Saturday September 23, 2023

Remembering the queen

September 16, 2022

The real ruler is the one who wins the hearts of the people and even after his/her death people remember them with good words. This fact was realized in the past few days when during my return from Canada, the sad news about British Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s longest-serving monarch, saddened the entire country.

Despite the separation from Great Britain, the Queen was the symbolic head of Canada, and her photo is published on local currency. The condolence message of Canada's most popular Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has attracted the attention of the world media, in which he termed the Queen as his favourite personality in a very impressive way.

Queen Elizabeth, who assumed the royal duties at the age of 27, was known for being a far-sighted ruler who devoted her life to public welfare. She witnessed the transformation of the mighty British Empire into a Commonwealth comprising 52 independent countries.

Considering the democratic requirements of the modern era, the Queen was well aware that erasing the bitter memories of British imperialism was a difficult and painful process, but the Queen ensured respecting the sovereignty of all independent nations.

When I landed in Pakistan after travelling thousands of kilometres, the day of mourning was also being marked at the state level. No doubt, a golden chapter in modern history has ended with the death of the great queen who reigned from one corner of the world Australia, New Zealand to another corner Canada. The way her demise was mourned all over the world and how many countries declared mourning at the official level to express solidarity with the British royal family proved that Queen Elizabeth II was a queen of hearts.

Historically, after the death of British King George VI in 1952, Princess Elizabeth became the new monarch of Pakistan and other Commonwealth countries. She was the queen of Pakistan for four years until the country adopted a republican constitution.

The Queen, a few days ago before her demise, had expressed sympathy with the flood victims in Pakistan. In her letter to the president of Pakistan, the late queen expressed her heartfelt sorrow and grief over the damage caused by the recent flood and assured that the United Kingdom stood with Pakistan in this critical time.

Queen Elizabeth visited Pakistan twice during her 70-year reign. According to our elders, when the Queen visited Pakistan for the first time in 1961, a large number of people came on the streets to welcome her warmly. During her 15-day stay, the Queen and her spouse Prince Philip visited Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Lahore and northern areas. For her second visit to Pakistan in 1997, the Queen chose the time when the country was celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence. At that time, the British Queen also addressed a joint session of parliament. Later the royal couple visited Karachi and other parts of the country.

During her 70-year reign, the Queen visited almost all the countries that were under the control of the British Empire in the past. Considering the democratic values her top priority, she encouraged constitutional reforms, avoided unnecessary interference in state manners, and tried to reconcile the past. All such positive measures were welcomed by the public, as a result of which the reservations regarding the future of the royal family gradually disappeared and the people's trust in the Queen remained till her last breath.

Expressing my condolences to the British people, I would like to state that Pakistani people will never forget Queen Elizabeth.

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

He tweets @RVankwani