What the Pakistan Day Demands?
By Sajjad Shaukat
Every year, people of Pakistan celebrate the 23rd of March as the Pakistan Day, with great enthusiasm and zeal. But, this time, this very day has come at a time when Pakistan stands at the crossroads of its destiny, facing internal and external challenges and threats to the national security of the country, which are worrying all the citizens.
Particularly, war-like situation which started between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the false flag Pulwama terror attack in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK),
still exists, as the extremist government of the BJP led by the Indian fundamentalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refused the mediatory role of any country, while continuing war hysteria against Pakistan in wake of acceleration of shelling across the Line of Control (LoC), which has resulted into many casualties in the Pakistani side of Kashmir. On the other side, Pakistan’s armed forces are on high alert to give a matching response to any Indian prospective aggression or war. Earlier, Indian Air Force conducted pre-emptive air strike near the town of Balakot, close to the border with Pakistan’s sector of Kashmir on February 27, 2018, claiming that Indian fighter jets targeted the camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and killed 350 militants—the group whom New Delhi blamed for the Pulwama attack. Next day, in response, Pakistan Air Force launched aerial strikes at six targets in the IOK and shot down two Indian fighter jets and captured Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was released as a gesture of peace and handed over to the Indian authorities. It resulted into diplomatic victory of Islamabad over India. Prime Minister Modi who has directed the Indian security forces to accelerate atrocities in the IOK, wants to obtain various nefarious designs, especially to suppress the Kashmiris’ war of liberation and to win the general elections 2019 at the cost of Pakistan. On the other side, Western media and their high officials are insisting upon the settlement of the Kashmir issue.
In this regard, unlike India, Pakistan’s ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), opposition parties, members of civil societies and military are on one page regarding Indian aggression.
In this respect, on March 1, this year, the joint sitting of the Pakistan’s parliament in demonstration of unity against any external aggression, passed a unanimous resolution strongly condemning the blatant Indian aggression of 26th and 27th of February against the country and the parliamentary leaders said that they are standing shoulder to shoulder to the armed forces of Pakistan. The resolution completely rejected India’s self-serving and fictitious claims of having destroyed alleged terrorist facility—pointed out that facts on the grounds clearly contradict India’s false claim and so have been testified by independent observers. The resolution noted that timely and effective action of the Pakistan Air Force repulsed the Indian attack without loss of life and property—India’s baseless allegations against Pakistan in the wake of Pulwama attack were politically motivated—the Indian government’s subsequent action has been guided by its electoral calculations. Strongly condemning the Indian atrocities in the IHK [Indian Held Kashmir], the resolution rejected the India’s attempt to project the legitimate Kashmiri struggle for self-determination as terrorism. It reiterated that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognised dispute, pending on the agenda of the UN Security Council due to Indian intransigence. It underscored that a just and peaceful solution of Kashmir dispute. The resolution mentioned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call to avoid further escalation and urged the parliament of India to support the call by this joint session of Pakistani parliament for de-escalation and dialogue between Pakistan and India.
However, the 23rd of March 1940 was a watershed in the history of the Sub-continent, when All India Muslim League passed the Resolution in Lahore for the creation of an independent state. Now, it is popularly called as Pakistan Resolution. Earlier, in his address to the Muslim League at Allahabad in 1930, the idea of a homeland for Muslims in their majority areas had been envisioned by the poet Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal, and had become the aspiration of Indian Muslims.
In fact, the British colonialists in connivance with majority Hindu population had manipulated and targeted Muslims through every possible way. In that background, Muslims started struggle for a separate state.
Prior to the Lahore session of Muslim League, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had specified to this historical congregation of the Muslims, the watch-words of ‘Faith, Unity and Discipline’ which were not only necessary for waging the battle for an independent homeland, but also for present Pakistan. So, while struggling against the enemies, the essence of these watch-words is unity which is the real spirit of the Pakistan Resolution.
It was due to the selfless practical unity among the Muslims under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam that Pakistan became a tangible reality. But that unity started declining after passing through various crises, and the result was separation of East Pakistan in 1971, as the India manipulated differences between East Pakistan and the West Pakistan.
Although at present Pakistan’s various entities, general masses and military are united against any prospective Indian aggression, yet, Pakistan Day has come at a time when Pakistan is also facing other multiple threats of grave nature.
In this connection, on July 28, 2017, five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan announced its verdict in connection with the Panama Papers case and disqualified the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in relation to the charges of corruption. Supreme Court also issued directives to the National Accountability Court (NAB) to investigate the charges against the Sharif family.
Instead of accepting the verdict of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the former head of the Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) started criticizing the verdict of the Supreme Court in his rallies, while targeting other key institutions of the country. Nawaz Sharif, while forgetting Supreme Court’s various decisions of the past, which went in their favour, has declared the verdict of the apex court—conspiracy against his family and government.
Afterwards, ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, the former Chief Minister of Punjab, including some other leaders (Retired and serving officials) of the PML-N, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Aleem Khan of the PTI-senior Minister of Punjab were arrested by the NAB.
Earlier, leaders of the mainstream political parties such as PTI, PPP and Jamaat-e-Islami which want to eliminate corruption in Pakistan had insisted upon the former Prime Minister Sharif to accept the verdict of the Supreme Court. PTI Chairman Imran Khan had remarked that by criticizing the decision of the apex court and Pakistan Army in this connection and through rallies of the PML-N, the disqualified P.M. Nawaz Sharif wanted to create rift between his party workers and the key institutes of the country. Some other political leaders, renowned persons and analysts had also expressed similar thoughts by opining that Nawaz Sharif seems determined to create anarchy in the country.
It notable that Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad which have also been extended to other parts of the country, including Balochistan province and Karachi. Army and country’s primary intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan.
But, these foreign elements have, again, started terror attacks in Balochistan and other regions of the country which show that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel want to weaken Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
As Pakistan is the only declared nuclear country in the Islamic World, Hence, the United States, India and Israel have been acting upon their collective agenda to destabilize it. Besides, after the shift of the Great Game from Central Asia to Pakistan (Balochistan), the country has become special target of the American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad which are in collaboration in supporting various terror-related attacks in various cities, including separatist elements in Balochistan province.
In this context, in the recent past, new wave of terrorism in Pakistan, killed several innocent people, while various terrorist outfits, particularly the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS, ISIL), and the affiliated faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA also known as JuA) claimed responsibility for these brutal acts. TTP based in Afghanistan has its connections with ISIL and other terrorist organizations and affiliated terror groups, including Baloch separatist elements, and all these outfits are promoting the anti-Pakistan agenda of the foreign entities against Pakistan. As part of the double game, CIA, RAW, Mossad and Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security (NDS) which are in collaboration, are using these terror outfits in weakening Pakistan and especially Balochistan in order to fulfill the covert strategic aims of the US-led India and Israel against Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran.
At this juncture, Pakistan is also facing multi-faceted crises and challenges like corruption, 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.
Notably, present drastic situation cannot be comprehended by the general masses and even the political leaders who abruptly change their opinion. 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 the country.
At this critical moment, the Pakistan Day demands selfless national unity practically, instead of verbal statements. This significant day emphasizes that our political leaders must pledge that they will not manipulate their regional and provincial differences at the cost of the national interests so as to grab political power. In this respect, a blind dedication to one’s own race, tribe and creed should not be allowed to create hatred in one group against the other. They must avoid exploiting present thorny issues in order to increase their vote-bank at the cost of the integration of the country.
Selfless unity demands that if any controversy arises among the politicians, it can better be settled in consonance with the constitution, law and mutual understanding of the government and political parties.
In this connection, in order to castigate the conspiracy of the external enemies against the integrity of the country, our political leaders, media and human rights groups must also stop manipulating any crisis against Pakistan Army and ISI whose image are deliberately being tarnished by the external plotters through a continued propaganda campaign.
True and selfless unity against the foreign enemies requires that our rulers and leaders of other political parties must create national cohesion among various segments of society. Especially, our electronic media should give a matching response to malicious propaganda of the US-led some Western countries, including India and Israel which are distorting the image of Pakistan, its Army and ISI.
Especially, on this very day, media must also highlight the national heroes and their efforts, services and sacrifices, rendered for Pakistan and to project soft image of Pakistan by showing tourism sights of the county etc.
Nonetheless, at this crucial time, Pakistan’s survival lies in selfless national unity and strong cohesion 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.”
On the occasion of Pakistan Day, we must follow the essence of the Pakistan Resolution in real terms by displaying selfless unity in practical terms, which is not possible unless the government, the opposition leaders, civil societies and media owners, including all other segments of society pledge to sign a charter of integration which is very necessary to pull the country out of the ongoing serious crises and threats.
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