Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister of Canada):
Mr. Prime Minister, members of the houses of parliament: In welcoming you today, sir, we wish to pay a tribute to your great country, which in so short a time has attained a place of prominence in the world community; to the rank it holds in the concert of nations as an active member of the United Nations and a sister nation of the commonwealth, and, last but not least, to the record of your personal achievement as Prime Minister of Pakistan.
We in turn are honoured by your presence in this House of Commons. These words of greetings are naturally addressed to you on behalf of the whole population of Canada; I find it particularly fitting, however, that this welcome be extended to you in our own House of Commons, the centre of the political life of Canada and the very heart of our democratic institutions. It is fitting indeed that greetings from one democracy to another originate in the House of Commons chamber.
The accomplishments of your country since it began its separate political existence on August 14, 1947, evoke sincere admiration. Your countrymen had a long tradition of history in the Asian subcontinent. Still it is only less than three years ago-and what are three years in the life of a nation?-that the dominion of Pakistan came into being. The
astonishing progress made during such a short time augurs well for the future, and you may rest assured, sir, that we in this country will watch your future achievements with the same friendly interest we have had in what has already been accomplished in so short a time.
The future of Pakistan, notwithstanding differences in religion and language, in customs and habits, notwithstanding lands and oceans which separate it from Canada, is closely related to our own through our common association in the United Nations, our partnership in the commonwealth, and, most of all, in our common belief in those values which form the very basis of democratic life. We hope therefore that our association will become closer and closer as we get to know each other better. The exchange of high commissioners between our two countries is but a first step in this direction.
At present Canadians are wont to associate particularly the names of two men with Pakistan: that of Mr. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who is regarded as the father of his country and whose name has been immortalized by a grateful people's use of the title "the Great Leader", and your own, Mr. Prime Minister. Mr. Jinnah, in creating a new nation, relied heavily upon you, Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, whom he described as his "right-hand man'*.
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Hon. Liaquat Ali Khan As his death occurred so soon after the establishment of the independence of Pakistan, there fell upon your shoulders, sir, the tremendous task of giving substance to the blueprint of building the machinery of government in order that your nation might effectively express the will of the Pakistan people to contribute, through democratic processes, to the welfare of mankind.
Mr. Prime Minister, your stay in Canada, short though it may be, will allow you, I hope, to realize the interest we take in your country and your people. As our contacts become closer and more frequent, we shall better understand our mutual problems and be in a position to find a more satisfactory solution.
I wish to assure you that you may count on the understanding and good will of the Canadian people as Canada expects the same from your fellow citizens.
In greeting you on this occasion, may I be permitted, Mr. Prime Minister, to state how happy we are that you are accompanied by your charming wife. Her gentleness and gracious manner almost belie the dominating force which the Begum Liaquat Ali Khan is known to exercise in organizing the women of Pakistan to meet the challenge of providing social security under most difficult circumstances.
On behalf of the parliament and people of Canada I ask that the Honourable Liaquat Ali Khan convey to the people of Pakistan, on his return, our best wishes for their wellbeing and happiness, together with the assurances of deep friendship.
Members of the houses of parliament, I present to you the Prime Minister of Pakistan.