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Rehabilitation of refugees (2nd Feb 1948)

Speech on the Opening Ceremony of the Bengal Oil Mills on 2nd February, 1948.

It has given me great pleasure to come here today to perform the opening ceremony of the Bengal Oil Mills. Every new mill or factory means a step forward on the road to the economic stabilization of our country and the prosperity of its people. Millions of our brethren have been displaced by the cataclysm that attended the birth of Pakistan. Most of them have lost all their worldly belongings as also their means of livelihood. Their rehabilitation presents a problem of colossal magnitude, the successful solution of which would require the concerted efforts of the Government and the people. The response to the Quaid-i-Azam’s relief Fund has been magnificent and the munificence of people of the stricken but gratuitous relief and doles are only palliatives and do not provide a satisfactory solution of the refugees’ problem. We do not want merely to keep these unfortunate people alive as a drag on society –we want them to live as self-respecting, self-relying and useful members of Society. All the refugees are not agriculturists and even all the agriculturists cannot be settled on land without fragmenting the available arable land into small uneconomic holdings. The only way in which these people can be put on their feet again is the rapid industrialization of the country which would provide new avenues of employment for them. Nature has blessed us with plenty of raw materials and it is now up to us to harness our resources to the best advantage of our State and its people.

You have mentioned the trials and tribulations of the Muslims of Kathiawar during the last few stormy months. While I fully sympathize with them in their suffering, I am sure they will not be overwhelmed by these temporary setbacks. Their resilience will enable them to weather these storms with equanimity and by their resourcefulness and spirit of enterprise they would soon retrieve their lost fortunes.

I thank you once again for your generous contribution to the Relief Fund and I wish your venture all success and prosperity and hope that it may prove a precursor to many more enterprises for which there is so much scope in Pakistan.

Pakistan Zindabad

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