This year, the 27th of Ramadan and the 14th of August fall within nine days of each other. These dates from different calendars overlapped in 1947 to give us Pakistan. So as we celebrate our 67th year as a free and proud nation, it is apt to remind ourselves that we are celebrating not only the founding of a geographical boundary but the planting of the seed of an idea – an idea which is still growing and has yet to be realised fully.
Pakistan, my friends, is not just a mere country like the other countries of the world. It cannot just be defined by its geographical borders or by the ethnicities of its people; for the boundaries of Pakistan are not permanent – for one thing, most of Kashmir remains outside our realm, and the other large swathes of territory which our eastern neighbour illegally claims as its own have not yet been returned to the motherland. Further, the ethnicities and languages of Pakistan’s people are also diverse. Even though there is a strong Pakistani people, there is no such thing as the generic Pakistani race or a Pakistani ethnicity. Our diversity is a strength, but it cannot altogether define us. Therefore, the characteristics which define a hundred and ninety-three other countries do not really apply to us. Pakistan is something other, something less tangible yet more permanent, something greater. It is this something which holds a Baloch a brother to a Punjabi, which leads a Pakhtun to help and protect a Sindhi, and this something which motivates all four to fight for the Kashmiri.
This something is an idea – a grand, most noble idea. It is a beautiful dream of the eventual fulfillment of a glorious destiny. A destiny to create a place where there is social justice, discipline, brotherhood, opportunity, and spirituality – where every man and woman is equal under Allah’s Supreme and Perfect Law; where the model of Madina Munawwara under the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him is fully emulated and there is a light in the darkness, not only for the Muslims of this world, but for humanity as a whole. And that this light will one day engender a wave of radical social and political change which would sweep the civilized world. It is with this in mind that Allama Iqbal wrote:
خودی کو کر بلند اتنا کہ ہر تقدیر سے پہلے
خدا بندے سے خود پوچھے، بتا تیری رضا کیا ہے
تو شاہیں ھے بسیرا کر پہاڑوں کی چٹانوں میں
These words speak to the individual literally, but speak to the collective subconsciously; for as it often is with great men of wisdom, Iqbal saw the odds which we would have to overcome to realise the idea not only of the creation of Pakistan, but of the fulfillment of Pakistan. Iqbal gave us the beginnings and the means of this idea which the Quaid and millions others set out to achieve. But this grand and awe inspiring idea could never be spawned in any mortal man’s mind without the will of the Almighty. And it is His Hand which guides the faithful to work day and night for this dream.
True, in the past 67 odd years, we have at times failed miserably – the light of the dream has dimmed. Yet, it is not dead, it can never die. A hundred thousand traitors could not dent the idea, for it lives in the hearts of millions of Pakistanis whose hearts are pure.
So today, the 14th of August, 2013, let all Pakistanis once again see through the smog of our everyday existence, and re-acquaint ourselves with the meaning of Pakistan. It is only thus that we will be able to renew our oaths to fulfill that idea so marvelous!