Provincialism- A curse (15th Jun 1948)

Reply to the Civic Address presented by the Quetta Municipality on I5th June, 1948.

I thank you for your address of welcome and for the kind words and good wishes you have expressed for me and Miss Fatima Jinnah, and I greatly appreciate your handsome and generous contribution to the Relief Fund and noble cause which it represents. Though luckily Baluchistan was spared the tragedy which the Punjab went through on the estabtishment of Pakistan, and, on account of its situation, does not face the refugee problem in the same way as other ‘parts of Pakistan do, the welfare of refugees and all who suffered because Pakistan was achieved is the responsibility of us all. The relief and rehabilitation of these stricken people is a matter of great importance and urgency for Pakistan for, until they become useful members of the society, the progress of Pakistan will not be fully accelerated. Every effort made in this direction, therefore, is most welcome, as it will advance the cause of progress and welfare of Pakistan.

Quetta has been for many years an important town and cantonment: with the establishment of Pakistan, its importance has increased and will increase further. Its situation and healthy climate entitle it to special attention and I am, therefore, really glad that despite the havoc wrought by the earthquakes of 1935 and the disabilities created by the war later and the dislocation caused by the movement of population more recently it gives the appearance of an orderly and busy town. The credit for this goes to a large extent to the Quetta Municipality and the City Fathers here. The town apparently has been well-planned and whatever buildings have been put up look neat and elegant. I, share your hopes that better times are ahead and not very long hence the temporary structures, which constitute most of the town at present, will be replaced by permanent earthquake-proof buildings. While the municipality should play its part, private enterprise is necessary, so that Quetta may be as great a civil station as a cantonment and the more you improve it the more attractive it will become. For a large part of Western Pakistan it will be the natural summer resort and draw larger and larger number of visitors, which will not only be additional source of revenue but also will bring and establish contact with other parts of Western Pakistan. This ought to be kept in view. The difficulty regarding water supply and other problems should be tackled with boldness and imagination, and I am sure, Government will give you willing help whenever it is needed.

While, however, one must love one’s town and work for its welfare–indeed because of it–one must love better one’s country and work more devotedly for it. Local attachments have their value but what is the value and strength of a “part” except within the “whole”. Yet this is a truth people so easily seem to forget and begin to prize local, sectional or provincial interests above and regardless of the national interests. It naturally pains me to find the curse of provincialism holding sway over any section of Pakistan. Pakistan must be rid of this evil. It is relic of the old administration when you clung to provincial autonomy and local liberty of action to avoid control–which meant–British control. But with your own Central Government and its power, is a folly to continue to think in the same terms, especially at a time when your State is so new and faces such tremendous problems internal and external. At this juncture any subordination of the larger interest of the State to the provincial or local or personal interest would be suicidal.

Baluchistan is the land of brave independent people and to you, therefore, national freedom, honour, and strength should have a special meaning. These whisperings of mulki and non-Mulki are neither profitable for the land not worthy of it. We are now all Pakistanis–not Baluchis, Pathans, Sindhis, Bengalis, Punjabis and so on–and as Pakistanis we must feet behave and act, and we should be proud to be known as Pakistanis and nothing else. I ask you always to pause and consider before taking any step whether it is conditioned by your personal or local likes and dislikes or is determined by consideration of the good of the State. If each individual thus being scrutinizing himself and forces–for initially it will require a certain amount of force–upon himself the principal of honesty to others as well as to himself, regardless of fear or favour. I see a very bright future ahead. If individuals both officials and non-officials play their part thus and work in this spirit, the Government, the Nation and the State will immediately bear their stamp, and Pakistan will emerge triumphantly as one of the greatest nations of the world.

As you all know I am specially interested in Baluchistan because it is my special responsibility. I want to see it play as full a part in the affairs of Pakistan as any other province, but it will take time to remove the symptoms of long neglect. In order that this time may not be a minute longer than necessary, I earnestly request you to co-operate with me, to give me your selfless support, and not to make my task difficult. Representative government and representative institutions are no doubt good and desirable, but when people want to reduce them merely to channels of personal aggrandisement, they not only lose their value but earn a bad name. Let us avoid that and it is possible only if, as I have said, we subject our actions to perpetual scrutiny and test them with the touchstone not of personal or sectional interest but of the good of the State.

I thank you once-again for your generous contribution, your courtesy and for the honor you have done me by presenting this civic address and giving me an opportunity to say a few words.

Pakistan Zindabad

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