23 March, Pakistan Resolution Day | By Haya Fatima Sehgal


23 March, Pakistan Resolution Day

I think that the masses are wide awake. They only want your guidance and your lead.

Come forward as servants of Islam and organize the people economically, socially, educationally, and politically and I am sure that you will be a power that will be accepted by everybody.”

– Presidential address by Muhammad Ali Jinnah to the Muslim League Lahore, 1940.

A live coverage usually streamed across continents the Pakistan Resolution Day comes around each year to commemorate the Lahore Resolution passed in 1940 as well as to celebrate Republic Day.

Taken as a national holiday on 23rd March, the day starts in the morning with a full parade in all its glory with the nationalistic fervor of the national anthem performed, the military and the civilian parades, gun salutes, and even the aerial acrobatics performed by the Sherdils of PAF which are enjoyed by all.

The festivities organized in the Capital by the Joint Staff Headquarters (JSHQ) are seen by the President as well as the Prime Minister, alongside the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Army, Naval and Air Chiefs as well as foreign guests.

This year a few days before, our Prime Minister Imran Khan was diagnosed with the Coronavirus. As he will be isolating at home, we wish him a speedy recovery.

Things would be differently done as this year so many people we know in this past year and even now have fallen ill to the novel coronavirus, Covid-19.

Celebration methods would be more subdued this year as the war against the global pandemic is still being fought and many have fallen.

However, we must have the leaders, who are able to, from the different institutions to come forward with messages of hope for the people.

Although Pakistan struggles just like the rest of the world does with the global economic meltdown, there had been a predominant thought perhaps the festivities might be left out completely this year.

As the vaccines have arrived in Pakistan, we now see the tiers being inoculated quickly and efficiently.

The time for the recovery is in hand, and one way to celebrate it would be the annual Pakistan Day festivities.

Maintaining the tradition of the celebrations this year is like a signal to not only the nation but to the world that we are doing well and on our way to a process of recovery.

The celebration which takes place every year, and this year should be no different; perhaps more aligned in terms of a tribute of those lives lost due to the global pandemic and of course the entire event would be observed differently keeping in mind SOPs.

It was exactly a year ago we stood amidst a national lockdown here in Pakistan.

The Lahore Resolution now famously known as the Pakistan Resolution was presented by A K Fazlul Haq on the occasion of the three-day session of Muslim League held in Lahore on 22nd -24th March 1940. The venue was Iqbal Park located in Lahore, Pakistan.

The national monument “Minar-e-Pakistan” which was built in later years stands on the same site where pivotal moment in history took place.

The three-day session was led by the father of Nation, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and other founding fathers who played a critical role in establishing this State.

Historians keep the viewpoint that it was the Lahore Resolution which was the formal turn of events and decision making which eventually led to the emergence of an independent state, Pakistan in 1947.

The resolution which contains the essential decisions that would change history, stated that “No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary.”

As a cultural tradition, the festivities along with the Pakistan Day Parade have been carried forth from generation to generation.

This day which is also called Yaum-e-Pakistan is not meant to be only commemorated by or for the Armed Forces.

This celebration is for all Pakistanis across the world including the global Pakistani Diaspora.

Here, we must also acknowledge personnel of the defence forces who have lost their lives in defending Pakistan from constant outside threats.

It is the same defence forces that protect us so that our men, women and children can sleep safely and wake up to another day in a free country.

The institutions as well as the national traditions of our country are just like any other democratic country with its defence forces serving the people. Let the celebrations take place, just differently observed.

Let the 23 March Pakistan Resolution Day be continued as a tradition that has been enjoyed by all even before some of us were born. Let the jazba flow across borders and be viewed across continents.

This day is a morale booster for people – perhaps now needed more than ever to instil faith in good things to come.

—The writer is known for her articles on cultural impact.

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