Pakistan has just turned 72 as the people living and breathing in its width and breadth celebrated yet another Independence Day quite enthusiastically on August 14, 2019 with the continued blessings of Almighty Allah. This was indeed a great occasion which the Pakistanis celebrated both individually and collectively , officially as well as unofficially.
Lot of developments had taken place since the last Independence Day was celebrated a year back. Following July 25, 2018 free, fair, orderly and peaceful general elections, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) headed by Imran Khan had formed the federal government for the first time in Islamabad and also in Punjab at Lahore and second time in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwah in Peshawar.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had visited number of friendly countries including Saudi Arabia, China, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey and Qatar among others virtually in a whirlwind manner mainly for boosting bilateral relations trying to these to new heights and for securing much needed financial assistance for overcoming serious economic crisis and averting looming threat of Pakistan defaulting in terms of repayment of loans and payment of interest/mark up on massively secured foreign loans.
But two important developments had taken place in quick succession to each in third week of July 2018 both internally and externally. Prime Minister Imran Khan had paid a 3 days visit to USA at the invitation of President Donald Trump and it turned out to be historical one as the host President offered mediation to resolve long lingering and burning Kashmir dispute thus internationalizing the issue after many years and there were also signs of warmness in place of coldness ion the bilateral relations of both the old allies.
And more importantly, the lingering process of merger of the tribal areas in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwah province was completed and the tribal people were given equal status like rest of Pakistanis when they elected their representatives to the KPK Provincial Assembly for the first time ever.
And it is also significant to mention that in the wake of quite blatant and unilateral action of India’s Modi Government to change the status of Indian occupied Kashmir, the federal government had announced to celebrate the Independence Day as Kashmir Solidarity Day and pledge to continue supporting Kashmiris in their just indigenous struggle for securing birth right of self-determination morally, politically and diplomatically was reiterated both at the government and peoples level quite emphatically and repeatedly.
While celebrating the Independence Day as Kashmir Solidarity Day, the people not only expressed their heart felt gratitude in all possible manners to Almighty Allah but also remembered and paid rich tributes to the Pakistan Movement leaders and forefathers whose struggle , sufferings and sacrifices had resulted in the creation of new motherland for the Muslims of the sub-continent under the inspiring leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah . This great occasion, as usual, also called for some soul searching and catharsis regarding how much had given and is continuously giving us and how much we have repaid the heavy debts in all these years and doing the same regularly in every day, week, month, year, decades etc.
Pakistan had surfaced on the world map out of nowhere under the statesmanship and principled leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah who had led the Muslims in an inspiring and determined manner to liberate them from the shackles of British rule and Hindus economic hegemony on the basis of a concept of separate homeland for the Muslims which was presented by great philosopher and poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal who had not lived long to see Pakistan coming into existence on August 14, 1947.
The Quaid-i-Azam also had also departed to eternity much sooner leaving behind three golden principles of Unity, Faith and Discipline which need to be continuously remembered practically in letter and spirit by all of us by sustaining faith, forging unity in our ranks and files and adhering and observing discipline both individually and collectively while combating internal and external challenges squarely and moving forward together on the path of progress, development, prosperity and self-reliance and upholding national solidarity and sovereignty.
Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in one of his historic had also quite emphatically and categorically stated now that Pakistan has come into existence, every person living within the territories of Pakistan, hbe he/she a Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Christian or professing any other faith, he/she is a Pakistani as religion is an individual’s personal belief.
Ever ince the early departure of the Father of the Nation, Pakistan had been facing and overcoming host of internal as well as external challenges and problems. But the challenges of terrorism, militancy and extremism in all their manifestations it is facing for the last more than four decades are of very critical, serious and problematic nature threatening both directly and indirectly Pakistan’s security, solidarity and sovereignty more than anything else.
Muslim men, women and children of the sub-continent in large number , as a matter of record, had struggled and suffered and offered great sacrifices for securing a separate , independent and sovereign country of their own. Now they are offering even much more sacrifices for preserving, safeguarding and protecting their security and solidarity while combating menaces of terrorism,, extremism and militancy in all their manifestations.
It is quite commendable to mention here that all the Armed Forces of Pakistan Army, Air Force and Navy as well as Rangers, Police and law enforcement agencies officers and jawans fully backed and supported by the government, political leadership and the people are laying down their lives for ensuring and safeguarding ideological and geographical frontiers of Pakistan in a determined and committed manner.
It is also desirable, to say the least, that the people of Pakistan should forge and maintain complete unity in their ranks and file, be above petty selfish personal, political and regional biases and interests, keep the national interests supreme and uppermost in their minds and hearts in all their activities , stay united brushing aside all petty differences remembering that they owe a lot to Pakistan for breathing and flourishing in a free and independent atmosphere.
We should all be discharging our duties and obligations sincerely, honestly and objectively, remembering all the time our obligations towards Pakistan and its people while demanding more and still more for ourselves. Besides remembering always what we owe to our beloved motherland, if only we can ensure being punctual, avoid wastage of time, misuse and abuse of public money treating it as a sacred trust and try to do something good, positive and nice every day towards our community, society at large and the motherland on the whole, lot of our problems would be solved amicably and automatically.
Please always also keep trying utmost to be a good, responsible and patriotic Pakistani and keep doing good work, be it of minor or major nature, for the society and the motherland on the whole keeping the national interests uppermost and supreme in all situations and circumstances. This will surely and certainly go a long way in preserving, protecting and safeguarding our hard earned independence and ensuring much desired and needed national security, unity, solidarity and sovereignty no matter how much we suffer. We are free and independent because of Pakistan with the blessings of Almighty Allah. LONG LIVE PAKISTAN.
The writer is Lahore-based Freelance Journalist, Columnist and retired Deputy Controller (News) Radio Pakistan Islamabad