Celebrating Pakistan Day
THE emergence of Pakistan on an ideological basis was arguably the most unparalleled event of the 20th Century.
This miracle, as described by some historians, was made possible by the indomitable leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah against the wishes of the Hindu leadership and the British rulers.
It was under his leadership that the Muslims of the sub-continent finally resolved to have a separate homeland which was expressed through a resolution adopted on 23 March 1940 at Lahore.
It was within seven years of the adoption of that resolution that Pakistan became a reality.
Consequently 23 March is celebrated as Pakistan Day every year ostensibly to commemorate that epoch-making development, to express gratitude to the architects of Pakistan for their role in crystallization of the dream of the Muslims of the subcontinent, apprising the new generation about the sacrifices made for independence and above all renewing our pledge as a nation to work relentlessly for the achievement of the goals of independence and the vision bequeathed by the father of the nation.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah not only created Pakistan but also outlined his vision about the course this God-gifted country had to follow for achieving social harmony, ensuring justice and rule of law in the country, waging a crusade against the curse of nepotism and corruption, giving top priority to well-being of the masses and making Pakistan a democratic polity to earn a respectable place in the comity of nations.
Needless to emphasize that the best tribute that a nation can pay to its founding fathers is the implementation of the vision bequeathed by them and traversing their envisaged course.
But it is a regrettable reality that though the nation has been celebrating Pakistan Day as a ritualistic event it has failed to pursue the objectives of independence as outlined by the father of the nation.
Our seven-decade history represents a criminal divergence from objectives of independence and consolidation of the gains of that historic movement.
The responsibility for this state of affairs undoubtedly rests with the political and military leadership of the country which not only has worked to perpetuate the archaic colonial system of governance with ingrained avenues of corruption but the perpetual rift in their outlooks has also kept the country away from progressing as a democratic entity as envisaged by the Quaid.
Corruption has scuttled the moral fabric of the nation which has become an accepted way of life. Consequently the well-being of the masses has remained as elusive as ever.
However, it is heartening to note that the country is poised for a break from its unenviable past and embarking on efforts geared to course-correction.
The political and military leadership unlike the past enjoy rare unanimity of views on dealing with national and international challenges confronting the country with a steely determination.
The political elite and their cohorts who took the national exchequer for a ride and afflicted the entire system with snow-balling corruption, for the first time are facing the process of accountability in the real sense and the sitting government is refusing to succumb to their blackmail and political expediencies.
The agenda of the government accords top priority to well-being of the masses, particularly the poorer sections of the society as is evident from the myriad of initiatives taken under the umbrella of Ehsaas Programme.
Efforts are also on the anvil to reform the system of governance and the way we elect our leaders, notwithstanding the fact that the political opponents of the government are still sticking to their traditional shenanigans to consign the country to perennial instability in an effort to protect their vested interests.
In the domain of foreign policy also the country has been able to refurbish its image at the international level through its role in the fight against terrorism, promoting peace efforts in Afghanistan and a new vision of peace with all its neighbours stemming from its realization that peace in its neighbourhood was imperative for regional connectivity and shared economic prosperity for which there existed enormous potential.
Prime Minister Imran Khan right from the beginning has been emphasizing the need for bonhomie with India through peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute and in spite of the illegal actions of Modi government in the IIOJ&K continues to make peace overtures towards India.
He and the COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa while addressing the National Security Dialogue in Islamabad again stressed the necessity of peace with India observing that economic prosperity could not be sustained without peace in the neighbourhood.
However, they both said that India must commit to giving Kashmiris their right to self-determination as per UNSC resolutions.
General Bajwa also said, “We have realized that unless our own house is in order, nothing good could be expected from outside,” This is a very significant statement.
Putting our own house in order means removing social fault lines, promoting national integration and unity and running the affairs of the country in conformity with the Constitution which obligates the state institutions to remain within their domain of constitutional responsibility. It is a very welcome change in the thinking of the military leadership.
The worth of a nation in the global community as well as its ability to manage international affairs depends on its internal strengths, peace, economic stability and its military prowess.
The working of the military and civil leaders in unison to achieve those objectives surely augurs well for the future and the attainment of the goals of independence.
In the light of the foregoing the nation while celebrating Pakistan Day this year can take encouragement from the fact that finally the things have started moving in the right direction.
On this occasion the opposition parties trying to destabilize the government to protect their vested interests also need to do some rethinking and cooperate with the government in effecting systemic reforms which are essential to put the country on the path envisioned by the Quaid.
— The writer is former Director General Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, based in Islamabad.