ZAB: Peoples are real masters

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto struggled to make Pakistan a great country of the world.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was true leader of people of Pakistan. The people always remained the central and social point of his politics and internal, external policies. He was given the title of Quaid-i-Awan for his love with the people. He is remembered as a martyr of people and Pakistan. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in his speeches and statements as prime minister of Pakistan and chairman PPP paid rich tributes to the people of Pakistan. In his inaugural address on the occasion of commissioning of permanent TV centre at Lahore Bhutto talked about his vision of Pakistan and destiny of its people.

I have a vision that one day the fields in our countryside will blossom with abundance. The rolling fields and orchards and village squares will ring with the songs of happy children, children with the colour of blood in their cheeks and with books held proudly under their arms. In the streets of our great cities, we will no more have to live with the shame of children in rags, with sunken eyes and hollow cheeks, children debasing their parents and their society by begging, to keep themselves warm and fed. I have a vision that this day will come.

The day will come when the 60 million people of Pakistan will no longer be as beggars in the streets of the world. They will work within a system which gives to each because of his rights as a human being and not because of the circumstances of his birth. They will be strong in their faith which brought them together in one nation. They will be proud of their identity, and confident in their ability and strength to shake the foundations of ignorance, poverty and disease. With their own endeavours, our people will redirect the flow of history.

We will build a society in which the old values of greed and self-advancement will be replaced by a common concern for the welfare of the whole community. We will build our monuments to our contemporary civilisation. Institutions of learning, factories and dams, atomic reactors and television centres ‘these will be our Taj Mahals of the 20th century.

I have a vision that this day will come, and I have a programme whereby this day will come soon. For my part, the programme consists of ensuring that the economic, constitutional, social and administrative conditions are created within which human endeavour has the opportunity to be transformed into productive and creative endeavour. My part, my government’s role, is to provide secure, unshakable foundations for the building of a prosperous future. But the nation-builders will still have to be made by people themselves. Too long have we lived with the fatalistic and superstitious belief that prosperity is a butterfly which one day will come to rest of its own accord in our immobile laps. These attitudes are the attitudes of people who live in a state of despair. I say to you that, inspite of the ordeal and the trauma through which our people have lived in the recent past, today there is no call for Pakistanis to exist in despair. The dangers to our identity and to our progress no doubt continue to surround us on all sides and from within. But this nation has endured in these last 12 months. I say to you that, if you so decide, this nation will endure also for the next 12 centuries and more.

The day will come when the 60 million people of Pakistan will no longer be as beggars in the streets of the world. They will work within a system which gives to each because of his rights as a human being and not because of the circumstances of his birth.
Therefore, I have a vision in which I want my fellow countrymen to share, so that when each one of us is asked the question, he may say: We have a vision.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto struggled to make Pakistan a great country of the world. He narrated his objective in the following words:

The role objective of his struggle and the struggle of his party was to serve the common man, the peasants, the labourers, workers, in fact all sections of society, with utmost selflessness and sincerity and to enhance the prestige of the country. [Z.A. Bhutto’s Speeches & Statements: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, p.277]

About his slogan roti, kapra aur makan, Bhutto said, ‘This slogan represents our ethics in terms of the socio-economic conditions of our country and our past history. I did not say that I would whistle and clothes would fall from heaven, that I would sing a song and houses would be built or food provided. I told the people that they would have to work hard and struggle very hard to increase production. We would change the direction of our planning from building palaces and sky-scrapers and from non-essentials to the basic priorities of the people.

There are to try and build houses for them, increase the production of food and improve the production of clothing. Now this is the philosophy of the slogan of roti, kapra and makan. [Z.A. Bhutto’s Speeches & Statements, vol-II, p.121, Ministry of Information]

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto believed that social justice can give people a bigger stake in the socio-economic system. There is no alternative to standing committed to the people who are real masters of Pakistan and supreme judges of their representatives.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto explained his views about Pakistan, people and prosperity in the following words:I have to communicate to you tonight a most important decision taken by your Government. The decision is meant to transform the hub of our national economy. It flows from that commitment which is supreme and everlasting in my heart and mind. This is the welfare, the happiness and the progress of the people of Pakistan. I believe that no object can be dearer than to reduce, and eventually to eliminate, the operation of all those forces which stunt our society’s growth, cripple its energies and condemn the vast majority of our population to utter helplessness. I consider no fulfillment more gratifying than to pave the way for an upstanding, productive, vibrant future generation. I have said repeatedly that Pakistan’s strength lies in the strength of its people. If the people, the farmer bent with his toil and the nameless man in the street, are not strong, if they are caught in the vice tightened around them by the hoarder and the speculator, the racketeer and the smuggler, then the country’s strength can only be fragile, its morale low and its spirit enfeebled.

Our national economy, as you know, is primarily agrarian. One of the first campaigns which your government, therefore, launched was that of land reforms. This was an assault on feudal power. We limited the size of land holdings and redistributed the land in excess of that size to its tenants. In an area like Balochistan, we first ended the pernicious practice of shishak and then we went ahead and liquidated the Sardari system with all its tentacles and attendant evils which had been entrenched for centuries. We exempted small landowners from the payment of land revenue.

We assured the farmer of minimum support prices for wheat. We established corporations for the export of rice and cotton in an endeavour to secure remunerative prices for these commodities in a volatile international economy. We initiated schemes for fighting the menace of water logging and salinity. We devoted a substantial portion of our resources to subsidizing the inputs of agriculture. We arranged the supply of tractors. We reduced the price of fertilizer. We provided subsidies for the sinking of tubewells. We are doing our utmost to improve the quality of seed and to extend the coverage of plant protection measures. All this effort is aimed at enhancing the productivity of our agriculture and rationalising our rural economy.

But, after all this sweat and expense, after all the multiplicity of arrangements that had to be made in pursuance of these plans, we found that the end product of agriculture was still beyond social control. Why? What is the element that has so far eluded your government’s grasp and blocked the percolation of these benefits to the small agriculturist? Who defrauds both the farmer, on the one side, and the consumer of agricultural products, on the other? Who manipulates the agricultural market? Who steals from the urban consumer the advantages of substantial government subsidies for the provisioning of wheat? What is the barrier in the way of managing our agriculture as it should be managed in this day and age?

This element, this insidious all-pervasive force, is that of the middle man, be he a cotton ginner or a paddy husker. For generations, the middleman in agriculture has sucked the farmer’s blood and kept the consumer, whether an individual or an industry, at his mercy. He has artificially reduced the price of commodities like seed cotton and paddy, which the farmer delivers to him, and raised the price of lint, cotton seed and rice, which he supplies to the consumer. He has evaded or obstructed all our measures to secure fair rewards for the farmer’s labour. He has done so by the variety of means which are at the disposal of those who have not a trace of social conscience. He exploits the farmer’s economic weakness and he takes advantage of the glut in the market at the time of the harvest to deny him a fair price. He hoards stocks in anticipation of higher prices and an undeserved profit. He underweighs the commodity delivered to him, mixes one variety with another, forms a league with the smuggler and establishes a black market. [ZAB Address to the Nation, July 17, 1976]

By: Qayyum Nizami

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