In Focus

Resolve, and Thou Art Free

A few Pakistanis share their sentiments replete with patriotism on the day the Lahore Resolution was passed – a decisive event in the history – and the Pakistan Day Parade that is held in commemoration of the event.

It was a pleasant evening in 2016 when my mother narrated to me the remarkable Lahore Resolution, an event that she witnessed as a child. She recalled how the British Empire's colonization project proved fatal for the Muslims of the subcontinent, pushing them deeper into the pits of misery and oppression. It was a state of collateral damage and constant chaos. However, in March 1940, when the Lahore Resolution was passed, things changed dramatically. She remarked that this was indeed a decisive moment for the creation of Pakistan. Even though she witnessed the episode of the Lahore resolution at a very young age, the joy with which she recalled her memories was a feast for my eyes. Her patriotism compelled me to attend the Pakistan Day Parade the following year, as I wanted to experience the same love for Pakistan that my mother had as a child.
Experiencing the Parade was indeed ravishing. It felt like a soldier's morning drill when I got up early on a holiday just to attend the event. However, when I reached the parade venue, I realized that my morning drill had paid off. For the first time in my life, I witnessed the enormous artillery cannons, the mighty weapons that the Pakistan Army owns, the stunning flypast of aircraft and helicopters, the brave paratroopers of SSG, and the Sherdil aerobatic team. Aside from that, the march by various Army, Air Force, Navy, and Police contingents was a visual feast in and of itself, as their movements and spirits were in perfect harmony, symbolizing unity and discipline. Similarly, all provinces' cultural floats added a splash of color to the parade. Not only did these floats present the local dances, but they also showcased the cultural monuments and natural sights. Although every aspect of this phenomenal event was an experience in itself, for me, the defining moment was the national anthem, which every individual at the venue sung with the utmost respect and enthusiasm. Hence, the coherence and oneness of Pakistani people, who belonged to different regions but united as Pakistanis, was mesmerizing, so much so that it brought tears to my eyes. This was exactly how my mother might have felt when she narrated her feelings a year ago. Thus, it would not be wrong to say that I was instantly filled with immense pride and a patriotic drive.
Growing up, we often forget the value and importance of freedom, but a genuine interaction with someone who has lived through the chaotic period is an eye-opener. My mother’s firsthand account of the of March 23, 1940 was the first chapter in the creation of Pakistan. Even though the story of Pakistan’s inception saw many other joyful moments, the Lahore Resolution held prime importance for the future generations. This is because it was the day when our forefathers pledged to free the Muslims of the sub-continent from the claws of the British and Hindu elite. Hence, organizing events like the Pakistan Day Parade is necessary not only to commemorate the efforts of our predecessors, but also to develop and polish the patriotic emotions of the younger lot. 

Following are the sentiments of a few Pakistanis regarding Pakistan Day and the Parade:

Usman Haider Dogar (United Nations Political Affairs Officer, Nairobi)
The Pakistan Day Parade is not only a show of military might, but also a symbol of unity and pride for all Pakistanis, including those who live outside the country. I have been living overseas and working with the United Nations since 2006 and don’t recall missing the celebrations of this joyous day. Every year the Pakistani embassy hosts a special event to commemorate this day. Similarly, ceremonies commemorating this day are held in mission areas to emphasize the significance of March 23 for the Pakistani people. 
Mazhar Nisar (Award-winning Television and Radio Broadcaster)
The Pakistan Day Parade is the main event on March 23, commemorating the passing of the Pakistan Resolution in 1940. It showcases in a most graceful manner the strength, resilience, and resolve of our valiant armed forces to protect and safeguard the ideology and integrity of our country as a sovereign state. The parade symbolizes our national harmony and rich cultural diversity, with all federating units participating with zeal and fervor in presenting before the world the heritage of our great country. It is a moment of pride for every Pakistani, a moment to stand with our heads held high in the comity of nations and give a message of strength, hope, and commitment to our ideals.
Yasir Masood Tanoli (Security and Defense Analyst)

The Pakistan military parade is not just a display of armory, skill, and strength of our military forces, but it has always been a symbol of patriotic fervor that is associated with this day. Perhaps my love and appreciation for Pakistan's national day oozes from my soul because I was born on this day. As a government employee, I've had the privilege of attending the parade ceremony on several occasions, and the ambience undoubtedly reminds us of the hardships our forefathers endured to achieve this beautiful homeland, as well as rejuvenating our resolve to do everything we can for Pakistan. Thanks, and salute to our brave armed forces.

Umar Daraz Gondal (News Anchor)
In present times, the idea of nationalism is quite prevalent as the nation-states highly rely on it for their national unity. However, on national days, the love for one’s country is at its peak. I, and my fellow news anchors are great examples in this regard. Being journalists, we must deliver the news in the most neutral and unbiased way possible. But it's impossible to keep our emotions in check when covering the 23rd March parade, especially when we see the pride with which the jawans salute the Pakistani flag. It is not wrong to say that heroes are created, not born, and events like the Pakistan Day Parade are quite significant in evoking the emotions.
Desaar Zehra (Doctor)

Attending the Pakistan Day Parade had always been a dream of mine, and the experience was immensely rewarding. Watching the amazing paratroopers dive holding the Pakistani flag while the F-17s zoomed above us in Sherdil formation, I felt great pride in the achievements of our army and their selfless devotion to the country. The parade was a magnificent display of our sovereignty and precious national identity. To this day, the memory keeps me devoted to my country and invigorates my passion to serve my beloved countrymen.

Sundus Farooq (Doctor)
During my school and college days, the parade was discontinued due to security concerns, but it was resumed in 2015. Being the daughter of an army officer, the spirit was always there in me. Maybe this was due to the constant retelling of Pakistan’s history by my parents and grandparents in my household. When I witnessed the parade, I was overwhelmed by the powerful sentiments of nationalism.
Ihtasham Khalid (Geophysicist)
Managing an army of hundreds of thousands of forces comes with a big responsibility, and a morale boost is required for those serving on the frontline away from their family and loved ones in harsh conditions. This is the day to thank them for their services. 
Momina Sameen Durrani (Student)
The Pakistan Day Parade, in my opinion, is a well-organized event with something for everyone to enjoy. The best part for me was seeing the new radars, tanks, and other military equipment. They showed how we have progressed over the years, as we are a nation that started its journey with meagre military equipment. Hence, to me, the parade is an example of all the hard work and patriotism with which the Pakistani nation struggled through the decades.
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