During the middle decades of twentieth century the colonial empires that were established earlier saw gradual decline and former colonies got independence. Thus the former colonies inherited a pre-independence history of ‘freedom struggle’ and a post-independence aspiration and challenges of a newly carved statehood. States that had to fight for their freedom to gain independence from their colonial masters had to start yet another struggle, this time not for their freedom, but to build the nation and realize the dreams of independence.
The history of Pakistan has been fraught with immediate and long-term challenges since independence, that were both internal and external in nature. This year as we are celebrating our 73rd year of independence, we can take a step back to appreciate the myriad of complex and difficult challenges that we have overcome. Some of the onerous challenges that we faced as a nation in the formative years were setting up the administrative machinery, refugee influx, meagre resources, non-existent institutions, and lack of banking, commercial and industrial organizations; the bureaucracy and our security apparatus which were merely skeletons without anything substantial. Considering the situation then, we have come a long way. As Quaid-i-Azam had envisioned in April 1948, “I have no doubt in my mind about the bright future that awaits Pakistan when its vast resources of men and material are fully mobilized. The road that we may have to travel may be somewhat uphill at present but with courage and determination we mean to achieve our objective which is to build up and construct a strong and prosperous Pakistan.” Pakistan has gone through a long and arduous process of building state institutions that serve as the backbone of statehood and nationhood.
In the security realm, Pakistan’s challenges were also dynamic encompassing the transnational, traditional and non-traditional threats. We stood tall against all odds as a nation and ensured our survival as well as progress and continuity of purpose. In the last two decades, Pakistan has fought the most protracted war of its history. However, we successfully combated and triumphed over the onslaught of terrorism which has been duly acknowledged by the world. The country has also always responded successfully to the traditional security threats, one recent example of which is the challenging situation that emerged post-Pulwama incident. However, the world has seen that our commitment and tangible efforts for peace, and our resolve to defend the motherland is undaunting and matchless. Remaining ever-ready to meet any aggression, our policies and endeavors always support peace, progress and prosperity for the world in general and the region in particular.
As we celebrate our 73rd Independence Day, the nation and its armed forces stand united and focused with the unflinching resolve to work relentlessly for peace and progress of Pakistan. Though our achievements in the past remain substantial as a nation yet we have to realize our full potential that the Quaid envisioned for us. As he said, “The creation of a State of our own was a means to an end and not the end in itself.” Despite making major strides since the inception, we have our economic and security challenges, among other key issues such as education for all, employment opportunities, development and the larger global issues such as climate change. The low level of education attainment and the lack of investment in human capital continues to restrict the country’s development, especially in the 21st century where growth is increasingly linked to knowledge-based advances.
As we work tirelessly toward keeping internal and regional peace, each day we shall get closer to realizing the dream of our Founding Father. The principles of equality of men, justice and fair play espoused by the Founding Father should remain the cardinal principles steering our country. We must journey forth and make a real change, come what may. Tremendous opportunities lie ahead and we can seize these opportunities if we stay true to our ideals and principles and work tirelessly towards the attainment of our goals. We shall always wear our independence, successes and achievements with pride.
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