A call to duty (11th Oct 1947)

Address to Civil, Naval, Military and Air Force Officers of Pakistan
Government at Kahliqdina Hall, Karachi on October 11, 1947

The establishment of Pakistan for which we have been striving for the last ten years is, by the grace of God, an established fact today, but the creation of a State of our own was means to an end and not the end in itself. The idea was that we should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play.

I had no illusion about the hard work that awaited us and the difficulties that had to be overcome. I was, however, fortified by the knowledge that I could count upon the unstilted support of all Muslims and also the minorities whose co-operation we could win over by fair --nay, generous-treatment.

Unfortunately, the birth of Pakistan was attended by a holocaust unprecedented in history. Hundreds of thousands of defenseless people have been mercilessly butchered and millions have been displaced from their hearths and homes. People who till yesterday were leading a decent and prosperous life are today paupers with no means of livelihood. A good many of them have already found asylum in Pakistan but many more are still stuck up in East Punjab awaiting evacuation. That they are still on the other side of the border is not due to the fact that we have been unmindful of their sad plight. The evacuation of these unfortunate persons has been our first concern and everything that is humanly possible is being done to alleviate their suffering. As you are aware, the Prime Minister has shifted his headquarters to Lahore and we have set up an Emergency Committee of the Cabinet to deal with the situation as it develops from day to day.

The disorders in the Punjab have brought in their wake the colossal problem of the rehabilitation of millions of displaced persons. This is going to tax our energies and resources to the utmost extent. It has made the difficulties inherent in the building of a new State; I referred to earlier, manifold. Are we going to allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the immensity of the task that is confronting us and let our new-born State fonder under the cruel and dastardly blows struck by our enemies?

This is challenge to our very existence and if we are to survive as a nation and are to translate our dreams about Pakistan into reality we shall have to grapple with the problem facing us with redoubled zeal and energy. Our masses are today disorganized and disheartened by the cataclysm that has befallen them.

Their morale is exceedingly low and we shall have to do something to pull them out of the sough of despondency and galvanize them into activity. All this throws additional responsibility on Government servants to whom our people are looking for guidance.

I know that during the past few weeks, anxiety about the safety of your kith and kin in East Punjab, Delhi and other disturbed areas of India has been weighing on the minds of most of you. Lots of you and your staff have suffered bereavements in the recent holocaust and have lost valuable property. My heart goes out in sympathy to those who have suffered bereavements and I pray to God Almighty that He may give them fortitude to bear their losses with courage.

But are all these sacrifices, which we have been called upon to make to be in vain? Are we going to sit down and mope over our losses? If we do so, we shall be behaving just as our enemies want us to behave. We shall be playing their game and will soon be suppliants for their mercy. The fitting response to the machinations of our enemies would be a grim determination to get down to the task of building our State on strong and firm foundations, a State which should be fit for our children to live in. This requires work, work and more work. I fully realize that a majority of you have worked under a terrible strain during the war years and might need relaxation. But you should remember that for us the war as not ended. It has only just begun and if we are to fight it to victory, we shall have to put in super-human efforts. This is not the time to think in terms of personal advancement and jockeying for positions. It is the time for constructive effort, selfless work and steadfast devotion to duty.

This being the need of the day, I was pained to learn that a good many of our staff are not pulling their weight. They seem to be thinking that now that Pakistan has been achieved they can sit back and do nothing. Some of them have been demoralized by the happenings in East Punjab and Delhi, and in other, the general lawlessness prevailing in some parts of the country, has bred a spirit of indiscipline. These tendencies, if not checked immediately, will prove more deadly than our external enemies and will spell ruin for us. It is the duty of all of you who have gathered here today to see that this cancer is removed as speedily as possible. You have to infuse a new spirit in your men by precept and by example. You have to make them feel that they are working for a cause and that the cause is worth every sacrifice that they may be called upon to make.

God has given us a grand opportunity to show our worth as architects of a new State; let it not be said that we did not prove equal to the task.

Another question that has been agitating my mind is the treatment of minorities. I have repeatedly made it clear in my utterances, both private and public, that we would treat the minorities fairly and that nothing is farther from our thoughts than to drive them away. I, however, regret to say that the minorities here did not give us a chance to prove our bonafides and give us their wholehearted co-operation as citizens of Pakistan when the crises suddenly overtook us. Before we could assume the reins of office, non-Muslims started pulling out of Pakistan, which, as subsequent events have proved, was part of an well-organized plan to cripple Pakistan. But for a few sporadic incidents here and there, nothing has happened to mar the peace of Sindh, but despite the prevalence of peaceful conditions here the exodus of Hindus continues. Some have given way to panic and others have been leaving Pakistan in the hope that it will be paralyzed economically and socially. A lot of migrants are already realizing the folly of their rash act and leaving the country of their birth or domicile but some interested parties persist in encouraging migration which is fraught with grievous consequences for the migrants and also does harm to our State in the process.

It is true that there was some trouble in the NorthWest Frontier Province and Baluchistan, but it was not the outcome of any premeditated plan. Some excitable elements in society were carried away by tales of woe brought by refugees from the East Punjab; and sought solace in revenge which was definitely against our policy and contrary to our express instructions to our people that there should be no relation. Whatever has happened cannot be justified.

I am, however, glad to say that this trouble was short lived and the situation was soon brought under control.

In West Punjab, things were rather different. It was nearer the scene of carnage and so could not escape the contagion. Regrettable incidents have no doubt taken place there but the arm of the law is again asserting itself and things are returning to normal.

When I turn my eyes to the sister Dominion of India, I find that the Muslim minority there has suffered grievous wrongs. Not content with having uprooted Muslims from East Punjab, certain sections in India seem to be determined to drive Muslims from the entire Dominion by making life impossible for them. These helpless victims of organized forces feel that they have been let down by us. It is a thousand pities that things have come to such a pass.

The division of India was agreed upon with a solemn and sacred undertaking that minorities would be protected by the two Dominion Governments and that the minorities had nothing to fear so long as they remained loyal to the State. If that is still the policy of the Government of India --and I am sure it is --they should put a stop to the process of victimization of Muslims which, if persisted in, would mean ruin for both the States.

My advice to my Muslim brethren in India is to give unflinching loyalty to the State in which they happen to be. At the same time, they should reorganize themselves and create the right leadership, which should give them the correct lead in these perilous times. I further hope that the Government of India would see that their fair name is not sullied by ill-advised action on the part of those who are bent upon the eviction or extermination of Muslims of India by brutal and inhuman methods. If the ultimate solution of the minority problem is to be mass exchange of population, let it be taken up at the governmental plane, it should not be left to be sorted out by bloodthirsty elements.

As regard the Government of Pakistan, I again reiterate with all the emphasis at my command that we shall pursue our settled policy in this respect and we shall continue to protect the life and property of minorities in Pakistan and shall give them a fair deal. We do not want them to be forced to leave Pakistan and that so lone as they remain faithful and loyal to the State they shall be entitled to the same treatment, as any other citizen shall.

It is the duty of Government servants, who are responsible for enforcing the policy of Government, to see that this policy is scrupulously carried out so that we may not throw ourselves open to the charge that we do not mean what we say. It is you who can convince the man in the street of the sincerity of our intentions and I am confident that you would not fail us.

Pakistan Zindabad

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