The 74th Independence Day yet again brings with it countless reasons for gratitude and celebration. While many in the world yearn for freedom, ours is thriving; Pakistan has grown from strength to strength, constantly evolving to tackle the challenges of an ever-changing world and emerged as a strong, resilient, cohesive nation. Whereas many expected it to fail, given the lack of resources, infrastructure and capability to tap its vast natural reserves, it has overcome every adversity; Pakistan is a success story written with passion, commitment, hard work, dynamism and sacrifice. Notwithstanding, the journey continues and is expected to make ever-changing demands according to the dictates of time.
Modern economy, technology (especially IT) and a productive labour force underpin the 21st century model of development. In this regard, the potential of women cannot be denied or their role relegated to the more traditional spheres if a country is to progress and develop. Pakistan is no exception to this. Our women have the potential and they are making endeavours to contribute to national development. Although, our women can be seen making their mark in all walks of life, they still have to figure their way around many obstacles that pull them back and as a consequence make for our transition to the new model of development slower than desired. Since there can be no debate about the role of women in our country’s progress, it becomes our national duty to integrate women and facilitate them to make use of their potential because they make up for almost half of our population. Societal and family support, better and modern educational facilities that can prepare them for entry into the modern economic model that is skewed towards those with technological knowhow, and access to capital (in the form of loans, given the limitations of their economic status), are needed if women are to make worthwhile contribution to the development of the nation. Moreover, societal values and inherent limitations like traditional roles associated with women, their physical capacity, etc., should be kept in mind as we try to transition to the 21st century model.
However, reconciling its sui generis social and cultural constructs to the 21st century model is the requirement for any country that wants to keep pace; if such a reconciliation is not attempted, it can be highly counterproductive and lead to deepening of the very divisions that we want to avoid. Any model that is adopted is only as good as its adaptability; juxtaposing can only lead to chaos. If ground realities are brushed aside, it can result in a schism being created and breakdown of the very foundations on which our society and progress depend. While we cannot avoid the bombardment of ideas in an ever more connected global space, we cannot relinquish our own distinctive identity either if we are to reap any benefits from such ideas. Therefore, it is our collective responsibility as a nation to strike a balance and mould our plan of action by assimilating and indigenizing the 21st century development model to our unique cultural context.
This year, as we celebrate our independence and show our gratitude for this hard earned freedom, we should also resolve to protect it by not letting any divisions get the better of us, and to nurture it by being more adaptable as well as making adaptable any and all intellectual influences that we are bound to inevitably cross paths with on the road to a more prosperous Pakistan.
Happy Independence Day!
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