A day of strong resolve23 March 2020
Shakeel A. Malik
Anniversaries of destiny shaping moments in nations' history offer opportunities to celebrate the achievements. The national occasions also make the citizens reflect on the reasons for failing to achieve the objectives set by the founding fathers.
This time around, the nation is reliving history-altering days of All India Muslim League's annual session convened from 22 to 24 March 1940 in Lahore. In this assembly an historic Resolution was adopted that seven years later led to creation of an independent country - Pakistan. The demise of the Quaid almost a year after the country's inception deprived the newly born state of a visionary leader. The leadership void created by Jinnah's death was to haunt the country for decades to come.
Our national history though not without its proud moments has generally been a disappointing saga of unfulfilled agenda envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. During the course of our national journey the challenges of ill-governance, weak economy, lack of human development, and absence of rule of law continued to become formidable.
While the Muslims of sub-continent found a homeland, the new state could not become economically self-reliant. The servile dependence didn't let the country shed the colonial mindset. The Quaid's exhortation of March 1940 to depend on the "inherent strength" to safeguard nation's rights and interests could not get a place in policies.
Today, inevitable and unprecedented reforms are underway to bring about a positive turnaround. As Naya (new) Pakistan is committed to achieving Jinnah's ideals, the nation has compelling reasons to mark this momentous Day with utmost fervour. The significance of this day has increased several-fold as the nation tightens its belts to act on Jinnah's guiding principles. The whole spectrum of political and military leadership, civil society, media along with the people are on one page in their resolve to translate words and intents into actions towards socio-economic empowerment of the people. In the backdrop of a people-centric agenda, an informal charter between the people and the government has come into play to pull the country out of the crises of past years that didn't let the nation celebrate its nationhood with full heart.
This year it is not a ritualistic observance seeking escape for a while from the plethora of problems. The celebrations have rather become all the more meaningful as the leadership and the people are bridging the crucial link between the ideals and their practical realization. In the Resolution the Quaid-e-Azam had made an emphatically convincing case for a separate homeland. Years later, Prime Minister Imran Khan has presented a strong case that if we don't abide by Jinnah's principles we will miss the godsend chance to come out of the quagmire of colossal challenges.
It's time we hearken to concluding words of Jinnah in his March 1940 speech, when he warned that "Unless you get this into your blood, unless you are prepared to take off your coats and are willing to sacrifice all that you can…you will never realise your aim."
The nation celebrates Yaum-e-Pakistan with redoubled confidence after the real causes of issues stand identified and actions are in progress to arrest the decline and ameliorate socio-economic conditions. This would require huge national effort not less than the one made by the Muslims of the sub-continent. The confidence reigns supreme as the leadership is truly inspired by the Quaid-e-Azam and his epic mission. Prime Minister Imran Khan's reform agenda of Naya Pakistan is based on the golden ideals of the founding father.
The masses now have stronger hopes as the government is pulling the country out of the colonial mindset. This is happening long after Jinnah liberated the nation from the colonial rule. The country is geared towards financial and diplomatic independence as the government has vowed never again to compromise on country's national interests. The international community is in praise of Pakistan's peace overtures in the region. Leadership's peace gestures are in line with the vision of the Quaid who believed in living in peace with the neighbours.
The minorities in Pakistan are celebrating the Pakistan Day with ecstatic jubilation as Prime Minister Khan has assured that Naya Pakistan is for all people who will be equal citizens. Opening of Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh community is in the same spirit. On this count too the Prime Minister is in sync with the spirit of Pakistan Resolution that had proposed safeguards in the constitutions for protection of minorities' rights.
In his message on the Quaid's birth anniversary last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan swore that past mistakes will not be repeated and the nation would work in unison to translate Jinnah's vision into reality. On many occasions, the Prime Minister has said how far the nation has drifted away from the ideal of social justice for all, a principle that the Quaid believed could elevate Pakistan to the stature of one of the greatest nations.
We have all the more good reasons to mark the special day of 23rd March with greater enthusiasm as the nation has commenced its united march to build Naya Pakistan. The spirit of 1940s has been rekindled and a massive wave of patriotism and unity has swept through the whole nation. The customary commemoration of the Day has given way to display of powerful determination to develop spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life of the people as was desired by the Quaid in his March 1940 address. This time this great day is not going to pass without strong resolutions pledged by our upbeat nation towards building an economically strong social welfare state.
(The writer is an Islamabad-based contributor.)