PAKISTAN PEOPLE'S PARTY WILL STRIVE FOR
VIABLE CONSTITUTION

 

NO DEAD LOCK IN TALKS

 

Mr. Z. A. Bhutto's statement in Dacca on January 30, 1971, at the conclusion of
his three days talks with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

 

Mr. Z. A. Bhutto, Chairman of the Pakistan People's Party, said here today that within national unity he and his party would go as far as possible to find a permanent formula for framing a viable and acceptable Constitution.

 

Mr. Bhutto, who yesterday concluded three-day talks with Awami League Chief Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, told a Press Conference that he had come here to find the areas of agreement and search for common factors and try to rekindle the spirit of fraternity understanding and co-operation.

 

Mr. Bhutto said: "We have genuine difficulties, and we need time at least up to the end of February to make a comment on it."

 

He, however, said that he was neither satisfied with the talks with Sheikh Mujib nor were these talks a failure. "The dialogue should continue," he added "There was no deadlock in our talks," he said.

 

He said: "We understood each other's viewpoints and we would have to explain our viewpoints to our people and their representatives before we meet next time. The task was a challenging one and we will have to resolve many of our problems-a legacy of the past 23 years."

 

" How can you expect us to solve the problems of 23 years in three days T" he asked.

 

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He could see a danger signal ahead for the nation, he said and added that he was in favour of dialogue and negotiation for overcoming what he described as "a national stake".

 

He said: "When necessary I will come to East Pakistan to continue such discussion with the leaders of the Awami League."

 

Mr. Bhutto analysed point by point the Six-Point Programme of the Awami League and the 11-point programme of the student community of the province.

 

Constitution should be based on consensus

 

Taking both the programmes together, he announced his acceptance for 12 of these 17 points--excluding the five which dealt with provincial autonomy on the basis of the Lahore Resolution and a Constitution on the basis of Six-Points.

 

He would not comment on them because "we have got genuine difficulty and we need time for consultation to see how far we can go for a consensus".

 

But he described as ideal the point No. 1 of the Six-Points so far as it advocated a genuine federation in a true sense. He said he was a firm believer in one Pakistan and his entire political philosophy was based on it.

 

The four points of the Awami League on which Mr. Bhutto made no com­ments pertain to the transfer of Provincial and Central subjects, currencies, foreign trades, federating states and their accounts.

 

The second point of the students' demands relates to the Six-Point Programme.

 

National Assembly Session

 

About the convening of the Constituent Assembly on February 15 as suggested by Sheikh Mujib, the PPP Chief remained non-commital, but said there was nothing wrong "if we take time up to the end of February at least".

 

Asked if he intended to suggest delaying the session to the President, he replied in the negative.

 

"Some essential things will have to be accomplished before we come to attend the session" he said. "We must meet the leaders of all shades of opinion in West Pakistan, including those of defeated parties. The Constitution of a country should be a national one and not of one Province, and as such there should be consensus and equilibrium".

 

He said, however, that he fully shared the anxiety of Sheikh Mujib for breaking the present transition which was giving rise to new problems every day. "But for the greater interest of the nation" he added "its solidarity, integrity and fraternity there is nothing wrong in asking this 15 days time to solve the difficult task we have here for a permanent and lasting solution of constitutional problem".

 

Mr. Bhutto said that it was not necessary to enter into the Constituent Assembly with an agreement on different issues because negotiations could continue even when the House was in Session.

 

Asked if, in his opinion, the Awami League with its present absolute majority in the House was competent to frame a Constitution, Mr. Bhutto said: "Legally speaking they can, but the question to be decided by the House is whether the Constitution will be adopted by a simple majority or by two-thirds majority. Since the question is of making a Constitution and our geographical position is peculiar, the majority adopting the Constitution should include a consensus."

 

In this connection, he cited the example of One Unit which he said, could not survive because the idea lacked a consensus of all the four provinces of West Pakistan. Parity was another question which had to be done away with because East Pakistan did not like it, he added.

 

When a correspondent wanted to know of the `genuine difficulties' Mr. Bhutto was often referring to during the Press Conference, the PPP Chief invited him to visit West Pakistan and to see for himself these difficulties. He said: "we have not got a mandate like the Six-Points of East Pakistan, but we have to tell the people in West Pakistan so many things at so many places to come out successful in the elections. So our position is quite different and it needs. consultation."

 

The People's Party Chief renewed his warning to the vested interests who,. he said, had been trying to "frustrate an early transfer of power to the elected: representatives of people".

 

He said that since the two winning parties were committed to the people on nationalisation, the industrialists had become active in this direction.. Many of these anti-Socialists and exploiters, he added, were making frequent visits to both East and West Pakistan to achieve their goal.

 

(THE PAKISTAN TIMES, Lahore-January 31, 1971)

 

 

Source: Bangladesh Documents, vol-I, p.146-148