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Our country was very close to war a few weeks ago. We are faced with an enemy country where ethnic minorities, notably Sikhs and Muslims, have been constantly persecuted and killed. It may be argued that it is the result of state-led terrorism or the work of extremist Hindus, but one thing is clear — Hindus and Muslims cannot co-exist in a Hindu majority country without there being serious trouble.

That fact was foreseen by our national heroes, including the likes of Allama Mohammad Iqbal and Mohammad Ali Jinnah in the 1930s. The following words of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah are famous in this regard:

“It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religions in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different social orders. It is a dream that the Hindu and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality; and this misconception of one Indian nation has gone far beyond the limits, and is the cause of most of our troubles, and will lead India to destruction, if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and the Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs and literature …. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and the final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state.”

Starting from 1947, we have more than seventy years of history that proves the truth in his statement. Pakistan and India have fought wars and have remained enemies all these years. There has been severe trouble in India with persecution and genocide of Muslims, particularly in states of Bihar and Kashmir.

As such, March 23 is the day to salute our visionary heroes who saved the Muslims of Pakistan from the oppression that they would have faced from Hindus in an undivided India. For it is on this day in 1940, that the formal adoption of the idea of separate Muslim state took place in a session of All India Muslim League (a Muslim political party). That idea served the basis of Muslims’ political struggle for a separate homeland in the subcontinent. And those efforts yielded fruit in the form of Pakistan on August 14, 1947.

We proudly post the pictures of our favourite celebrities, cricket heroes, PAF pilots, political leaders, etc. on our social networking profiles, we should also find ways to honour our national heroes in a similar way. The starting point for that would be the realisation of the grand favour they did to you and I - the favour that made our lives free from the negative influence of any other nation.

Once this realisation takes root in our hearts, only then we will love them just like we love and appreciate other celebrities and political leaders of the current era.

So spread this message across and understand the true significance of Pakistan Day.

Here is a to-do list in the context of Pakistan Day:

• Post/ share pictures, sayings and description of work done that relate to our national heroes on social networking sites and apps.

• Visit their tombs and/or graves to show your respect.

• Organise talks and walks in the spirit of the day.

• Organise events in school or local community to pay tribute to the heroes and highlight the true significance of the day.

• Teach your siblings and friends about the great role of the heroes and the spirit of the day.

• Share articles and stories related to the day and the work of the great leaders.

• Visit national monuments like Minar-i-Pakistan, Jinnah Mausoleum, etc.

• Read books about the national heroes and their independence struggle. Gather and read information from internet in this regard.

• Resolve to serve your nation or country in any way possible for you.

• Promote Pakistan’s ideology and the role of our great national leaders.

Remember, only those nations thrive that remember their national heroes, their services and what they stood for. Those that choose to forget them lose their identity and perish!

Published in Dawn, Young World, March 23rd, 2019