Monday December 11, 2023

One Pakistan

May 11, 2018

The new slogan ‘Do Nahi Aik Pakistan, Hum Sab ka Naya Pakistan’, which has been introduced by the PTI, has became the talk of the town after an impressive display of political power at the party’s rally at Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore.

People from all segments of life participated in the rally with enthusiasm. They wanted to ensure the revival of a Pakistan that was envisioned by Allama Iqbal, Quaid-e-Azam and our elders. This is a Pakistan where there is no discrimination between rich and poor; male and female; and majority and minority. In fact, it is a country where equal opportunities of progress are available to all on the basis of merit.

History serves as a testament to the fact that the progress of any nation lies in a peaceful society for which rule of law and social justice are prerequisites. Nations that pursued discriminatory policies ultimately lost their identity. The phrase ‘united we stand, divided we fall’ emphasises the importance of collective efforts for a common cause.

In this regard, we have a successful example of the Pakistan Movement led by Quaid-e-Azam. He was of the view that a peaceful society can only be created when the provision of equal rights is ensured t0 all citizens. These democratic views brought him closer to the All India Muslim League. Through his tireless struggle, Pakistan was carved out on the map of the world. During his political journey, Quaid-e-Azam was also accompanied by non-Muslim leaders like Jogendra Nath Mandal.

Quaid-e-Azam made it quite clear during his August 11, 1947 speech that all Pakistani citizens will be equal citizens of Pakistan and there will be no majority or minority in the newly-established country. Pakistan undoubtedly came into existence in the name of Islam. Overall, the teachings of Islam advocate a strong judicial system and rule of law.

Unfortunately, Quaid-e-Azam’s demise within a year after Independence was a major factor in the failure to establish this ideal state. In an article that I wrote last year, I highlighted all those aspects that created ideological rifts within the Pakistani society. Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly passed the Objectives Resolution in 1949 under the influence of extremist elements that were once against the creation of Pakistan. At the time, Hindu politicians in Pakistan warned that the resolution will result in unending religious and sectarian conflicts in Pakistani society. But no one heeded their concerns.

It is regrettable that we have even divided our flag on the basis of colours. The concerns soon proved to be correct when people started using religion to achieve their political and personal goals.

Sixty-nine years after the Objectives Resolution was passed, the situation has worsened so much so that the serving federal interior minister recently came under attack due to a religious issue. Prior to this, a governor and ministers also lost their lives due to religious intolerance.

In such a critical time, the slogan of ‘Do Nahi Aik Pakistan’ is the voice of all those Pakistanis who want to transform our beloved country into a progressive, peaceful and tolerant country. It was also a moment of satisfaction when PTI Chairperson Imran Khan, before presenting his 11-point election manifesto, mentioned the Charter of Madina and reaffirmed his commitment to adhere to Quaid-e-Azam’s vision.

Today, there are around 35 lakh non-Muslim voters. According to the Election Commission, the Hindu community holds the largest non-Muslim vote bank in the country. I am sure that the non-Muslim vote bank can pave the way for the PTI’s victory in the next elections.

It is also unfair that the winning party leaders tend to nominate non-Muslims representatives in parliament on the basis of choice. It is necessary to elect non-Muslim representatives through direct and dual votes. Similarly, we have to discourage the trends of bribery and other unfair means to win elections. Today, the major causes of the destruction of our national institutions are nepotism and political appointments. To end all forms of discrimination, every Pakistani citizen should be treated with equality. If someone is found guilty, he should be treated as a culprit without his religious affiliations being criticised. Similarly, no obstacles should be created for a citizen on the basis of his/her faith.

We have to realise that creating ‘One Pakistan’ is not an easy milestone to achieve. For this, we need to demonstrate the same passion, faith and courage that was shown by our elders during the Pakistan Movement. If our elders left no stone unturned for the creation of Pakistan, then why can’t we take Pakistan towards peace and prosperity through our own endeavours? I believe that change always comes when Karachi wakes up to the possibility of change. I am quite hopeful that a large number of patriotic members of the non-Muslim community will warmly participate in our upcoming rallies.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani