Pakistan celebrates its 68th Independence Day this year. A day when we adorn our streets and houses with strings of paper flags, dress up in greens and whites, visit National monuments and pay homage to our National heroes. The National flag is hoisted on all Government and private buildings, homes, shops and even on our vehicles. These celebrations are a small way of showing our gratitude and love for the country and has not diminished with time. The new generations celebrate it with equal fervour as their elders, although times have changed.
Our Independence Day is however much more than mere celebrations. The Pakistani National is aware of the struggle and sacrifices of our forefathers in making this homeland a reality. It was no mean feat to achieve Independence against all the odds that made it seem impossible at the time but our forefathers not only believed in the beauty of their dreams but also strived hard to achieve that dream. They made immense efforts, great sacrifices and devoted their whole lives to make Pakistan a reality. A homeland where where it’s citizens can exercise their rights and live their lives honourably and peacefully.
The quest for all that Pakistan stands for and what it was meant to be is still not over by any means. The average Pakistani’s life is far from ideal and he has to face many hardships each day battling poverty, energy crises, inflation, unemployment, feudalism, health woes, terrorism and countless other problems. The worsening law and order situation in the country claims many lives each day. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced from their homes even today because the country is fighting an almost never ending war on terrorism. The lack of planning and tardy disaster management in the country makes the lives of those hit by Natural calamities quite miserable. So it seems that the average Pakistani still pays the price of freedom with his life, property and honour.
Despite all these difficulties and all-consuming problems, we have a piece of land that we can call home, which gives us an identity and a sense of belonging. A place where we can practice our religious beliefs, which offers us diversity in the form of our ethnicities and beliefs. A homeland which is full of natural resources; an assortment of terrain of snow peaked mountains, plateaus and fertile flatlands; a medley of changing seasons, with all its beautiful colours; streams, rivers, seas and countless other blessings. In short, we have a piece of land with all the necessary ingredients to make it the paradise of our dreams, to shape and carve it to the best of our abilities and a heritage that we can pass on to our future generations.
There are countless people in the world who cannot lay so much as a claim to a piece of land, their homelands either snatched from them or they are held hostage to others’ whims and hostile ambitions. Kashmir and Palestine are two such examples where barbaric, inhuman and humiliating atrocities are being committed every day. Where people are denied their rights, and they cannot exercise their free will. Where they are crushed and humiliated in every possible manner. Where there’s uproar, unrest and human suffering and most of all, uncertainty.
It is in human nature to retaliate against endless suffering and stand for one’s rights. It requires faith, belief, courage, focus, resilience and discipline. The Kashmiris and Palestinians have strived and struggled, for ages, to achieve their freedom, in spite of the cruelty and barbarism of their adversaries. Pakistan’s Independence movement which resulted in the shape of our beautiful homeland is a great example for the Palestinian and Kashmiri freedom movements. Injustice and suppression can only be countered by the will of the people. The world usually looks the other way when atrocities are being committed elsewhere so it is incumbent upon the people themselves to stand for their beliefs but with a realistic approach to counter unforeseen circumstances. Sometimes one has to fight the enemy within which is much more difficult than fighting a known enemy. It takes a lifetime of struggle and then some to achieve a goal this big and important, so the people of Kashmir and Palestine should not lose heart and hope because victory will one day be there’s, Insha’Allah.
The quest for peace however is an ongoing struggle. Peace is not a state of utopia, rather it is the gap between two conflicts. Pakistanis are indeed facing problems today but we should not lose hope because struggle and movement are signs of life. We should neither become complacent nor despair and strive hard to pave our way for a better future by battling with our insecurities and inner selves first.
PKKH dedicates this independence day not only to our forefathers, who gave us a life time lesson of struggle but also to the freedom movements of Kashmir and Palestine. The struggle gives hope and only hope can see the dawn of freedom.