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I looked out of my window towards the early morning blue sky that was shimmering due to the golden light of the cool sun. I watched the chirping birds squawking at each other over the best place to sit. Trees were swaying to the gentle breeze, as if they were dancing in sync with the peace and serenity.

I kept looking out of my window till the sun rose high and the hustle bustle of people on my street multiplied. I watched a girl eat a packet of crisps and saw her throw the empty wrapper on the road. I watched a raggedly-dressed man spit a mouthful of paan on the sidewalk. I watched an old man hobbling with his walking stick, trying to cross the busy street, but no one stepping forward to help him.

I watched a mob of teenagers bullying a small kid, who was on his way back home from school. I watched a car speed past the red traffic light. I watched two men yelling and fighting with each other over a mere car accident. I saw an old lady carrying a bundle of heavy grocery bags, her arms giving way under the strain of the weight, but nobody helping her.

Being patriotic just on August 14 is not all that we owe to our motherland. Our country needs our selfless service and love throughout the year

I watched all this and much more, and my heart ached over the indifference of our society towards their moral obligations.

Pakistan is our country, motherland and home. Pakistan is our identity and pride. It is the place where we can breathe in free air, the place where we can practice our religion without any fear. Pakistan’s strong foundation was laid by the blood and sweat of our ancestors. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives only to give us this free piece of land.

Our leaders like Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan struggled hard just to give us our identity as an independent nation. However, we are letting all their efforts and hard work go in vain.

Today, Pakistan is going through a major crisis. It is true that our leaders and politicians are to blame for it, but it is also true that we are all responsible for the crumbling state of our nation.

We are responsible for wasting water and electricity, for littering roads and for breaking traffic rules. We are responsible for depriving people of their rights, for wasting food when many other people in our country are starving, for blaming others when we are responsible for the crisis faced by our country.

Despite all we do, most of us today want to settle abroad, in a better environment, with better jobs. How fair is it that all our lives we consume the resources of our country, and when we are capable enough to earn and pay back our debts to the country, we settle abroad and serve foreign lands?

Most of us do not realise that our country needs us in order to prosper, but we think it better to provide our services to other nations only because they pay us more. Since when did money become more important than obligations?

How many of you have visited foreign countries and purposefully thrown empty wrappers on the road? None of you, right? Is it only because other countries have stricter rules and heavy fines against littering? Does it mean that we will remember moral values and ethics only when we are bound by rules?

Most of us think that if we dress up in green, hold a flag in our hands, and sing national songs on August 14, we are demonstrating true love for our country. But we all should realise that our country needs our selfless service and love throughout the year, we should love and respect our fellow Pakistanis and live as a united nation.

This 14th August, let us pledge that we will show sincere love towards our motherland, love and help each other, plant trees, refrain from littering or picking up fights, conserve our natural resources and obey all rules. Only if we understand the debts we owe to our nation and think of it as an obligation to pay them back, can we help our country prosper. Long live Pakistan!

Published in Dawn, Young World, August 11th, 2018