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August 14, 2020

Independence Day

Editorial

 
August 14, 2020

Pakistan marks its Independence Day today. After over seven decades of existence as a separate country, we need to ask ourselves where we stand as far as nation-building goes. Do our people have the freedom that should be enjoyed and accessed by citizens of a democratic nation? Do our decision-makers view the constitution as a way to be a free and progressive people – or is the constitution a mere piece of paper to be torn and thrown away (as per one gentleman’s opinion)? In the past seven decades, have the people of Pakistan received the care and attention from the state that they rightly deserve? The answers to these questions lie in the various news stories we see daily, in the falling economic statistics, and in the many protesting young people who are struggling to find jobs, access education, and even put together two basic meals a day.

The Pakistan of today suffers huge problems, including rising inflation, poverty, unemployment, and a sense among people that the government has no plan to pull the country out of the situation it has been locked into for years. The reasons for this need to be questioned. Other nations within South Asia have been able to make far more progress in the socio-economic sector. As a country with plenty of resources we should have been able to match them. The ongoing sugar crisis and atta crisis suggest we have not succeeded. Rather than increase disagreement, the leaders of all our political parties need to understand that we are confronting a crisis, which has been aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic. But rather than antagonizing each other political parties and other groups must accept they need to work together to create a Pakistan which can move closer to the ideals set out those many years ago when the Pakistan resolution was formulated.

Our mission on August 14 this year must be to work towards that dream of an egalitarian society for Pakistan, so that the generations which are to follow can enjoy the benefits of a country that cares about them and is able to do more to grant all its citizens, no matter where they live or to what group they belong, a greater measure of equity and equality so that they can reach their full potential. Pakistan stands on the soil of one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Seventy-four years may seem like a lot to us but for history it is the mere blink of an eye. We have survived in the face of impossible odds. Now we must decide that survival alone is not enough. The next 74 years should be a time for this country we all love so much to thrive.