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A day that means a lot

In the life of a people no day is as auspicious and august as the day of their national independence. So with us today is this August 14. That we are placed today in an apocalypse of critical dimensions and the wolf sits at our door is hardly a reason we should not celebrate this day which is a day of our freedom and liberty. Our elders paid for their freedom by their blood. We will not let go waste their supreme sacrifice whatever it costs. Sixty-six years on, we know now how authentic was their cause and how legitimate was their struggle for independence - a truth that dawns on us every day as our brothers-in-faith in the held Kashmir struggling for their right to self-determination. There is just no price for independence, no compensation for liberty. If dark clouds have gathered on our horizon they cannot and should not frighten us into compromising on our independence. But that said we must undertake introspection as to what has gone wrong with us. Our failure is all-encompassing and therefore profound. We failed to produce honest leadership, failed to behave as responsible citizenry and sold our souls to the devil. But we are not disappointed nor will we give up on our mission to protect our national independence. The 180 million Pakistanis are the right material to turn the tables on retrogressive forces by defeating their machinations. We have the potential to regain our glory and for that we don't need the miracle-making messiahs. We can and shall act on our own. It's our Pakistan that we will fight for and die for. We may have lost the way but our destination remains in our sights.

Illusive it may appear to be but the fact is we are nearly out of the jungle of the darkness which so threatened our national independence. After the long spell of one-man autocratic rule we are today a working democracy, the only option that worked and won us independence under the leadership of democrat-to-the-core Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Isn't it a fact that millions of voters trooped to the polling stations quite often at the risk of their lives. And no less astonishingly with minor reservations both the winners and losers accepted the results and governments were formed. The people of Pakistan have done their part and it's now for the elected leaderships to deliver by putting in place effective governance that's committed to the welfare of the people. In a working democracy there is nothing like licence to rule without being accountable to the people. There is no denying that the present governments have inherited some of the most intractable problems both in terms of law and order and bad economy. Not that the people don't understand this, they do but what matters to them is how honestly and earnestly the governments are working to overcome them. Then there is the need also that the man in the street has to act as a law-abiding citizen - a challenge reflected from sights like vehicles parked on footpaths and drivers in expensive cars violating traffic rules. Nothing makes a country more stronger than its responsible citizenry.

If restoring order at home is essential to our national wellbeing no less critical to our national independence is a foreign policy which should not only ensure our freedom and liberty it should be not only in harmony with the spirit of times we live but also realistic and workable. Even when sovereign equality or national independence is right of every state in actuality there is no such thing as absolute independence. States interact on the basis of give and take, of course in their larger national interest. Pakistan too has to be pragmatic in pursuance of its foreign policy goals. Instead of drawing on the 'wisdom' of individuals we need to strengthen institutions and let national decisions emerge from there instead of off-the-cuff formulations. At the same time an ambience of rule of law has to be obtained. Exceptions and exemptions undermine sanctity of law and encourage disobedience. And last but not the least, the people have to be involved in governance at the grassroots level which is quite an achievable task now that work under way to put local governments in place before the year is out. We the Pakistanis have right potential to come out of the presently dire circumstances and on this Independence Day we must pledge to work in that direction.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013


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