have the courage to offer themselves again for public office? They should stay at home and take some rest now. There is a right time for everything, for marriage, for life and death. Similarly, there is an age which is right for politics. Their watches stopped in 1950. Ever since they have been taking them to the watchmaker for repairs, but they have failed to make them tick.

The Peoples Party is important not because I founded it, but because it is your party and always reflects your opinion and demands. It will never betray the people. I fulfilled the first promise by giving the country a new foreign policy. The second promise fulfilled was to confront India, and stop its aggression. My third promise was to launch a campaign against dictator­ship. We were ready to make all sacrifices. We were prepared to go to jails and to do anything needed for the overthrow of the dictator. We formed a revolutionary party and launched a campaign against the dictator. Now, all other parties are claiming that they started the campaign against Ayub Khan.

They never launched any struggle against Ayub Khan. How could they do it? They were all afraid of him and trembled at the very mention of his name. They accuse me of siding with Ayub Khan. Of course, I was with Ayub Khan when the people accepted him and when he had promised that be would work for the progress and prosperity of the country. When he betrayed the people, I left him.

These parties never struggled against Ayub Khan. My dear brothers and sisters, you have to decide this. When Ayub Khan had been toppled, these people came out and started claiming that they had done this and done that. I say that the last blow to dictatorship was delivered by the people. Until the people rose against him, workers left the mills, the peasants their fields and the students their studies, the dictator could not be defeated. The sur­prising thing is that supporters of Six Points also went to see him. I think that it was the first time in history that a people defeated a dictatorship. It was possible because we sided with you during this struggle. We did not ask you to go and fight and spill your blood while we watched the outcome of the struggle. We were with you in all the phases of the struggle. I had to go to jail and to suffer imprisonment in the Mianwali and the Sahiwal jails. You were my strength at that time. Now our promise is that we shall uproot this corrupt system which has promoted poverty and deprivation in the country. We shall bring this system to an end and establish people's rule.

I am very well aware of the fact that this is going to be an arduor, struggle. A lot of sacrifices will be required to secure the people's rights. We need a long march. When I say that we would undertake a long march I am dubbed as a communist. I say that the first long march in history was undertaken by Imam Hussain.

My dear brothers, please remember that it is going to be a hard struggle, but we are bound to succeed. You have learnt a lot during 23 years of inde­pendence. You have never enjoyed any benefit from this independence. Other countries have progressed and prosperity prevails in them after independence. Why is the situation in Pakistan different from that? In Pakistan, it is not animals but human beings who live here. This is not a slave country. Why should poverty and hunger keep on spreading in this country? This certainly is not God's will. It is because of the wrong capitalist system. A patient needs the right type of medicine for treatment. If the wrong medicine is given the malady will not be cured. The stooges of the imperialists can clearly visualise the danger ahead. This system increases the prosperity of the capitalists who go on establishing one mill after another. Their mills are increasing in number every day. We are not afraid of them. We have to establish only one mill and that is the mill of Pakistan.

That mill will be established. It will be established in accordance with the dream of the Quaid-i-Azam and all those who supported the Pakistan movement. The people who tell us that the Pakistan ideology is in danger, are themselves in danger. The problems of the people have to be given full attention. The common man's miseries have to be ended. We are not afraid of sacrifices. I do not understand why they are afraid of our speeches. We are not afraid of their speeches. They may deliver speeches anywhere. We talk about the people's problems and suggest measures for their solution. It is because we belong to the people. If I had spoken at Sanghar, it would not have resulted in a revolution. But they are afraid of my speeches because I am your voice, the people's voice.

Our party stands for three principles. We shall always side with you. We shall never betray you. We shall fight for the promises that we have made. We have given you our programme. Our very first principle is that Islam is our religion. This is the most important principle. We are proud of the fact that we are Muslims. We shall wage a 'jihad' for the cause of Islam, not only in Pakistan but anywhere in the world, if required. Our holy war will also be against poverty.

We say that if you want to serve the ideology of Pakistan, do not pay mere lip-service to it. The ideology of Pakistan means that the Muslims of Pakistan should do their duty to Muslims who are in trouble anywhere in the world. If Muslim blood is being mercilessly shed in India, you cannot just wring your hands. If atrocities are being committed on the Muslims in the Middle East, you will have to do something about it. If the People's Party had been in power and if there had been a people's government in Pakistan, it would not have allowed India to get away with the killing of Muslims in Ahmedabad.

I call upon the Government's stooges not to take undue advantage of the situation and exploit the oppressed people of Pakistan. This Government is temporary. I want to inform them that a strong people's government will be established in Pakistan and it will call them to account. The ideology of Pakistan is that the Muslims of Pakistan should progress and the Muslims of the world should be helped whenever they need help. It is ironic that the persons who had opposed Pakistan are trying to teach us the ideology of Pakistan. The truth is that we are all imbued with the spirit of Islam. If we did not have the prestige of Islam dear to our hearts, we would not have declared that we would fight for a thousand years. How can a Muslim be against Islam? This is a baseless accusation which does not make any sense. It Islam were in danger, the people of Pakistan would have felt it. Gentlemen, do you feel that Islam is in danger? These people have some cheek telling us that Islam is in danger. When the enemies of Islam were trying to weaken the Muslims, these persons were siding with them. They were siding with the people who called the Quaid-i-Azam, "Quaid-i-Kufr." They are not only opposed to us; they were opposed to the Quaid-i-Azam too. They also issued edicts against Allama Iqbal. They do not issue edicts against bribery and exploitation. We respect the 'ulema' who are true religious leaders, but when they interefere in politics and sing their discordant tunes, we cannot accept them. They did not spare the Quaid-i-Azam. Those who called the Quaid-i-Azam a "kafir", are themselves the greatest of infidels.

Our second principle is that democracy is our polity. As I have explained politics is of two types, the politics of democracy and the politics of dictatorship. Dictatorship means one man's rule against the people, while in a democracy the people form the government through general elections. We believe in democracy. Economic systems are also of two types: the capitalistic system and the system of equality. We believe in equality. We are opposed to capitalism just as we are opposed to dictatorship. Our religion stands for equality. Islam was the first religion to give a message of equality for every­one. That is why we want that Islamic equality should be established. Poverty and hunger cannot be stamped out without adopting the principles of equality.

I spoke about Tashkent in Lahore on 8 March. I quoted from certain books. During my recent tour, I had been told not to say anything more than what the Government had already made public. It was with this in view that I read out from the books but even this was criticised. I have nothing to add to what I have already said in Lahore. Whatever I can add can come when a people's government has been established in Pakistan. Presently, you should ask Ayub Khan. This question can be put to me when a government is established in Pakistan which openly discards and tears up the Tashkent Declaration, but if messages continue to be exchanged on the anniversary of the Tashkent Declaration, I cannot divulge anything. When the people resolve to launch a campaign against the Tashkent Declaration, I shall lead this campaign and point out the blunders committed in this Declaration. I have done my duty in Lahore and it was not possible for me to say much and explain how hard I tried to avert this Declaration. Even an Indian author has written that I tried to prevent this Declaration while they were very happy about it. I can only say that this Declaration is against the interests of Pakistan.

Gentlemen, I have explained to you that Islamic equality is called socialism. Our opponents say that it is against Islam. I say that equality is not against Islam. Some of the 'ulema' have declared that there is no equality in Islam, but there is justice in Islam. Even if we accept their stand, may we ask what justice demands? Justice demands equality. If the people are denied two square meals a day, if there is poverty and hunger, if the children are deprived of education, then it is not justice. It is equality which is in keeping with justice. Socialism is an English word and our friends are allergic to this English word. This struggle is against exploitation and capitalism. We do not want that the system of oppression should continue. This is the message of socialism or equality. The Quaid-i-Azam himself used this word. If you do not like the English word 'socialism', we can substitute it with Islami Musawat. When Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan called for Islamic Socialism, why did they not declare that Islam was a complete code of life and that socialism was not needed? I accept that Islam is a complete code of life, but then why do they keep on repeating the demand for the 1956 Constitution? The Quran is our constitution. Why talk about any other constitution?

The parliamentary system is not mentioned in the Holy Quran. No verse of the Holy Quran or a saying of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) mentions the parliamentary system. Is it Islamic or not? This system was formulated by the British who ruled this country and who were our enemies. When it comes to a question of equal distribution of wealth and the eradication of poverty, our opponents declare it to be against Islam. If there is no Islamic Socialism in Islam, then there is no Islamic demo­cracy either. If they want Islamic democracy, then Islamic Socialism is also needed. If the politics is to be that of the people, the economic system should also be of the people. The condition of the Muslims is deteriorat­ing every day. If they want to serve Islam, they should serve the Muslims. They should enable the Muslims to get education. There should be hospitals for them. They should be provided with clothing and shelter. The majority of the Muslims is becoming poorer every day while these leaders keep on repeating that Islam is in danger. This is no service to Islam. Service to Islam lies in service to the Muslims. That is Islamic Socialism. Our opponents cannot accuse us of cheating the people or of committing excesses. We cannot be charged with exploiting the people or for having misled them. That is the reason for this propaganda that we are endangering Islam. Islam cannot be in danger because it is an eternal religion.

We may have to launch a long struggle and offer innumerable sacrifices, but the people's rule will be established and we are bound to triumph.

 

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