PEOPLE'S PARTY NOT TO ATTEND NATIONAL
ASSEMBLY SESSION IF AWAMI LEAGUE NOT FLEXIBLE
WANTS WANTS ADJUSTMENTS IN SIX-POINTS TWO-SUBJECT CENTRE
MR. Z. A.
BHUTTO'S DECLARATION IN
On February 15, 1971
Mr. Z. A. Bhutto, Chairman of Pakistan People's Party, today declared that his party will not attend the National Assembly Session starting on March 3 at Dacca unless it was made clear to him and his partymen that there would be some amount -of reciprocity from the majority party, either publicly or privately.
Addressing a crowded Press Conference he did not term his decision as boycott of the Assembly but said: " We can't go there only to endorse the constitution already prepared by a party and to return humiliated. If we are not heard and -even reasonable proposals put by us are not considered, I don't see the purpose to go there ".
Mr. Bhutto said that his party had accepted the first and the last points of the Awami League's Six Points (they relate to the basis of representation and the existence of people's militia in the provinces), but he could neither accept a " two subject Centre " nor the point relating to currency. " I am not without hope about foreign trade and taxation ", he added. Mr. Bhutto said that his party had also accepted 10 out of the 11 points of the students. It could not ..accept the point which said that there should be a sub-federation in the West Wing.
He, however, said, " I think we can work out
something which will satisfy both of us. There is hope for understanding. But
if we are asked to go to
Mr. Bhutto said his party was of the opinion that the constitution based on the six points could not provide a " viable future for the country" Nevertheless Pakistan People's Party has tried to come as close to the Awami League points of view as possible, even upto the edge of precipice, whereafter there is destruction.
He said he had taken the decision as a big responsibility in the interest of the nation. The country is passing through a very critical phase and we may go one way or the other.
Mr. Bhutto said: "If we have to go just for formality we are not prepared". Asked if other leaders go there to help Awami League, he said: " Let them go," adding " but they will have to come back also".
He, however, said: " I will not come in the way of a constitution made by the National Assembly. Let them frame it with those who go there. The onus and odium will not then fall on Pakistan People's Party," he added.
He accused the Awami League of applying double standards for constitution.. He said for normal procedures of leading to constitution making the party had followed normal democratic principles but for the constitution itself it did not, accept the universal principle of a democratic consensus of all provinces. You, can't apply double standard, he declared.
He said dictation or imposition of a constitution on
Mr. Bhutto said that he had taken the decision after consultations with his, party leaders and other political leaders of the West Wing.
He said that his party had the greatest respect and
admiration for the people of East Pakistan, and had in its foundation papers,
conceded that the peopleof
The PPP Chief emphasised that if the Awami League had received a mandate on Six Points, in the elections, they should accept the People's Party's position. that its success was based on economic programme and its stand on foreign, policy. He stated that his party was convinced that the Six Point programme should be taken on a political basis and not on a" test tube " basis.
His party had abstained from taking any position on the Six Points, during. the year-long election campaign, since it felt that a" dialogue " was necessary on them.
Mr. Bhutto also regretted over the failure of Sheikh
Mujibur Rahman to come: to
Mr. Z. A. Bhutto expressed his party's inability to
attend the National Assembly session, beginning from March 3 in
Mr. Bhutto stated that his party had "gone as
far as possible" on the issue of Six Points to ensure a viable
constitution for the country. But, in the present circumstances, they would not
be going to
"If I am given to understand that there is a room for compromise and adjustment I am prepared to go there even today ", he added.
He added: "If there is a purpose to build up
Mr. Bhutto said that if there was a question of framing of the constitution_ the consensus of federating units, was essential " but the position is that the constitution has already been framed " and the Awami League " wants us to endorse it ", he said. The Awami League, the PPP Chief said, had adopted an attitude of " take it or leave it ".
He added, we should have a guarantee that we would be heard and if our viewpoint was reasonable, it would be accepted. Participation in the National Assembly without such an understanding would further "vitiate" the situation.
Mr. Bhutto emphasised that if the things were to be taken on democratic basis, "you have to make scope for adjustments".
Mr. Bhutto also said that the participation in the present situation, might l--ad to a" deadlock " which was against national interests. " I do not want to deteriorate the position " he said-adding that he was only " objective and reasonable".
* * *
Mr. Bhutto said that it was for the nation to judge
as to what had been die stand of the People's Party in the past and " the
nation always judges correctly". "' We took no position on six points
all through our election campaign ", he said. ,On the other hand the six
points had been criticised by many a leader in
Mr. Bhutto said that there were many "misgivings"
* * *
Bearing in mind the back-ground of our 23 years history, the six points, as -they stood today, could not be worked viably. He had assured the Awami League leader that the People's Party would try its best to come as close to the precipice as possible and not beyond to accommodate the six points.
Discussing the consultations he has had within his own party, Mr. Bhutto ,revealed that there was a" divided view ", on the six-points. Some of his partymen took " extreme" position,-that the party should fight it out-, and a very small number took the position that the Awami League programme should be accepted. But the majority of the party leaders supported the view that there should be ,reasonable adjustments to bring about a compromise.
The PPP chief said he had now completed his
discussions with other leaders ,of West Pakistan and that at his partymen's
* * *
Mr. Bhutto said that now the date of the Assembly
session had been announced .but he emphasised that before he and his party-men
He had hoped that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would come
* * *
Mr. Bhutto said that he did not know whether there
was an element of "give and take" and of reciprocity in the Awami
League position. If it was not proper for Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to come here,
it was even harder for Mr. Bhutto to go to
Mr. Bhutto went on to say " I can put myself in
jeopardy, but it is a question of 83 party leaders, going to
He added that his party comprised of working people, who have to do a job, and naturally they would like to know how long would they be away from-, their homes.
In the beginning it was announced that there would
be only a ceremonial' session in
* * *
Mr. Bhutto said that his party members were expected
to go to
He, however, added that if an assurance was given even privately that therewould be give and take and there would be a purpose for us to be there to construct something together, then we would go.
Other leaders of
Mr. Bhutto said that on the one hand the Awami League claimed the right to frame the constitution on the democratic principle of simple majority, and on the other it wanted six points because of the geographic peculiarities of the country. He said, it could not have it both ways. If they wanted their six points on the basis of geographical peculiarities, why should this factor not come into play in the framing of the constitution and the principle of the consensus of the federating units applied instead of the principle of simple majority.
However, he said that if the Awami League insisted on the framing of the constitution on the basis of six points, then the onus and odium of that constitution would not fall on the Pakistan People's Party.
He said that he did not want to deteriorate the situation but was stating, what was objective, scientific and reasonable.
He said that he took full responsibility for the position he had taken and he would be prepared to face the barrel of a gun, for he had done so often in the past. But he said, he must save the people from the firing line.
Asked if he was boycotting the Assembly, Mr. Bhutto emphatically disagreed: with the suggestion.
Mr. Bhutto said that he did not want to aggravate
the situation. He conceded that in the past some West Pakistani leaders had
To another question, Mr. Bhutto said that he would accept in good faith, am assurance from Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the question of give and take in the framing of the constitution, even if such an assurance was given privately.
Replying to another question Mr. Bhutto said that he was " satisfied " with his talks with the leaders of the NWFP. Mr. Bhutto met Khan Abdul Qayyum: Khan, President of the Pakistan Muslim League, Khan Abdul Wali Khan, President of National Awami Party and Maulana Mufti Mahmud, General Secretary, Jamaita-eul-Ulema-e-Islam, during his two-day stay here.
(THE DAWN, Karachi-February 16, 1971)