Pakistan: A symbol of resilience and endurance
It has been a long journey, with countless ups and downs. The idea which took inception during Sir Syed Ahmed`s time as the 2 nation theory, matured into a dream under Iqbal`s watchful gaze and materialised as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as a result of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah`s rock solid will and untiring efforts.
Even after occupying a permanent spot on the global map, the journey wasn`t a smooth one. The wound inflicted immediately after partition in the form of Kashmir has been bleeding ever since but we have endured. Liaquat Ali Khan, a founding father was assassinated in public, yet we endured. It was the time when Pakistan was at her weakest point. The nation was young, there was a scarcity of resources and enemies were plotting to decapitate us, yet we endured in the face of all the adversities. In 1971, they struck at our heart. The world turned dark for us. My father recalls that people were wailing and weeping everywhere, people didn`t cook food that day, people mourned for days and weeks. We didn`t just lose East Pakistan, we lost a part of our self, a part of our being and existence.
Yet we endured!
It seemed like the end of the road, but the vision of Iqbal and Jinnah kept us going. We were down and out, but we got up. For Pakistani`s never give up. Pakistan wasn`t formed on the basis of a caste, creed or race.
As Quaid said:
- We are now all Pakistanis. We must develop a sense of patriotism which should galvanize and weld us all into one united and strong nation.
It was in 1971 that we realised the true extent of adversaries we had and thus began our uphill struggle. The world closed in upon us, sanctions were imposed and attempts were made to isolate Pakistan, so that we could choke to our own death. However, Pakistan surprised the whole world with the “Islamic bomb”. They thought we could never do it, they under-estimated us. The world doesn`t know what we are capable of.
The nukes were prepared for defensive purposes, but they also served the purpose of telling the world that we are not to be taken lightly. We have courage, respect, dignity and honour and we will not be kicked around.
Yes, things were not as ideal as they sound. During this journey, we got infected with the plague of corruption, nepotism and despotism. This acted like an internal wound, which constantly kept bleeding and weakened us but we endured and kept going on.
Then the inevitable happened, things spun so quickly out of our control that we could only watch helplessly as wound after wound was inflicted upon Pakistan. The war against terrorism drained our blood, it made Pakistan look pale and frail.
Our scholars were assassinated, our army was being attacked both at home and on the battle fronts, our jawans had to stay awake night and day to keep us safe and the brave mothers kept giving their beloved sons for this sacred homeland. We were hit in markets, we were hit in mosques, we were slaughtered in churches and temples. The enemy came from every side and broke us down. Our GHQ was attacked, foreign guests were massacred. Not a single place remained safe.
Our military kept running to and fro, for a moment it felt as if we were trying to hold on to running water. Our vision became blurred, the pain was just too much, we were down, we were losing hope. Our vision became blurred, for we were bleeding both internally through corruption and externally through extremism and terrorism. We forgot the vision Iqbal and Jinnah gave us.
Then came the fateful day of 16th December 2014. The enemy had chosen a very symbolic day to strike at our heart once again. For on this day East Pakistan had broken apart in 1971. The coward terrorists, attacked Army Public School and massacred almost 150 children in the most brutal manner possible. It was almost as if we were stabbed with a dagger and the enemy tried to twist the dagger while it was still inside us.
Seeing the charred, sliced and minced bodies of our children felt like reliving the pain of last 65 years in the span of a few moments. The martyrs of APS symbolised every single drop of blood which had fallen for Pakistan in the last 65 years. When you are being beaten up, the pain makes you cower and take guard, it makes you defensive and passive, but if the beating goes on, a point comes when you cease to feel the pain. Some call this as the onset of death while some call it as the rebirth of the phoenix from the ashes. It all depends on your mettle, Pakistani`s don`t give up, therefore when we stopped feeling the pain, we didn`t die instead we were reborn from our ashes.
In ancient times, when battles were fought with swords, the military commanders and leaders, mostly the Kings, used to lead from the front and as they charged towards the ranks of the enemy, everyone rallied to the king or the commander. Modern day warfare has changed but the underlying principles are still the same. The APS massacre disillusioned us. The nation for the first time since independence shunned aside the political leadership and rallied to the armed forces.
This is the battle for Pakistan and the potent mixture of R&R is the best hope Pakistan has got in decades. The tide seems to have turned, yes things are still not good, but at least now we are fighting back. We aren`t cowering, we aren`t defensive anymore. The coward terrorists are being chased all across Pakistan, but most importantly our blurred vision has begun to clear up now. A dream that was once Pakistan, is not lost. The vision of Iqbal and Jinnah is still there, being protected by silent and watchful guardians.
Finally after years of living under fear, we are once again observing the 23rd March parade. This was not just a parade of our military prowess, no, it was much more than that. This parade was a message to the rest of the world and to our enemies that come what may, Pakistanis will resist and we will endure.
During his address to the officers of the Royal Pakistan Air Force in Risalpur, Quaid e Azam mentioned how India didn`t release the military equipment that was to be Pakistans share as a result of the appropriation of the resources. We have come a long way since then, from being dependent on other countries, to being almost self sufficient. The parade of 23rd March, sent a loud and clear message to the world that we possess a formidable defensive capability. Pakistan is not facing existential threats , but in spite of all these blessings why can`t our civilian leadership seem to get their act in order?
Pakistan`s creation and then its persistence to exist against all odds is no less than a miracle. The last few months have seen a wave of socio-political awakening in the masses. The youth of Pakistan who have been at the forefront of that awakening, have to realise that we have to be our own leaders.
We are living in a wonderful era, the youth, if it is sincere with Jinnah`s Pakistan, then it must work relentlessly. Build up your characters ,your morals, your integrity and your knowledge. We are all ambassadors of Pakistan, our conduct should show it, our speech should show it. Today we complain about the negative image of Pakistan which has been projected all across the world. Who`ll mend it? These politicians? Do we still have any hope from them. No! We ourselves have to mend that image by aligning ourselves with Quaid`s vision. My words may seem romantic or at a distance of a hundred miles from reality, but this is what needs to be done. There is no other way, this is what Allama Iqbal taught, stop waiting for saviour, stop waiting for leaders and do something to turn your plight into your success.
Leaving you all with Quaid`s Eid message:
“When the essence of my advice is boiled down, it comes to this – that every Musalman should serve Pakistan honestly, sincerely and selflessly.