May 31, 1950



of HONOURABLE LIAQUAT ALI KHAN * Prime Minister of Pakistan to


in the House of Commons Chamber, Ottawa on Wednesday, May 31, 1950 The Prime Minister of Pakistan was welcomed by the Right Honourable L. S. St. Laurent, Prime Minister of Canada, and thanked by the Honourable Elie Beauregard, Speaker of the Senate, and the Honourable W. Ross Macdonald, Speaker of the House of Commons.


Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)


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'*.


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.


Hon. Liaquat Ali Khan@Prime Minister of Pakistan

Mr. Speaker of the Senate, Mr. Speaker of the House of Commons, honourable members of the Canadian parliament: In permitting me to address you here today within these walls, you have conferred upon me a great honour and privilege which I value very highly and for which in the name of my country and my nation I thank you.

As the recipient of this signal token of your esteem my thoughts at this moment turn to the struggle which made it possible for our people to emerge as a free democratic nation to take their rightful place amongst the free nations of the world. For in honouring me today you honour them, their freedom, and the memory of that courageous man who guided their footsteps towards the goal, of liberty. You will pardon me, therefore, if on this memorable occasion I am reminded of

the father of our nation and the founder of our freedom, our Great Leader, our Quaid-e-Azam, Mohammed Ali Jinnah of revered memory, without whose vision, determination and burning honesty Pakistan might have remained a vague longing and a distant dream, and the reality, of which my humble presence in your august company today is but a symbol, might never have been born. A sincere patriot, a passionate follower of the democratic idea, and a man who saw farther and more clearly than his fellows, he led the Muslims of British India out of their perplexities and frustrations into the open air of freedom, and gave shape, significance and direction to their quest for liberty. All his life he fought for freedom, but since he fought for the substance and not for the shadow, for the thing and not for the word, he let no illusions or catch-phrases obscure his penetrating insight or confound his grasp of the essentials. He struggled long and hard to forge the diverse peoples of his subcontinent into a mighty nation. But foremost as he was in the ranks of those who fought for independence, he was also the first to perceive the inexorable logic of facts, and, when the time came, to proclaim fearlessly that the people of British India, bound together though they were in their common subjection, were not one, but two nations, and that to relegate one hundred million Muslims to the position of a perpetual political minority and to force the Hindu nation and the Muslim nation into a single unwieldly state would be the negation of democracy and would create the greatest single unstable area in the world. The great truth that he uttered was so startling in its simplicity that for a long time even some of his close friends and companions found it stimulating, but strange. But the hundred million suppressed Muslims knew instinctively that what he said merely gave coherence and dynamism to their own hesitant, inarticulate feelings. When on the 14th of August, 1947, our flag was unfurled in Karachi, a nation of eighty million people thanked God that the Quaid-e-Azam had lived to see his dream come true. And when he left us to rest in God, to whose greater glory he had dedicated himself, we knew that he had bequeathed to us a great destiny to fulfil. Wherever the flag of Pakistan may fly, its capital shall always be that hallowed piece of earth where he lies buried.

The three years that have elapsed brought with them many a trial that we expected and many others that we did not. The mass migration that took place between our country and our neighbour, and caused much unhappiness to people on either side of the border, was a great shock to our economy

and a great strain on our administrative machinery, which, it will be recalled, had had to be set up within a period of two months for a population of eighty million and for a territory that was spread far and wide. But our experiences, whether grave or stimulating, only convinced us that the historic decision that the Muslims of British India had taken, to work for a state of their own., was eminently justified. What is more, the events of these early years and the manner in which the people of Pakistan faced them have filled us with hope and confidence for the future. It was not the maturity of our administration or any previous experience or preparation that helped us to tide over the almost insurmountable difficulties that appeared in our way. Experience or preparedness we had none; for there had been no time for these. It was the fortitude and the determination and the self-sacrifice of the common man and woman which came to our rescue and gave our young state a momentum which will not be easily exhausted and which we believe will grow in strength. No new state could have been launched on its career under greater handicaps. But these three years of struggle have made us a wiser and more unified nation than we could have otherwise hoped to become within such a short time. Although they demanded great courage, patience and vigilance, they have endeared our freedom to us even more and have shown to us very clearly the path to a bright future.

To what use do the Muslims who form the majority of the people of Pakistan propose to put their freedom? This is a question which we as a nation have pointedly asked ourselves and to which we have a clear and unhesitating answer.

First, we are determined that the Muslims iu our state shall be enabled to order their lives in accordance with their faith; that at the same time our minorities shall enjoy full rights of citizenship and shall freely profess and practise their religions and develop their cultures, and that their legitimate interests and the interests of the backward and depressed classes shall be adequately safeguarded.

Second, we are pledged to the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam. This does not mean theocracy; for Islam does not believe either in priesthood or in the caste system. On the contrary our conception of democracy is possibly even more comprehensive than that which is contained in the institutions of universal franchise and majority rule. For it embraces social and economic justice, the right of 55046-193

Hon. Liaquat Ali Khan private ownership, of each individual to enjoy the fruit of his honest labour.-and yet with laws and institutions designed to eliminate destitution and to place healthy checks on vast accumulations of unearned wealth.

All this we call the Islamic way of life and pursue it because as Muslims we could not follow any other ideology or seek guidance from any other source but God, whose injunctions we believe these to foe. To abandon these principles would be for us to destroy, instead of create, what we hope to build up and for which we demanded independence and freedom and a separate state.

Third, we are resolved to safeguard our freedom at all costs, whatever the threat and whatever the quarter from which aggression may face us. For our own part we have no aggressive designs and consider it our moral responsibility to pursue the path of peace and to help in the maintenance of peace and stability everywhere, particularly in the uneasy continent of Asia, on whose future, according to our way of thinking, world peace very largely depends. Nowhere in Asia are the circumstances for the development of the democratic idea more naturally favourable than they are in Pakistan; for nowhere are people more unified and more determined to apply their moral concepts of equality and social and economic justice to promote human welfare and to resist any attempt to tamper with their beliefs. But democracy, in Pakistan or elsewhere, is of little use to the common man unless its advantages are made available to him in his daily life and his standard of living is raised at least to a level which gives him a substantial stake in the way of life which he has chosen for himself.

We are fully conscious of this, and consider it our foremost duty to develop the resources of our country at the greatest possible speed. Even in the days of our greatest anxieties we were able to go ahead with this task, and though much remains to be done we are glad that we have been able to revive our trade, to plan the development of our irrigation, the expansion and modernization of our agriculture and the utilization of our power resources; to keep our budgets balanced and to throw the gates wide open to private enterprise in our industrial development. For this task there is nothing more essential to us and nothing that we could or do desire more passionately than peace.

I know that in Canada I am among friends and speaking to people who are in the same family circle as Pakistan. I feel therefore that I can speak somewhat more intimately

Hon. Liaquat Ali Khan than is perhaps usual on formal occasions. Your great country and our young state both belong to the commonwealth of nations. I am not one of those who would demand that the bond which exists between the various members of the commonwealth be minutely defined. It is enough for me to know that they all basically have the same constitution, even though one of them may be a monarchy and another a republic, and all subscribe to the common principles of democracy, freedom and peace. In the uneasy, apprehensive world of today, such a large group of nations with so much identity in their declared aims should be a heartening spectacle to mankind. No practical person would therefore wish wantonly for its disintegration.

Two facts, however, I would humbly and respectfully commend to your1 attention. First, that with the growth of three Asiatic members of the commonwealth to the status of dominions, the notion that the commonwealth ties are mainly religious, historical or racial must be regarded as having outlived its use. If the commonwealth does nothing more than give the world a lead in establishing the brotherhood of man, irrespective of race, creed or colour, it will still have made a notable contribution to the cause of human welfare. Second, that since the greatest fear of the world is the fear of war, under whose shadow progress alters its aims and millions of humble men and women wait helplessly and apprehensively for an undeserved doom, the commonwealth has great opportunities for raising the hopes of mankind by outlawing war and aggression and the use of coercion or force as a method of settling disputes amongst its own members. We sincerely believe that in this way this free association of free nations can set the world an inspiring example and can give greater reality and efficacy not only to itself but also to the charter of the United Nations, to whose aims we are all pledged and whose success we all pray for.

The ideals of a freedom-loving, democratic, but young and underdeveloped country such as ours, could be epitomized in three words- peace, progress and co-operation. These three are but aspects of the same fundamental urge; for there can be no progress without peace, no peace without progress and the removal of the economic disequilibrium, so apparent in Asia, which keeps more than half the world in poverty and the ferment of discontent, or without international cooperation, which we believe to be the greatest need of all countries, great and small. In the pursuit of democratic ideals few countries have shown greater sincerity of purpose and a higher quality of quiet determination than yours. Blessed with the wealth of natural

resources, you have shown the world how a nation, by dint of hard work, by its unity, its sturdy moral qualities, its progressive yet modest outlook, its wide international sympathies and its neighbourliness, can raise itself to great heights, bringing happiness to many and fear to none among those who love peace and honour the freedom of others as they do their own. I am sure that we can look forward to a long period of friendship between our two countries, and that in any joint moral undertaking to promote the welfare of mankind and good will and peace amongst nations, Pakistan and Canada will be more than friends. God bless your country and its people.



Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)


Hon. Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate):

Your Excellency, the Upper Chamber and the French-speaking people, on whose behalf I am now speaking, are pleased to welcome both yourself and your charming wife and collaborator, and to thank you for the friendly visit you have paid the Canadian parliament as well as for the substantial speech you have delivered. In you we greet a distinguished representative of a commonwealth nation which, in addition, is one of the world's great countries.

By its spiritual unity, based on the teachings and tradition of Islam, the sovereign state of Pakistan binds two territories that, oddly enough, are divided geographically. This thousand year old bond, of which religion and culture are the warp and woof, you recognize as stronger, as more imperious than that of mere neighbourhood or of the continuation of the land.

Pakistan's evolution provides one of the most interesting chapters of world history. In a sort of prophetic vision, your great poet Iqbal foresaw the development which you have made it your mission to achieve.

Under your leadership, your country, which throughout the ages has known and absorbed many civilizations, has progressed rapidly in the economic field. Though this is somewhat contrary to our conception of a legendary and static Orient, we can but rejoice at its march towards progress and a better standard of living, benefits which are common to all true democracies.

Following in the footsteps of the illustrious Mohammed Ali Jinnah, you recognize, as the leader of your country, that your authority comes to you from the people. You have desired to establish your country's constitution on a democratic basis and to complete its independence by making its policy as one with its ideals.

Through your character and your culture, as well as through the exigencies of our time, you are enabled to understand to the full

what democracy really means. You know that a strong nation is one in which the several units are made responsible for national development, by being called upon to participate in the administration of public affairs.

Your industrial and social program is commensurate with your overflowing personality. You are extending in the economic sphere the reform accomplished in the political field. Without breaking your age-long traditions, you are leading your people to the development of natural resources, industry and world trade. Pakistan will thus be a democratic, industrial and prosperous country.

May we, Your Excellency, greet in you the great architect of this national revival and offer you a tribute of admiration and the expression of our best wishes.



William Ross Macdonald (Speaker of the House of Commons)


Hon. W. Ross Macdonald (Speaker of the House of Commons):

Honourable members of the Senate and of the House of Commons: From time to time our parliament has been honoured by visits from internationally known statesmen. Once again this honour has come to us. Today we have had the privilege of receiving the Prime Minister of a new nation which has been formed by people of ancient lineage and great traditions. The history of our country is very short compared to that of the country of our distinguished visitor, but we are a few years older in the status of nationhood. We are both young nations. I am sure we were all very much pleased to hear our Prime Minister say that we are sister nations; and then,

Hon. Liaquat Ali Khan shortly after, we were happy indeed to hear our distinguished visitor say that we belong to the same family circle.

Pakistan and Canada have many things in common. Allow me to mention but one. Both countries are bordered by powerful nations which speak the same or a similar language, and which have the same customs and traditions. Canada has lived in peace with her powerful neighbour for nearly 150 years. I am sure that I speak for all our members when I say that we hope our younger sister, Pakistan, will enjoy with her neighbour the same peaceful relations as her elder sister, Canada, has enjoyed with her neighbour.

Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, may I express to you our admiration for the statesmanship which has already been demonstrated by you in facing the problems which have confronted you. We are deeply impressed by the high morale of your people and their faith in the belief that their new status as a sovereign independent nation will gradually bring to them a better way of life.

Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, on behalf of the members of the Canadian House of Commons, I extend to you our deep appreciation for your very informative and inspiring address this afternoon. Our Prime Minister has asked you to convey a message to all your people. May I, as Speaker of the House of Commons, ask you upon your return to Pakistan to carry our greetings to your constituent assembly, and to tell your members how happy Canadians were today to have in their houses of parliament the Prime Minister of Pakistan.


Thursday, June 1, 1950


May 31, 1950