Tattering flag of Pakistan


Zahid Malik

Thursday, May 03, 2012 – Flag of a country is the highest symbol of respect. Once upon a time the national flag of the IslamicRepublic of Pakistan too was respected in the highest esteem. But, dear countrymen, look at the above flag of Pakistan (No.1) and please read its caption once again!
It was most shocking and really disgusting to see the photograph of a worn to shreds and shabby National Flag flying at the Sindh Assembly building. It must have turned into this almost rotten stage after the utter neglect of months and months. No one bothered to take notice of this act of criminal negligence. After having seen the photograph, which appeared in this newspaper, tears started rolling down my eyes. I felt deeply hurt and shocked over the lack of sensitivity by all those who sit in this august Assembly i.e. status conscious public representatives, the worthy Leader of the House i.e. the Chief Minister, H.E. Syed Qaim Ali Shah and a host of Government officials. I then dispatched a gleaming new Flag to the Sindh Assembly Secretariat through the Karachi Chapter of the Nazriya Pakistan Council of which I am the Chairman. I would urge the worthy readers of this newspaper to please see again the above National Flag that was adorned at the historic Sindh Assembly building in a pitiable condition and somewhat not recognizable.
The National Flag, approved by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and then the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, should always be treated with the respect and dignity it deserves as the nation’s foremost national symbol. Apart from the fact that the national flag is a symbol of honour and prestige, there are several established protocols for its use. These, among other things, require that the flag should never be flown when in a damaged, faded or in a dilapidated condition. When the fabric of a flag deteriorates to a point where it is no longer suitable for use, it should be wrapped up in a dignified way.
I need not emphasize the fact that dignity of the National Flag enhances citizens’ consciousness of the State and promotes the spirit of patriotism. The National Flag also symbolizes the authority of the State and that is why our President, the Prime Minister and high ups in Islamabad draw strength from it as it is kept at a conspicuous place in their offices. Supervision and administration of the display and use of the National Flag within premises is the responsibility of the respective authorities, yet I am sorry to say that officials of the Sindh Assembly as well as the Government seem to be totally oblivious of this protocol.
The question arises how come no one in the Sindh Assembly, which houses offices of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and 164 elected representatives, dozens of officials of all sorts besides scores of visitors, did not notice this pitiable condition of the flag and took no initiative for its replacement? The Sindh Assembly is situated at one of the busiest roads of Karachi from where thousands of vehicles pass daily including those of the political figures, President of Banks including the State Bank of Pakistan, business tycoons, notables and members of the media but ironically no one noticed humiliation of the flag for long. The prestigious Press Club is not far away from the Sindh Assembly building and why it too failed to observe this glaring apathy.
Let me be very frank that this apathy and disrespect to the National Flag is reflective of the present state of affairs at the Federal and Provincial levels. Our political leadership has been too much involved in politics and in attending to its personal agenda. It has scant interest in the State affairs and they have no realization of the fact that the country is sinking both in terms of security and economy. The political leadership is just engaged day in and day out in point scoring and is least bothered that they are enjoying this position and status because of this State of Quaid-i-Azam. If Pakistan was not established, some of those seen in the corridors of power and others with fake degrees would have been tea boys or shoe shiners in united India.
I would not like to go into details but let me say, according to some Pakistan-watcher, the country is heading towards a failed State. If it is not so, how come Bannu jail breakers, about 400 in number, who launched assault arrived in 60 cars and pick-up trucks and encountered no resistance at all! A Taliban commander is quoted by some as having told one fighter before the launch of the operation, “We are going to a wedding party to bring home a bride,” and the bride in this case was Adnan Rashid awaiting death sentence for attack on former President Pervez Musharraf. They garlanded the bride and took him with them. There are such mind-boggling and gruesome happenings on a daily basis and all this is testimony to the fact that those at the helm of affairs are least bothered about their responsibilities towards the State and the symbols of the State.
I may also, with due respect, ask the independent judiciary why it did not take the suo motu notice of this disrespect to theNational Flag when the above picture of the flag appeared in this newspaper? While the honourable Judges are fond of taking suo motu notices over even minor issues like recovery of a bottle of liquor from the handbag of Attiqa Odhu they closed their eyes to an apathy of criminal proportions. I am confident that had the apex court taken notice of the issue, it would have further enhanced its prestige and respect.
While I finished my comments, airing my extreme annoyance and frustration over the tattered flag of Pakistan, another picture of worn-out flag (No.2) appeared in a newspaper!
I would not go to the extent that whether Pakistan itself is tattering and after having expressed my disgust for all those who showed disrespect to the flags, being an optimist, I am not disappointed with the future of Pakistan. I say so because the nation has the resilience and our people are unparalleled in pushing their way forward despite various odds.

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