They say that if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem itself. How long can we all sit and watch our country constantly being referred to as the most dangerous place on earth? How long can we watch our own people killing each other and being killed, all in the name of religion which seems remote to those of us who see our religion as a religion of peace, promoting harmony and a religion that teaches you tolerance? While we cannot remain indifferent to the current crisis, we should stand up and be counted as the conscious voice in support of our country and in support of those few brave individuals who are still upholding the spirit of one united Pakistan.
We should be the change we wish to see in the world.
Each year as mid-August approaches, we should all remind ourselves what it means to have our own country, a place to call our own. Maybe it is just a random observation but each year the zeal to ‘celebrate’ our one national day seems to diminish. The month of August is not just about buying some extra flags (that lay cluttered on the ground next day unfortunately), listening to old national songs or enjoying another public holiday. It is about reflecting back on the essence and core values that became Pakistan. It is an opportunity to tell our children what they can and should do for their country.
Unity, Faith and Discipline sound like a far cry in the current situation when all you hear about is more killings, another blast, another attack on innocent lives, in addition to the ongoing energy crisis. And if all that was not enough, ongoing riots, sectarian killings and increasingly minorities coming under fire too. It is perhaps time to remind ourselves that our national leader and founder of Pakistan strongly believed in the concept of social cohesion. Social cohesion is the ‘glue’ that binds people together in a society, particularly in the context of cultural diversity. Jinnah was a strong advocate of an inclusive and impartial government, religious freedom, rule of law and equality for all. While Jinnah’s portrait seems to adorn every government department and office, his words seem to have lost their way in the crooked corridors of history. The least we can all do this August is to catch up on our Jinnah readings and remind ourselves of the true spirit behind the creation of Pakistan.
It is ironic that the most contentious issue when it comes to the Leader of the Nation is his vision as perceived by the common man, and the real vision he had for Pakistan as clearly echoing from all his speeches. I quote one from his Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, August 1947, as a reminder in the context of the recent Gojra violence.
‘You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.’