March 23 is observed every year as the day of freedom from colonial rule, when the Lahore Resolution was passed. Seven years later, Pakistan came into being in 1947. On this day, Muslims of the subcontinent got the platform to speak out for a separate homeland. The day is celebrated with enthusiasm every year, when the armed forces’ parade is also held.
As the nation celebrates March 23, it can take solace in the fact that Pakistan hasn’t fared too badly in different fields, including the economy and tourism, despite difficulties and problems caused by internal and external factors.
With the militants’ back having been by and large broken through consistent operations by security forces, families are encouraged to go to resorts whenever they find an opportunity and time to rejoice and relax. Malam Jabba, a hill station in the Karakoram mountain range some 140km from Saudu Sharif in Swat Valley (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa), northern areas including Chitral, Karachi beaches and Murree are some of the favourite places local and foreign tourists love to visit.
The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) also organises skiing festivals at Malam Jabba, in which a large number of men, women and children take part. Whenever there are holidays, people throng the various picnic spots. Foreigners especially go to northern areas in summer. The region is also an attraction for mountaineers.
Moreover, Pakistani artists have all the potential to thrive and prove their skills in the field of arts and culture. And this year filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy proved it by winning an Academy Award for her documentary, “Saving Face,” about acid attack victims.
Pakistan has shown a remarkable resilience in fighting the war on terrorism since the 9/11 episode. No country in the world has suffered so comprehensively as Pakistan did; Pakistanis are still taking on the terrorists with courage and poise.
The Pakistan Constitution has been drastically reformed. It now represents the will of the people. Democracy is taking root through an evolutionary process, at times marked by tussles between different state organisations, causing public alarm.
When Pakistan has been under economic pressure due to a variety of factors including the rising international oil prices and the cost it is paying in the anti-terror war, Pakistani expatriates have been making tremendous contribution by sending their savings back to their homeland. Their remittances have reached $11.2 billion, and are on the rise. This has proved to be a major succour for Pakistan’s economy.
The economy is set to grow by 4 per cent during the current year. Exports have crossed $25 billion. Foreign exchange reserves have reached their highest level ever at over $18 billion and tax collection increased by 26 per cent. Wheat production currently stands at an estimated 25 million tonnes, and cotton crop production at 13 million bales despite the loss of 2 million bales in the Sindh floods.
The government has adopted agricultural pricing policies to benefit farmers and restore prosperity to the rural areas. About Rs800 billion in additional income were generated for the growers in the last two years. An amount of Rs2,200 billion was spent on development programmes and more than 200 projects have been completed.
The government gave a cash transfer of Rs70 billion to flood victims to rebuild their lives and provided a subsidy of Rs100 billion in the power sector alone besides a Rs110-billion subsidy for fertilisers. A subsidy of Rs137 billion was given for food items in addition to Rs104 billion assistance for petroleum products.
The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) is the government’s flagship programme under which 6 million families living below the poverty line have so far been identified for cash support. The government has distributed over Rs138 billion with women heads of households being the principal beneficiaries of this scheme.
More than 660,000 Pakistani workers have been sent abroad for jobs over the past four years. The Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme has been introduced to provide a share in state-owned enterprises to employees and make them all owners of national assets.
Bury the hatchet
By Zafar Iqbal
Life is utterly different for those who are born free. Those who never experienced the hardship of getting an independent country after years and years of countless sacrifices. It’s hard to feel the agony of those who lost their loved ones, who left their homes and businesses behind in India to start their life anew in a newborn country. The present generation may not be able to fathom the level of great determination and devotion their forefathers showed for a sovereign nation.
Seventy-two years before — 23 March, 1940 — a historic resolution was overwhelmingly adopted at the Minto Park, Lahore (known as Minar-e-Pakistan now) for a separate country for the Muslims of the sub-continent. Within seven years of relentless efforts a new country emerged on the map of the world — Pakistan.
Today Pakistanis all over the world are celebrating this momentous day with joy and full of zeal. Seminars, symposiums and debate competitions are being organised to pay homage to the national heroes.
However, our national heroes — founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and great poet-philosopher of the sub-continent Allama Mohammad Iqbal who dreamt about a separate country for Muslims in 1930 — don’t need our sugarcoated words but action too.
In fact, it is time that every individual — be he the president or prime minister, politician, parliamentarian, doctor, lawyer, labourer, judge, businessman, engineer or a student — adopts a resolution: to serve the nation to the best of his/her capacity.
In a democratic, governing setup people should know the power and value of their vote. They should stop indulging in living-room criticism and play an active role in the electoral process.
They may be divided on the basis of their political affiliations or ideologies but their goal should always be the same: they need to work for the betterment of the entire nation.
Our spirit should be: if I’m a president, I would use my authority to bring stability to the country. If I’m a premier, I would take all political parties along and make them united on every national or international issue. If I’m a judge, I would make my earnest efforts to render justice at all cost.
If I’m a lawyer, I would stand by the victim, not accused. If I’m a doctor, I would devote, at least, a day in the week for free medical treatment. And if I’m a common man, I would use my vote power to change the fate of the country. Let’s bury the hatchet, be united, take on the challenges bravely, feel the responsibility and serve the nation for a prosperous Pakistan.
Ensure fundamental rights of people
Seventy-two years ago, on this day, the Muslims of the subcontinent formally committed through a resolution to work for achieving a separate homeland for themselves.
With the blessings of Allah and through the heroic struggle of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the founding fathers, the Muslims of the subcontinent achieved their objective on August 14, 1947, within a short span of seven years of the expression of their resolve.
Our founding fathers had resolved to carve out an independent state where there will be democracy and where constitutionalism and rule of law would reign supreme.
On Pakistan Day this year, it is reassuring to realise that the Parliament has successfully removed the vestiges of dictatorship and restored the democratic Constitution of Pakistan.
On this day let us resolve that we will not permit any dictator to usurp the basic fundamental rights of our people nor allow them to trample on our democratic aspirations. This requires that we work in the spirit of tolerance, mutual accommodation and respect for dissent.
Let us also resolve that we will uphold the Constitution and never allow it to be abrogated, subverted or held in abeyance. It is also important to uphold the independence of judiciary in accordance with the Constitution.
Unless there is rule of law and everyone is equal before law and unless we all work within the constitutionally defined parameters, stability will elude us.
I hope that the Parliament, the people and all institutions of the state will work in harmony towards this end. I pray to Almighty Allah to bless our efforts to prove ourselves worthy of the heritage bequeathed to us by the Quaid-e-Azam.
Economic revolution main goal
March 23 is a landmark day in the history of Pakistan when the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent adopted the historic Lahore Resolution put forth by AK Fazal-e-Haq on March 23, 1940 at the famous Minto Park in the 27th annual meeting of All-India Muslim League. This Resolution gave an ideal to the Muslims and united them for the attainment of a shared objective.
The Lahore Resolution, which was later on very rightly described as Pakistan Resolution, changed the destiny of the Indian Muslims. It gave an impetus to their struggle and fired their passion to realise the dream of a separate state. Today, Pakistan as a flourishing democracy enjoys an honourable place in the comity of nations.
The present democratic government is committed to preserving our great cultural heritage, distinct political and civilisational identity in the light of the vision of Quaid-eAzam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. We are making our earnest efforts to bring about economic and social revolution in keeping with the spirit of the Pakistan Resolution.
Though we did encounter a few problems on the way, but we did not allow these hurdles to hamper our march towards progress and development, for which the entire nation deserves to be congratulated
March 23 is not only a day celebration but also an opportunity to reiterate our pledge to keep working hard for the attainment of the objectives contained in the Pakistan Resolution. On this auspicious occasion, we pledge to uphold the supremacy of democracy and rule of law at every cost. I pray to Allah Almighty to enable us to protect Pakistan progress and prosperity. (Ameen)
UAE — an all weather friendJamil Ahmad Khan
Ambassador of Pakistan in UAE
I feel honoured to greet my countrymen in the United Arab Emirates on the occasion of the National Day of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This momentous day represents a truly historic milestone in our nations quest for independence.
The hardworking, patriotic and moderate people of Pakistan wish to see our country progress and take its rightful place in the comity of nations by following the principles of unity, faith and discipline, handed down to us by the Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
As Ambassador of Pakistan to the UAE, I have always endeavored to not only maintain, but to further bolster the existing excellent bilateral ties between the two fraternal and brotherly countries. The UAE has been our steadfast friend. The close ties exemplify the finest in diplomatic and economic relationships. It was the late president His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Shaheed prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who laid the foundations of this special bilateral relationship.
Our relations with the UAE in the economic, trade and defence sectors have grown steadily and progressively. Our economic ties are built on the profound recognition of mutual benefit and understanding.
Pakistan UAE friendship Paindabad, Pakistan Zindabad.
Affection binds nationsTariq Iqbal Soomro
Consul General of Pakistan, Dubai
Today the Pakistani nation is celebrating National Day of Pakistan all over the world. It is particularly a special day for us in the UAE with which Pakistan enjoys extremely cordial and brotherly ties.
If we analyse our past, we find that one of the perpetual forces, which has carried us through the thick and thin of history, is the unflinching faith of the Pakistanis in the spirit of the declaration made on March 23, 1940. Every Pakistani treasures the significance of this idea which lies at the core of our identity and defines for us the meaning of nationalism.
Pakistan today with its strategic location and rich mineral resources is an attraction for the world investors in power and energy, mining and housing sectors. We have the best and the most transparent investment policies.
The UAE has been our steadfast friend. The close ties between our two countries exemplifies the finest in diplomatic and economic relationship.
On this historic day, let us pledge to leave no stone unturned to work for the betterment of Pakistan. We should also pledge our resolve to further strengthen our relationship with the UAE which is like a second home for Pakistanis.