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Pakistan Day in the year 2020

History is a testament to the fact that dedication and endurance determine the life and downfall of nations. Some nations struggle to survive while others thrive on ambition and advancement. The celebration of 23rd March marks one such memory for all Pakistanis and its relevance in the 2020 us more than ever. In the year 1940, Lahore Minto Park, this nation decided to advance and to survive as a separate entity on the map of the world. The elders of the Muslims of the sub-continent were able to visualize and articulate the true picture of freedom and liberty and then there was the day, when they wrote it down. That day was 23rd March. It would not be out of place, to call it, the inception of a country and a nation that was to be. Before this day, the Muslims of the sub-continent were open to the idea of a combined constitution with the Hindus and the British Raj, one which would safeguard religio-political rights. This could not be achieved and the struggle for Pakistan was formal after the auspicious day of 23rd March. Ironically, this is the day when Bhagat Singh was hanged in Lahore at aged 23 in 1931, another historical mark on its own. Perhaps, destiny has its own language.

2019 was a year of chaos all over the world, even more so, for Pakistan and Kashmir. 2019 is the year in which India suspended the rights of the Muslims living in occupied Kashmir. The political and human rights of all citizens of the region were blatantly denied. The Supreme Court of India could not interpret the law in favor of such violations and the situation is getting worse by the day. The masked hatred towards Muslims by the State and Army of Bharat has come out of the shadows. The status of Kashmir and its identity of over 6 decades, stripped with the stroke of a single bill. The BJP has done the unthinkable but it is not new. Beginning of 2020 saw the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment spread to the whole of India. The Citizen Act obliterated any chances of communal of reconciliation. Protests and violence has now spread to all parts of India and Muslims are being systematically targeted by the police, RSS hooligans and the Indian army. Point to note, that the restrictions and regulations of the Citizen Act target over 201 million Muslims across Bharat. Just in Delhi, a peaceful city for many decades has seen over 60 deaths and many mosques burned to the ground. It’s like walls of the country are closing in on Muslims in every part. Mr Shashi Tharoor, stood up in the Indian Parliament and was brutally criticized for his speech when he said, “Jinnah has won and Gandhi has lost, as of today”. This statement and the actions mentioned above should jolt every Pakistani man and woman from their slumber. It should remind us of the iron and secure umbrella above our heads.

Pakistan Day, also called Resolution Day, was the point in history, when our able leadership of the 1940s saw the decades go by and realized, without a shadow of doubt that Muslims cannot live under a Hindu dominated state. Linguistic, cultural and class barriers could have been bridged but the ingrained bias and prejudice could not be overcome. On Pakistan Day, the nation should pay tribute to the minds and hearts that were able to assess the scenario 70 years down the road. They took action based on their sound judgment and struggled to an extent that many of them even laid down their lives. The architect of the idea was none other Allama Muhammad Iqbal and the dream was given practical shape under the guidance of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. There is no telling how many generations were saved from the tyranny and brutality from the likes of Narendra Modi in the making of Pakistan. As of today, Hindu extremism became the reason for 23rd March, 1940 and on 23rd March, 2020, nothing has changed and the vision of our forefathers remained intact like a castle.

There have been a plethora of dire circumstances for Pakistan in the previous years. Internal and external challenges have been equally formidable. As the nation deals with old complications, new ones emerge but we have endured the test of time. We have struggled between ideals of dictatorship and democracy, we have fought internal and external terror organizations and insurgencies, we have managed to survive hostile neighbors, we have managed to stabilize our economy while avoiding bankruptcy, we have recovered from 1971 and went on to become the only Muslim nuclear power, verily, it is time to count our blessings when observing our woes.

The current Government has put in a lot of effort to put the affairs of the state in the right direction, but there is a learning curve to it. Follies have been made, mistakes have been committed, but they are acceptable as long as the will to be fair and to never give up is there.

This year has brought a grave new challenge to the country in the form of coronavirus. All celebrations and commemorations of 23rd March have been cancelled to avoid further outbreak of the virus. All provinces have been affected. It is the need of the hour that the public and the government must join hands in tackling coronavirus. The armed forces and civilian government are poised to counter this global crisis. It will be a test of our mettle once again. It should not dampen our spirits but it should fuel the very idea of nationhood and the commitment to prevail in the face of adversities.

It will not be possible for Pakistanis to come out on 23rd March but we must remember this day and recall the great Lahore Resolution and share the words with our younger generations. Especially the resolution the part that read, “No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign”.

Pakistan and its position in the countries of the world is of immense important. The United States looks Pakistan for stability in Afghanistan and the Middle East, China views Pakistan and Gwadar as the key to trade of the future, the United Nations mentions Pakistan and its Governance as a messenger of Peace and Harmony. Muslim countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Malaysia refer to Pakistan as one of the most reliable allies. Yet, there is still a long long way to go. It is high time that the people of this country join hands with the vision that was given to this nation by the great Quaid and proceed with vigor and commitment, an unwavering passion for prosperity and meeting all challenges of the New Year.

(The writer is Chairman of Jinnah Rafi Foundation)

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