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Posted on March 23, 2013
“Pakistan Day” is observed every year on 23rd March by the people of Pakistan to commemorate the unprecedented achievement of the Muslims of sub-continent who passed the historic Pakistan Resolution on this day at Iqbal Park Lahore in 1940. The day would help raise awareness among the new generation about the struggle of the Muslims for their right to self-determination.
Pakistan’s struggle for independence (1857-1947) was not merely aimed for the freedom of a country, but it was to bring into being such an independent realm wherein the Muslims of sub-continent could build a new society and a new state in the light of their faith, ideology, laws and values, culture and civilization. The Quaid-e-Azam awakened and organized the Muslims by assembling them on a single platform. Many Muslims feared the destruction of their way of life in a Hindu-dominated independent India. Thus, the demand for the break-up of India in 1940 was made when the Muslims came to the conclusion that the Hindu majority was simply not willing to concede their basic rights in a united India. They belonged to two separate and distinct nations and therefore the only chance open was to allow them to have separate states.
Pakistan became an independent entity on August 14, 1947. It was very unfortunate that immediately after independence, Quaid’s demise created a vacuum of leadership. The leadership crisis was further aggravated by assassination of the first Prime Minister and early dismissal of the second PM. Taking advantage from the fragile internal political situation, Indian think tank started to virulent campaign to present a negative picture of Pakistan with a view to disintegrate Pakistan. This was the poor state in which Pakistan was finding herself just few years after independence. Pakistan inherited territories comprises of diversified sub-cultures - Sindhi, Punjabi, Bal0chi, Bengali, Pashtun, Kashmiri having much in common like religion, folkways and mores with minor old rivalries and animosities. However, Pakistan has had a restless political history ever since, punctuated by ethnic and sectarian strains and by recurrent military coups. Today, the very unifying factors which led to the creation of Pakistan have been weakening rapidly. All of a sudden, the country finds itself at an historic crossroads with seriously jeopardized future. Pakistan is under enormous pressure from all sides, from tensions with India to Talibanization of mainland, political infightings, to a financial crisis that threatens the solvency of the Pakistani state, to national identity crisis. All of this is being held together by a fledgling civilian government. The Pakistani society will keep on facing the syndrome of “identity crisis”, unless the cementing forces of cohesion and integration are not rejuvenated.
A number of forces have served to draw Pakistan together into nationhood. The most obvious has been Islam, which represents a common bond tying its peoples together. Ever since independence in 1947, Pakistan sought to identify itself with other Muslim nations by forming a common platform to mend mutual disputes and differences amongst Muslim countries. As ‘terrorism’ became associated with Muslim hardliners, the West started perceiving them as a biggest threat. The 9/11 tragic incident brought geo-political changes in the South Asia; (1) It divided global society into Muslims and non-Muslims. (2) It surfaced as war between Sunni and Shia in places like Hazara community Quetta, Parachinar, DI Khan, Northern Areas and Hangu. (3) It pitched Taliban element against Pakistan Army in Bajour, North Waziristan, Dara Adem khel, Khyber and Swat. Nonetheless, Islam - as a system and way of life - is certainly called on to play a more active role in promoting coordination amongst the provinces of Pakistan. Democratic lifestyle in the Muslim society existed during the period of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and during the time of caliphate it reached its zenith. In fact, the so-called western democratization of institutions has been adopted from the Muslim concept of governance.
Another most important gluing factor in promoting national cohesion and integration is the thesis of “ordering their lives in accordance with their religion, culture and traditions”. The book titled “JInnah: India-Partition-Independence” authored by Jaswant Singh held Indian Congress leaders more responsible for the partition of subcontinent in 1947. The scholarly work has been much appreciated in Pakistan for its objective historical judgments and angle regarding the personality of Quaid-i-Azam. In India, the history books in schools and colleges portray the character of Jinnah as “hatred figure” responsible for the partition of mother land India. Jaswant Singh has stirred the hornet’s nest by writing that it was not Jinnah but Pandit Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and Congress who actually divided the sub-continent during the independence struggle. The historical record shows that almost all Muslim leaders wanted self rule for the Muslims. For Jinnah, “the creation of a State of our own was a means to an end and not the end in itself. The idea was that we should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play” (11 October 1947). This awareness that Muslims and Hindus can not live under one umbrella is the main binding force of being united.
Pakistan’s brilliant nationalist spirit was discovered during 23rd March, 1940. The historic Lahore Resolution of 1940 ignited unprecedented enthusiasm and spirit amongst Muslims of the sub-continent. Then, during partition of Indo-Pakistan in 1947, where the new nation lost its enterprising generation, but it was undoubtedly soul stirring to see people (already residing in the new country), galvanized in making all out efforts to voluntarily help immigrants accommodate in the new country. In the same vein, the current issues like provincial autonomy, fair distribution of resources in the new National Finance Commission (NFC) award, construction of dams, economic meltdown, Indo-Pak relations and war on terror, can be tackled inside the parliament by forming comprehensive strategy. All people have the right to decide their own future, and no other group, whether of an exploiting nationality or an exploiting class can impose its will on another for long. Federalism in Pakistan caters for cultural pluralism and is based on respect for regional identities. In order to resolve the issues, we must create religious fraternity and harmony among Muslims at all levels of the society. With participation of the public, the government functionaries, the political parties, and the religious scholars at various levels, we can come out of our “national identity crisis”. On the other hand, provinces should reciprocate by sacrificing their personal gains over the larger interest of the country, keeping in mind the resurgence of national identity within the context of Pakistani society. On 73rd anniversary of the Pakistan’s day, let us make a pledge with ourselves to work together as one unit (overlooking traditional grievances) to carve the true and great potential of Pakistan.
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