Illustration by Ziauddin
Illustration by Ziauddin

We all know that Pakistan Day commemorates the passing of the Lahore Resolution, when the All-India Muslim League held its annual session from March 22 to March 24, 1940, at Minto Park, Lahore, and passed the resolution demanding a separate homeland for the Muslims living under the British Indian Empire.

It was done on the basis of the two-nation theory, where it is stated that Hindus and the Muslims are two different nations with different religions and values, therefore, they cannot coexist peacefully. Hence, All India Muslim League started demanding a separate homeland for the Muslims.

Several extraordinary individuals, under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, played a remarkable role in bringing the dream of a new state of Pakistan into reality. These leaders were able to convince the then British government that the Indian Muslims needed a separate homeland. And, as a result, we have this beautiful motherland, full of natural resources. So this was a historical check to the significance of the day, when the major event occurred.

Let’s come to the present. What does Pakistan Day mean to you? Another school holiday to lay down and change your display picture to the Pakistan flag on any of your social media accounts? Wear a green and white bandana, a suit or a mask (thanks to Covid-19) which is really ‘in’ these days.

For most of the youth today, this all seems quite exciting, but if I ask how many years have passed since Pakistan became independent, most people will be left gazing in the air. Fewer still have a clear awareness of the trials and tribulations our forefathers underwent to free the country from the British yoke.

Reminding the kids and youth of today about the importance of Pakistan Day or Independence Day has become very important; considering the countless things happening around in their social life, it has just become another tough target for parents and teachers alike.

I believe mine and even the generation before mine, didn’t have to remind the youth to love their country, as we or our parents and teachers have to do now. Perhaps it is because kids in the past had limited social circle comprising just their family, neighbours, and school or college friends. There wasn’t any concept of social media, so they questioned less and believed much, as compared to people today, who have set their priorities which revolve around their life and their life only. Therefore, they give very little attention to the times gone by.

But this cannot change the reality, the reality of living in a free land. It’s time to reflect whether you are too busy taking your freedom for granted, or if you are actually doing anything to empower the next generation.

Like every ‘national day’, Pakistan Day is also a day to evoke a sense of pride and patriotism among us all. Kids, liberty is not something which we should take for granted. Rather it is up to us to ensure that the things that guarantee our freedom continue to remain powerful throughout our lives and for all the generations to come.

So, let’s have a reality check. The life you are living as citizens of a free land is a blessing and in this same world, there are people facing the same turmoil your forefathers faced in the past. These people are living a nightmarish life in today’s world.

If you don’t have an idea of what liberty and living in a free state mean, let me it sum up — living free is living the way you want, going wherever you want, studying and doing anything that you are doing without being worried about someone taking these rights away from you. You don’t have to worry about saving food, you can reach out to any hospital or buy necessary medicines if you have to.

On the contrary, living under someone else’s rule is living the way the ruler wants you to live. You are restricted to follow certain polices that most likely curtain your movement, freedom of speech, access to education, freedom to buy necessities and do a job. For instance, you won’t be allowed to study in a reputable school or college, you won’t buy good food or go to places freely. You will be asked everywhere for permits and identity documents, you will be restricted to enter certain places.

Just imagine this terrible scenario for a second, and then imagine that our forefathers have gone through all this in the past. Yes, they were governed by foreigners who imposed rules that led to discrimination in all spheres of life, that disregarded the cultural and religious norms of the locals. It was a society that thrived on divide and rule, not letting Muslims prosper for that would lead to a demand of equitable representation and resources.

If you realise how hard it must have been for our forefathers before independence, only then you will understand the meaning and significance of living in a free state, which is the result of the Pakistan Resolution, a resolution that is considered as one of the most powerful political movements in the world of politics.

“How blessed we are!” You must have heard these words being said by your elders, but believe me kids, these four words are so meaningful if you take into account whatever you have.

Unfortunately, at the moment, there are many countries around the world which are severely damaged by long or on-going wars, where cities are in shambles due to unrest and civilians face dire circumstances. Most often, war-torn countries also have a conflict going on between different groups in the same country. These war-torn countries not only face high numbers of casualties, but also destroyed infrastructure that can take years to rebuild post-war. Many flee such lands and lose both their belonging and loved ones, and becoming refugees in countries that don’t want them.

The current conflict you all may be witnessing on your TV screens and reading about in newspapers is the war between Russia and Ukraine. There are also ongoing conflicts, between internal and external forces, in other countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Mexico, Somalia, Libya, DR Congo, Central African Republic, the Kurdish-Turkey Conflict, Ethiopia, and still many more.

Often times, the violence in one country spills over into neighbouring countries, resulting in conflict and unrest there too. Kids, this is just so upsetting that even in today’s advanced world, so many people are fighting for freedom.

Pakistan was a dream of Allama Iqbal and our freedom fighters, and, under the powerful leadership of Quaid-i-Azam, the dream was carved into a reality! You, the young generation, is the future of the nation and you are needed to be told about the glorious past always.

Let’s not mark this March 23 as just Pakistan Day, but as the day for revitalising and reawakening the national resolve to stand firm, strong and united against all challenges with courage, enthusiasm and determination.

Let’s be thankful for what we have and don’t let the sacrifices of our founding leaders be in vain. Be responsible citizens who respect their fellow beings, who respect the liberty and freedom of this great land called Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, Young World, March 19th, 2022

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