Reliving Pakistan Day
Sultan M Hali Sultan M Hali
Pakistan Day is celebrated every year to commemorate the Lahore Resolution, which was passed on 23 March 1940 and later on the same date in 1956, when its first Constitution was adopted, transforming it from a Dominion to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The Muslim League held its annual session at Minto Park in Lahore that lasted from the 22nd to 24th of March 1940. During this event, the Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and other founding fathers narrated the events regarding the differences between Hindus and Muslims, and moved the historical resolution that cemented the formation of a nation-state in South Asia as Pakistan, even though the original documents did not actually mention Pakistan at all. The concept was approved but the name, suggested by Chaudhry Rahmat Ali, came later.
The day is commemorated by a grand parade in the federal capital. The provinces, various industries and latest weapons are displayed aboard gaily decorated floats; the event concludes with a fly past and aerobatic display by airborne military platforms including fighter jets, helicopters, UAVs and parachutists.Pakistan came into being on 14 August 1947 and faced numerous challenges, vicissitudes and calamities but has survived to claim its place in the comity of nations. India refused to hand over the weapons, funds and other assets of the undivided sub-continent while a mass exodus of refugees, forced to flee their homes in India heading for the promised land, added to the woes of the fledgling state. Rehabilitating them with limited resources was a daunting task for the fledgling state.
The day is commemorated by a grand parade in the federal capital. The provinces, various industries and latest weapons are displayed aboard gaily decorated floats; the event concludes with a fly past and aerobatic display by airborne military platforms including fighter jets, helicopters, UAVs and parachutistsFirst Kashmir War 1947-48, 1965 and 1971 Pak-India wars not only took a heavy toll of lives and property but the latter resulted in the severance of its eastern wing. Pakistanís detractors deemed it a basket case, military coup díťtats and political turmoil upset the applecart of democracy but Pakistan survived and has progressed.Soviet Unionís invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan in 1979 brought the Red Army to Pakistanís doorstep. Islamabad aligned with Washington DC to train, equip and launch Muslim volunteers known as Mujahedeen to wage a successful guerrilla war against the Soviets. In 1989, the Red Army withdrew but left destruction in its wake, which resulted in tribal wars, chaos and turmoil in Afghanistan and scarred Pakistan too.In 1998, Pakistan was forced to cross the nuclear threshold by a belligerent India declaring to the world that Pakistan was in possession of nuclear weapons to uphold its security.9/11 exposed Pakistan to a fresh challenge when US led NATO forces attacked Afghanistan and commenced the war on terror. Pakistan threw its lot with the allies but has had to face the brunt of terror attacks, which resulted in a death toll of seventy thousand precious lives and heavy financial losses. Gravely, Pakistan has been blamed for sponsoring terrorism because many of the terror leaders including the al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden sought refuge in Pakistan. The armed forces of Pakistan have launched numerous military operations and turned the tables on the terrorists.Despite such serious challenges, Pakistan has managed to progress in the fields of industry, agriculture, information technology and defence production. The industrial sector has managed to stand on its own feet and continues to support Pakistanís economy. Weak political governments and corruption have marred economic growth, yet Pakistan appears to have put the bad years behind and displayed a GDP growth of 5.3 percent at the end of 2017. After a weak performance in 2016, the Agriculture sector picked up and showed a growth of 3.5 percent due to better sugarcane, cotton and maize crops. The services sector grew by 6.0 percent, surpassing the target of 5.7 percent. The growth of industry is estimated at 5.0 percent. Pakistan has achieved macroeconomic stability in the past three years: the fiscal deficit has shrunk from eight percent to below five percent, international reserves have tripled to over $18b, and the rate of growth has increased by a full percentage point to 4.7 percent.In the realm of defence production, with joint venture projects like Main Battle Tanks, Frigates, Subs and Fighter aircraft, Pakistan is poised to enter in the field of indigenous production, export of defence equipment as well as self reliance in this vital sector. The happy communion of the private sector with defence production is yielding rich dividends.The advent of China Pakistan Economic Corridor brings the promise of an economic windfall in the shape of the operationalization of the strategically located deep sea Gawadar Port, communication infrastructure including roads, railways and air links, Special Economic Zones, fiber optics, energy hubs, educational and vocational training institutions, health, trade and commerce facilities promise a bright future for Pakistan.Pakistanís mainstay, its youth, has broken numerous records of innovative achievements and made the nation proud. Women and minorities, who were once considered sidelined, are now contributing their fair share in nation building.
Sports suffered a handicap because owing to terror attacks, ernational teams shied away and Pakistan was forced to host events on neutral grounds. After turning a major corner in the war against terror, not only is international sports returning to Pakistan but the national teams in different disciplines, have won major events, keeping the green and white ensign of Pakistan proudly aloft.
Pakistan boasts of a rich cultural heritage. The federal as well as provincial governments, realising the rich dividends that can be achieved via showcasing its culture, are promoting Pakistanís traditional heritage abroad to enhance its soft image.An era of accountability has commenced. It is hoped that across the board accountability will rid the nation of corruption, sleaze and perfidy and the nation is endowed with clean leadership.In the final analysis, Pakistan Day is an experience worth reliving, since despite its detractorsí machinations, it is a success story of which every Pakistani is proud.
The author is a retired Group Captain and author of the book Defence & Diplomacy. Currently he is a columnist, analyst and TV talk show host.