Source: Speeches, I, pp. 59-62

Mr Chairman, Mr Commissioner, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

First let me say how honoured I feel by the reception you have given me this afternoon. I have been most moved by the kindness of your remarks today and by the warmth of this city's welcome to myself and my family throughout our stay in Karachi.

The city of Karachi, as you have observed, has some very special and very beloved associations for me. It has given me the greatest pleasure, therefore, to find the remarkable developments which have taken place since I was here in 1954.

Your streets today are wide and well lit. Your public service -- transport, water, electricity and so on -- are managing to keep pace with an ever accelerating demand. And on top of everything else, you have been beset by the seemingly intractable problem of the refugees.

Since 1954, I have observed that you have made some progress in re-settling these unfortunate people. But you must know, far better that I know, much remains to be done.

I feel sure that this is a social priority of the highest importance. The conscience of this city, especially of its better-off inhabitants, cannot be at rest until the refugee problem is solved. That, I believe, will only come about as a result of a tremendous and sustained community effort.

In this connection I was particularly glad to see that the conference held here the other day between representatives of Pakistan and the Indian Government met with some success. Both the countries are faced with almost identical problems, and cooperation between the two is essential if their difficulties are not to increase.

One of the great problems of the refugees is to see that their children are fully absorbed into Pakistan and are educated to play a constructive role in the country's life. I hope that this city will continue to devote its energies to providing adequate amenities for its younger generation. The need for schools -- and even more for qualified teachers -- is, of course, paramount, and one to which I know you are giving close attention. But there is another aspect to which I would like to refer.

I was reading a report the other day of a speech in which the orator was deploring the extent to which young people were becoming involved in practical politics. His advice was that students should stick to their studies and leave politics alone.

As you know, until very recently, I was a student myself and I could see what he meant. Personally, I never saw a particular objection to taking a close interest in politics, provided there were opportunities for other activities as well. The danger is that a student will live for politics and nothing else. Apart from other considerations, this will make a very dull individual.

The provision of recreational centres and playing grounds are much more important to the student than is often realised. Together with sound academic instruction and a progressive teaching of our Islamic faith, they can help build a young generation which understands the art of living in its most complete sense. I hope this question will be given the attention it deserves, for on the answer you provide depends the future of this great country.

I believe that this is the last public speech I shall make during my fortnight's stay in Karachi. Next week I am looking forward to visiting other parts of Pakistan. This, therefore, is a very appropriate occasion for me to express my sincere thanks to the citizens and leaders of this great city for the wonderful welcome you have given me here. It is a source of particular pleasure to hear your assurances that the Ismaili community is playing an active and worthy part in Karachi's development. I am sure that this will continue, and I hope that when I return the next time, I shall witness still greater achievements of your united endeavours.

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