August 14, 1947, is the most important day in the history of Pakistan. In 1947, this was the day when, under the inspiring guidance of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and after a long struggle, the Muslims of India achieved a free homeland.

We celebrate this day in a befitting manner. The official festivities begin with flag raising ceremonies in Islamabad and the provincial capitals. Most schools hold special Independence Day programmes, flags are hoisted on rooftops and terraces, and children wear badges on their arms.

But sadly, over the passage of time, all this has become a sort of norm. We all do these things not from patriotism or love for Pakistan, but because everyone around us is doing the same. The fervour and love for our homeland and the fierce sense of ownership, which should be the essence of the celebrations, seems to be missing.

I was born to parents who had witnessed the Pakistan Movement. When Pakistan came into being, they, and most people of their generation, gave up their ancestral homes, properties and friends without a second thought. Their hearts filled with hope, they happily migrated towards the land of their dream.

For them Pakistan, ‘The land of the pure’, would be the country where peace, honesty, dedication, tolerance and justice would be the order of the day; where the Muslim majority would lead their lives in compliance with the teachings of Islam and also let non-Muslims freely follow their respective religious beliefs; where the three golden principles of Quaid-i-Azam, Unity, Faith and Discipline would form the base of society and where the law would rule supreme!

Tragically, after the initial few years of Pakistan’s creation, things began moving in the wrong direction. Greed, lust for power, corruption and putting personal gains over national interests started gnawing into the roots of our new found homeland. There was a total lack of will on the part of the people at the helm of national affairs to root out illiteracy and poverty from Pakistan.

And the resultant downslide in the conditions of our country has not stopped to this day!

Today, Pakistan is facing multiple troubles. Religious fanaticism, political instability, ever increasing foreign loan burden, corruption, illiteracy, inflation and an immense shortage of electricity and gas are only a few of these problems. The Pakistan that our forefathers dreamed about and the one that our great leader envisioned, is no where to be found!

Friends, our Quaid had great faith in us. On one occasion he said, “My young friends, I look forward to you as the real makers of Pakistan, do not be exploited and do not be misled. Create amongst yourselves complete unity and solidarity. Set an example of what youth can do. Your main occupation should be in fairness to yourself, to your parents, in fairness to the State, to devote your attention to your studies. If you fritter away your energies now, you will always regret.”

Talking about the importance of education our great leader stated, “Without education it is complete darkness and with education it is light. Education is a matter of life and death to our nation. No sacrifice of time or personal comfort should be regarded too great for the advancement of the cause of education.”

This year, on August 14, when we hoist the national flag on our rooftops and terraces let us resolve to work hard to raise the prestige of Pakistan in the world. When we pin Pakistani flag badges on our dress, let us pledge that we shall use these arms to root out corruption, injustice, greed and illiteracy from our homeland.

I feel that I and the people of my generation have failed miserably to put our country on the right track. By giving up the teachings of Islam and the guidelines our Quaid gave us, we have contributed towards the downfall of Pakistan.

But I am pinning my hopes on my young friends. Children are called the architects of the future of a nation. With your concentrated efforts, you can pull out Pakistan from the quagmire it is stuck in. By adopting the guiding principles of Unity, Faith and Discipline, and with dedication and hard work, you can guide Pakistan towards a bright and prosperous future.

Friends, let’s join hands and vow to strive and sacrifice with dedication and love for our country, just as our forefathers did.

In the end, I would again like to quote Mohammad Ali Jinnah, our visionary leader, “We have weathered the worst storms and the safety of the shore, though distant, is in sight. We can look to the future with robust confidence provided we do not relax and fritter away our energies in internal dissensions. There never was greater need for discipline and unity in our ranks. It is only with united effort and faith in our destiny that we shall be able to translate the Pakistan of our dreams into reality.”

Long live Pakistan!

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