Celebrating 14 August as Pakistan’s Independence Day
Pakistan, our motherland, was created from undivided India on 14 August 1947, at the time of India’s independence from the British Empire, as a result of a long, consistent and arduous struggle of the All India Muslim league under an able and outstanding leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who is graciously called the founding father of Pakistan.
The country was created on the basis of two nation theory, which was propounded by Allama Muhammad Iqbal, and ChaudhryRahmat Ali.
In his 1940 address at Lahore, while demanding and justifying a separate state for the Indian Muslims,Quaid-e-Azamgave out the details of the two nation theory in following words.
“Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs and literary traditions. They neither intermarry nor eat together, and indeed they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions”.
The two nation theory, seeking a separate state for the Indian Muslims, was adopted after Quaid-e-Azam witnessed in in 1928,that his following 14 points on parliamentary reforms in the united India, meant to safeguard the interests of the Muslims, were totally rejected by the Indian Congress Leader Nehru by terming those as “Jinnah’s ridiculous 14 points”.The 14 points contained following main demands.
India’s future constitution should be federal, with full autonomy/residual powers to the provinces. In the Central Legislature, Muslim representation shall not be less than one-third. Any territorial distribution at any stage/time shall not affect the Muslim majority in Punjab, Bengal and NWFP provinces.
Full religious liberty shall be guaranteed to all communities. One-third representation shall be given to Muslims in both central and provincial cabinets. Sindh should be separated from the Bombay to a province.
The Muslims should be given an adequate share in all services.The Constitution should embody adequate safeguards for the Muslims’ religious/cultural rights.No change will be made in the constitution without the consent of the provinces.
Hence after Nehru’s above mentioned rejection, it became clear that in the united India the Hindus majority would always treat the Muslims as a minority and Quaid-e-Azam started his struggle for creation of Pakistan based on the two nation theory, and ultimately India was divided by the British government into two countries on 14 August 1947 as per the partition plan based on following principles: successor governments would be given dominion status; both the countries be autonomous and sovereign; Both countries can make their own constitution; princely States were given the right to join either Pakistan or India, based on two major factors,geographical contiguity and the people’s wishes.
The two nation theory and the creation of Pakistan have been vindicated by the anti-Muslims discriminatory violent and atrocious policies of the Modi led BJP government in India.
Since the creation of Pakistan out of India was not less than a miracle, every year, 14 August is celebrated as Pakistan’s Independence Day by expressing a lot of love and fervor for the country by organizing various types of eventsby the government as well as the state/private institutions/organizations, schools/universities and the people of Pakistan paying thanks to Almighty Allah for giving us a separate home land and feeling proud of being Pakistanis.
During 14 August celebration debates/discussions, a review is also made that to what extent the Pakistani rulers, its institutions and the people have succeeded in making Pakistan a politically, socially, economically and militarily strong democratic and Islamic welfare state as was envisioned by the Quaid-e-Azamand expressed by him in his many addresses.And, on 14 August every year, a resolve is also made at all levels to work for further progress of the country in all areas.
At the occasion of celebrating 14 Augustas Pakistan’sIndependence Day (Diamond Jubilee), this year it seems that the Pakistani rulers, its state/private institutions/companies and the people have made a robust constitution, developed a resilient agricultural, industrial, road/communication infrastructure, energy,services, and real estate sectors, and it has well educated officials/professionalsto sustain Pakistan’s democratic system, its economy, its justice system, social development, religious values and its foreign policy. The rivers water issue with India was resolved through the Indus water treaty.
To defend Pakistan from external and internal threats, Pakistan has strong armed forces and it is also a nuclear power.It has already successfully defeated many foreign sponsored/created threats.
However,in 1971 we lost the then East Pakistan because of political intolerance and antagonism.
Also, Pakistani rulers have not been able to manage Pakistan’s economy efficiently as they could not sustain a good economic growth rate, could not improve the tax system to make robustdevelopment budgets, they depended too much on foreign and domestic debts, corruption/black marketing and nepotism was not curbed, and exports were not given major attention and hence could not create a robust amount of foreign exchange reserves to pay back foreign loan installments and to cater for other emergent situations.The Kashmir dispute is yet to be resolved.
Resultantly, in the last 50 years, Pakistani rulers have amassed a foreign debt of 128 billion US dollars without creatinga capacity to pay back annual foreign loan installments, and Pakistan is currently compelled to get further loans from the IMF and friendly countries to save it from becoming a defaulting country.
And, while meeting the IMF conditions, Pakistani Rupee has been devalued too much and inflation has risen too high and the middle class and the poor people are suffering.
Also, because of the power lust and lack of tolerance in our political parties, political antagonism is polarizing the society.
Therefore, while celebrating the Pakistan Day this year, there is a need that our all political parties resolve to tolerate each other, hold a dialogue immediately and jointly evolve a 20 years duration politico/economic plan, to hold free and fair elections after every five years and let the winner party rule the country for five years to attain political stability, evolve a consensus based system to address corruption, and focus on export enhancing and peoples welfare oriented economic development as per Quaid-e-Azam’s vision, and create minimum 80 billion US dollars foreign exchange reserves in the next 20 years to make the country economically strong and sovereign.
In this context, the important state institutions should influence and help the political parties in evolving such a plan and in implementing it.
[The writer is the former Research Fellow of IPRI and Senior Research Fellow of SVI Islamabad.]