Lesson on the Independence Day
The Independence Day which is celebrated every year on August 14 has come at a time when Pakistan is facing multiple threats of serious nature internally and externally. These are not only worrying all the citizens, but are also creating division between the rulers and the opposition parties including rival politicians, taking the country towards anarchy.
On the one side, the present government of PML (N) led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been celebrating the Independence Day with jubilation, while on the other, workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by their Chief Imran Khan including coalition-parties like Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and PML-Q have been protesting against the government, and are determined to take Imran’s long March (Azadi March) to Islamabad on August 14. Imran Khan has repeatedly said that he would sit there as long as his demands like resignation of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, impartial investigation regarding the rigging in general elections 20113 etc. were not met.
Pointing out rigging in the polls and the grave problems faced by the country as well as the people, both Imran and Qadri pledged to make a new Pakistan, and are not against democracy. Their real intent is that entire electoral exercise is deeply flawed. Hence, they emphasized the introduction of electoral reforms, because the issue is that this corrupt system must go. Tahirul Qadri also announced that his revolution march will also join Imran’s long march on August 14.
Meanwhile, the civil government has virtually sealed off Rawalpindi, Islamabad and the Punjab province with containers and barricades to stop, especially the Azadi March. In the crackdown, police has also arrested several supporters of PTI and its coalition partners and detained motorcycles to prevent its supporters from reaching Islamabad.
All the efforts for reconciliation, made by the PPP leader of the opposition Syed Khurshid Shah and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Ameer Sirajul Haq have failed. Because of the tough stand of the government and long marchers, situation has reached point of no return. Therefore, some ministers and political analysts are remarking that civil war in the country may be initiated like Egypt, Libya, or Iraq.
However, during this very day, Pakistan is in the state of war, being waged by the security forces and intelligence agencies against terrorists. In this respect, our Armed Forces are successfully obtaining their objectives in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) through military operation Zarb-e-Azb against the terrorists who had challenged the writ of the state, and had frightened the entire nation by their terror-acts. Pakistan has perennially been facing subversive activities in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Karachi and other parts of the country including tribal areas where security forces and law-enforcing agencies are coping with the militants.
And Pakistan is facing multi-faceted crises such as soaring prices, energy-shortage, unemployment, crimes, lack of health facilities, and dependence upon the US-led developed countries, IMF and World Bank for financial aid.
Externally, Pak Army and Rangers have boldly been responding to India’s unprovoked firing at the Line of Control in Kashmir including Working Boundary in Sialkot and other sectors. While, the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda. In this context, BJP leader Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, a staunch promoter of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) stated on July 12, this year that India needed only two years to defeat Pakistan militarily, and the only solution of Kashmir was war, as “there is no peaceful, democratic solution.
Moreover, Pakistan’s security forces have also been facing cross-border terrorism from Afghanistan side, encountering heavily-armed militants who from time to time, target check posts of the Army, and other civil and military installations.
Nevertheless, it was due to the strong unity among the Muslims under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that Pakistan became a tangible reality on August 14, 2047. But that unity started declining after passing through various crises.
It is because of lack of unity among our politicians, leaders, security forces and media that foreign opportunists have been manipulating the chaotic situation of Pakistan in order to fulfill their secret agenda by destabilizing it, as it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. In the past few years, nefarious designs of the external enemies can be gauged from various anti-Pakistan developments such as subversive activities, sectarian violence all over the country, and separatism in Balochistan.
Notably, present drastic situation cannot be comprehended by the general masses and even the political leaders who abruptly change their opinion without logic. Therefore, they become unintentional victim of the external plotters who succeed in creating a rift particularly between the political groups, divided on ethnic and linguistic lines. These foreign enemies also seek to create a division between the political leaders and the Armed Forces of our country.
It is regrettable that on the one hand, our multiple crises show that Pakistan is rapidly advancing towards a ‘failed state’ owing to the sinister designs of some external powers, while, on the other hand, our media, particularly most of the TV channels conduct controversial debate between politicians and commentators, contesting internal politics. Some, political entities have ignored the sacrifices of Pakistan’s security forces and country’s intelligence agency, ISI regarding the security of the country.
At this critical hour, while deteriorating situation demands selfless unity, but accusations and counteraccusations between the rival politicians have become routine practice. In this regard, they opine as to what the people want, but conceal as to what people actually need?
No doubt, today Pakistan stands at the crossroads of its destiny, facing multi-faceted internal and external threats.
Nonetheless, as regards the lesson on the Independence Day, it demands true national unity among every segment of society. The 14th August reminds that instead of creating political turmoil, our political leaders must resolve their differences through compromise—in a democratic and constitutional way. They must pledge that they will not exploit their regional, provincial and political differences at the cost of the national interests so as to continue or grab political power. In this respect, a blind dedication to one’s own political agenda, race, tribe and creed should not be allowed to create hatred in one group against the other.
They must avoid manipulating present thorny issues in order to gain the sympathies of general masses, and to increase the members for their parties. If any controversy has arisen between the government and the opposition parties, it can better be settled through reconciliation.
For this aim, in order to castigate the plot of the external enemies against the country, our rulers and politicians must also stop exploiting any crisis against the Armed Forces and ISI whose image are deliberately being tarnished by the external conspirators.
Besides, Pakistan’s media, especially TV channels must create national cohesion among various segments of society. For this purpose, the owners of these channels must detect and terminate the services of some anchors who are working on the payroll of foreign enemies. As electronic media attract more viewers, so Pakistan’s TV commentators should give a matching response to malicious propaganda of the US-led some western countries including India and Israel which are leaving no stone unturned in distorting the image of Pakistan, its army and ISI.
At this critical juncture, Pakistan’s survival lies in strong cohesion which is also essential for our political leaders themselves, as at present, even a layman can note that our country is in chaos and it seems as if there is a “war of all against all” in the sense of ‘Hobbesian state of nature.’
Undoubtedly, the lesson on the Independence Day is that it demands selfless national unity among all the citizens, political and religious leaders, members of civil society, media and security forces to cope with the anti-Pakistan conspiracy.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations