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TEXT: Time is of prime essence now for a nation 75 years old to reflect and mend ways for the way forward. Though, 75 years in a nation’s history is not too long, it is long enough to atleast set proper directionand build its stature rather than continue to live with conditions and the perception it unfortunately currently holdsin the eyes of the world.

The founding fathers adopted a resolution calling for the creation of an independent sovereign state derived from the provinces with Muslim majorities on 23 March 1940. In a short span and with collective desire to gain independence, Pakistan emerged as an independent nationjust 7 years later, on the 14th of August, 1947. For anyone to consider it was a quick andeffortless achievement would be considered naïve. Freedom fighters had to sacrifice and give up their own personal freedom and riskorganizing a massive movement to achieve their objective of gaining independence. In the process they encountered great challenges and immense resistance. However, it was their collective wisdom, endurance and the strategy adopted to face all odds that led to their victory under the able guidance and leadership of our Quaid, Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

Many have written about the history leading to the partition of India and the role played by Quaid-e-Azam, but the way Stanly Wolpert in his book “Jinnah of Pakistan” describes him in a single sentencesays it all.

Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state… Mohammed Ali Jinnah did all three.

The demise and the absence of the Quaid hardly after a year of Independence (September 11, 1948), made people realize the void that would be created while Pakistan was in its formative stages. Nevertheless, the initial two decades luckily had administrators who had witnessed the struggle themselves that led to Pakistan’s independence and were aware of the Quaid’s vision. They served without fear or favour with total integrity, honesty, dedication, and sincerityhaving themselves witness the past and were aware of the great sacrifices made. Public servants associated in all spheres of governance served the country to their best ability bringing laurels which even today are remembered by many as the glories of the past and commonly discussed as the golden era of Pakistan.

In a bipolar world then, Pakistan maneuvered its way keeping the interest of the country and its people supreme. Friendship with all and hostility with none was the principle which led nations far and wide to reach out to Pakistan for the development of their own institutional building. From planning to governance and from helping setup airlines to banks, it was the technocrats from Pakistan who assisted those who considered Pakistan anemergingstate to reckon with. It was Japan and Germany after the World War II that regained their industrialization in partnership with Pakistan. Korea adopted Pakistan’s development program for its own development. Malaysia sought Pakistani legal experts to help them with their constitution. The growing potential and importance of Pakistan in the region was the key factor for Pakistan becoming member in the likes of Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) of 1954 and Central Treat Organization of 1955 (CENTO). Pakistan was amongst the select few countries to be included in such very important pacts and treaties by USA to play its evolving role in the region and specially in Asia for being an emerging country pursuing pertinent policies as a developing country should. Consequently, Pakistan was helped by many with its mountingdevelopment needs in different areas including its security. What may surprise many is the Gazette notification of Pakistan of October 13th, 1950, statingthe value of British Pound Sterling at 9.5, US$ 3.5 and with all European currencies below par with even German Mark at 0.75 to the Pakistani Rupee.

It was unfortunate for the country to have gone through an extremely bad patch in the 70’s extending for nearly quarter of a century because of regional turmoil and uncertainties. First on account of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and thereafter Pakistan getting involved with the global war on terror after the 9/11 incident in America; not to mention the fallout from the Iran-Iraq war lasting 8 years in the neighborhood. Pakistan had become the front-line state fighting in both cases resulting in human losses of over 70 thousand innocent lives and billions of dollars in terms of economic losses. Pakistan had also in the meantime, denoted nuclear devises to counter the threats from India and in doing so faced sanctions which took a heavy toll on the economy. This is the period when Pakistan faced severe difficulties in overcoming the impediments that were unfortunately created. While Pakistan did suffer enormously, the phenomena was not confined to Pakistan alone. Several countries in the region also went through this precarious phase but meaningfully managed their response to it.

The world today is passing through a difficult phase. Nations are adopting ways and means to overcome their obstacles. Some have not yet recovered from the ravages of the recent pandemic while others are assessing and trying to adopt to the paradigm shift in international relationships. The recent thaw in relations between Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iran is a classic example as also the visit of the Turkish foreign minister to Egypt after a decade of tension. The bottom line for any nation is the prime interest of its people and what best suits them. Adopting the earlier principle of friendship with all and animosity with none can regain the prestige that Pakistan once enjoyed and benefited from. For us to get back to the reputation and standing we once enjoyed and do away with the perception we unfortunately hold, our decision makers and all stakeholders need to put their heads together and arrive at a consensus. Assessing what went wrong and adjusting to the present-day requirements of which economy takes precedence,is the need of the hour. Pakistan has everything a nation can desire. With 220 million plus inhabitants and 60% talented youth under the age of 30 and with all conceivable natural resources at its disposal, all it needs is to be able to come together with a planned strategy for its proper utilization on a fast-track basis. Pakistan has nothing to fear but fear itself and as the philosopher of the nineteenth century, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”. It’s time now to unite, reflect and act for the way forward.

Nahin hai na umeed Iqbal apni kasht-e-veeran se, Zara num ho to yeh mitti bari zarkhaiz hay saqi

The writer is a member of several Bi-Lateral Business Forums in Pakistan and the Managing Director of Technology Links.

Email: [email protected]

KALIM FAROOQUI

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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