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Development of Chittagong Port (March 1948)

Speech at the Public Reception at Chittagong on 26th March, 1948.


I am grateful to you all for the warm welcome which you have accorded me on this my first visit to a city destined to be one of the biggest in Pakistan as a whole. On my part I am glad to be in your midst and I need hardly assure you that not only are your problems being dealt with steadily and progressively but that unhindered by difficulties and obstacles we are determined to make good the neglect of centuries in course of the next few years when Chittagong will rank as one of the finest ports in the world.

You are only voicing my sentiments and the sentiments of millions of Mussalmans when you say that Pakistan should be based on sure foundations of social justice and Islamic socialism, which, emphasis’s equality and brotherhood of man. Similarly you are voicing my thoughts in asking and in aspiring for equal opportunities for all. These targets of progress are not controversial in Pakistan, for we demanded Pakistan, we struggled for it, and we achieved it so that physically as well as spiritually we are free to conduct our affairs according to our traditions and genius. Brotherhood, equality and fraternity of man -these are all the basic points of our religion, culture and civilization. And we fought for Pakistan because there was a danger of denial of these human rights in this sub-continent. We aspired for these great ideals because of centuries of dual domination by the foreign rulers and by a caste-ridden social system. This domination continued for over two hundred years until we realized that it would ultimately mean complete extinction of Mussalmans individually as human beings and collectively as a nation. After all, the story of Pakistan, its struggle and its achievement is the story of great human ideals struggling to survive in the face of odds and difficulties. This biggest Muslim State came into being on 14th August 1947. It was a great day in our history. But on this great day, it was not merely a Government, which came into existence; it meant the birth of a great State and a great nation one supplementing the other and both existing for each other. I can understand and appreciate the limitations of those amongst us whose minds have not moved fast enough to realize that 14th of August ushered in such a State and such a nation. It is natural for some to think only in terms of Government but the sooner we adjust ourselves to new forces, the sooner our mind’s eye is capable of piercing through the horizons to see the limitless possibilities of our State and of our nation, the better for Pakistan. Then an d then alone it would be possible for each one of us to realize the great ideals of human progress, of social justice, of equality and of fraternity which, on the one hand, constitute the basic causes of the birth of Pakistan and also the limitless possibilities of evolving an ideal social structure in our State. It reiterates most emphatically that Pakistan was made possible because of the danger of complete annihilation of human soul, in a society based on caste. Now that the soul is free to exist and to aspire it must assert itself galvanising not only the State but also the Nation.

Such mental and spiritual changes cannot be brought about over-night. Nor can these be inflicted by anybody without dislocating the structure of human relationships.

Today, your State is hardly eight months old; but if we look back and review this short span of our national life, we can clearly see the steady evolution of great social ideologies and balanced relations between man and man. Any impartial observer will admit that in fact it has already been admitted that the minorities in Pakistan have had a better deal than elsewhere. Here in our midst they have lived not only peacefully but have enjoyed complete liberty of asserting themselves. Some have even given a lead in controversies which, but for the realisation on the part of our people, might have struck at the very root of Pakistan in an hour of grave emergency.

This, –our single biggest achievement, –alone, reflects thedirection in which we are moving. There cannot be any better evidence to show that we are determined to evolve a State based on principles of equality and social justice. If we can be fair and just to others there can be no doubt about being fair and just among ourselves.

The address of welcome, which you have just presented refreshingly, embodies your urge for progress and development. It is indeed a pleasure to see that the people of Pakistan are conscious of the great possibilities of their State; –though, I must warn you that impatience will be as dangerous as lack of enthusiasm. Chittagong is destined to be great and you, as her citizens, are destined to share her greatness and prosperity. I can assure you that the Central and Provincial Governments are endeavouring hard to catch up on years of indifference and neglect. Notwithstanding the inevitable pre-occupation of your Central Government with grave and emergent problems which confronted them in Western Pakistan which was called upon to shelter, house and rehabilitate millions of your brethren uprooted from the Indian Union, blue prints for developing Chittagong have been got ready. This potentially great port has been neglected for centuries along with other similar areas in Pakistan regions and you know that such neglect and indifference has constituted the biggest single justification for our demand for Pakistan. Accordingly, now that we are free to shape our future, we are not going to be indifferent to it. We need not look back to the past of neglect with pessimism. All that is required is courage and faith in our future, and I am glad to say, that such faith has not been found lacking during the last eight months.

I need hardly remind you that due to the determination of the people of Pakistan and the efforts made by your Government, Chittagong as a port, is already coming into its own. During the last few months, ships of various nationalities, whose ensigns fly colourfully along your roads today, have harboured in your port. Some for the first time in history to take your raw products to their countries for manufacture into finished products. Chittagong is already handling a fair portion of your export and import trade. This has been possible mainly due to the efforts of us all to decrease our dependence on others.

This achievement in such a short time shows what human will can do. Funds are no doubt necessary for development but at the same time national growth and regeneration does not depend on funds alone. It is human toil that makes for the prosperity of a people and I have no doubt that we have in Pakistan a nation of industrious and determined people whose past traditions have already distinguished them in the field of human achievement.

I have frankly and clearly associated myself with your aspirations for developing your city of which you are justly proud. Your urge for progress and your Government’s efforts to reach the goal will soon get translated in the shape of large-scale projects, which I am satisfied are being actively pursued. The most important scheme which concerns you vitally, and which is at present under active examination, is the harnessing of Karnaphuly River to control floods and silt, to irrigate fields and to develop cheap hydroelectric power. The necessary preliminary work is being expedited and the project is on our top priority list. I might tell you that one of the reasons, which prompted me to visit. East Pakistan at this juncture, when Western Pakistan particularly is passing through a period of grave emergency, was to see for myself the progress made in respect of developing your city which can now look forward to a future of great maritime importance.

While at Chittagong, I have spent the major portion of my time in studying the possibilities of port development and I am confident that embarkation for Hajis from East Pakistan but also an export and import center for which we can spare for the world and for what we need from other countries. Chittagong is destined to be the Eastern mighty queen and Gateway to Pakistan, your will to progress, labour and work and your Government’s efforts to hit targets, of progress aimed at, will I am sure do it.

Nature has endowed you bountifully. Yours is a beautiful garden land with sea, rivers and hills and magnificent scenery all-round. It remains now for man in Chittagong to play his part fully and raise Chittagong to zenith for which it is destined

So I wish you Godspeed.

Pakistan Zindabad

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