United we stand, divided we fall!

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Nosheen Saeed:

On 14th August 1947, Pakistanis achieved their cherished goal of freedom and established Pakistan as an independent sovereign State, where they could live freely with honour, dignity and self-respect. God blessed Pakistan with enormous wealth, resources, potentialities and possibilities. To utilize these gifts, God provided talented, committed and enterprising people, possessing a vision, ability and devotion. Every Pakistani had the opportunity to contribute towards his homeland by serving it honestly, sincerely and selflessly thus leading his homeland towards progress, prosperity and development.

The early departure of Quaid-e-Azam left Pakistan in a state of quandary. Every successive government was worse than the other; each blamed the other for its deceptive and destructive policies. The previous being the devil and the current pristine. This tug of war weakened institutions and law and order. Intolerance grew giving birth to sectarianism and discrimination between caste, creed and communities. Government after government shelved national wellbeing and worked towards personal and vested interests. Those who were against the creation of Pakistan became the ruling class. To perpetuate their rule, they trampled fundamental law, morals, values, principles, traditions, discipline and code of conduct.

The issues held dear by the Quaid, national integrity, social justice, faith and supremacy of law were shrouded. The Quaid’s image was modified to suit the dubious ends of our time tested, tried and failed politicians. This cliché took over the State and ruled over it like a colony imposing its rule on the slaves – hapless people. Lacking originality, vision, sincerity and having no notion of governance, leave alone good governance, unleashed a reign of confusion. Our social and religious ideology succumbed to pressures and quick fixes. Consequently, it was misconstrued and adjusted according to circumstances. Democracy suffered at the hands of civil and military oligarchs. A reign of corruption, favouritism and personal aggrandizement was unleashed, killing merit, competence and professionalism. Infringement and contravention sowed the seeds of provincialism and sectarianism. Instead of galvanizing the people towards national integrity and following the Quaid’s motto of unity, faith and discipline, dissension and diversion, set in. Loot and plunder of the State’s riches continued by mercenaries, the rich became richer and the poor became poorer thus with the passage of time an unbridgeable gulf between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ widened.

The Quaid found it painful to see the curse of provincialism holding sway over Pakistan. It was imperative to get rid of this evil which he considered a relic of the old administration when people clung to provincial autonomy and local liberty of action to avoid British control. After the creation of Pakistan, having one’s own central government, it was a folly to continue to think in the same terms. This is truth easily forgotten by people who begin to prize local, sectional or provincial interest above national interests. In the words of the Quaid, “Local attachments have their value but what is the value and strength of a part, except within a whole.” He further emphasized, “Our duty to the State comes first; our duty to our province, to our district, to our town and to our village and ourselves comes next.” On another occasion he stated, “You must learn to distinguish between your love for your province and your love and duty to the State as a whole, our duty to the State takes us a stage beyond provincialism. It demands a broader sense of vision and greater sense of patriotism.” He asked to pause and consider before taking any step whether it would be conditioned by ones personal or local likes or would be determined by consideration of the good of the State: “Representative governments and representative institutions are no doubt good and desirable, but when people want to reduce them merely to channels of personal aggrandizement, they not only lose their value but earn a bad name.” A bright future lay ahead if individuals, both officials and non-officials, play their part and work in this spirit. Pakistan would emerge as one of the greatest nations of the world.

While talking on the subject of sectarianism, the Quaid declared, “If you want to build up yourself into a Nation, for god’s sake give up this provincialism. Provincialism has been one of the curses; and so is sectionalism – Shia, Sunni etc.” He warned the Nation not to fall into the trap of the enemies of Pakistan who were unfortunately Muslims financed by outsiders.

He referred to them as quislings and fifth-columnists trying to sabotage Pakistan; Muslims who were indifferent to the creation of Pakistan and for vested interests were out to destroy it. These people hoped to kill Pakistan at its very inception but were disappointed, so they set about actively encouraging provincialism in the hope of weakening Pakistan, According to Quaid-e-Azam, “Thwarted in their desire to prevent the establishment of Pakistan, our enemies turned their attention to finding ways and means to weaken and destroy us.”

According to Pakistan’s founding father, the fitting response to the machinations of our enemies would be to get down to the task of building our State on strong and firm foundations and to develop unity. He went on to say, “If we begin to think of ourselves as Bengalis, Punjabis, Sindhis etc. first and Muslims and Pakistanis only incidentally, then Pakistan is bound to disintegrate.”

On the subject of minorities, the Quaid gave strict directions to protect the life and property of the minorities in Pakistan, “We must take it a matter of our prestige and honour to safeguard the lives of the minorities and to create a sense of security among them.” The architect of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, fore-warned and cautioned the nation against internal dissensions. He notified in advance that we would never be able to weld, mould or galvanize ourselves into a strong nation, if we don’t throw off the poison of provincialism, sectionalism, extremism and discrimination. Isn’t it ironical that the approaching dangers and risks, the founder spoke of, fifty-seven years ago, are still looming over our country? They are corresponding to the stated facts.

According to the Quaid, we as a nation should be strong and united; prepared for all eventualities and dangers. The weak and the defenseless invite aggression from others. The only way we can remove temptation from the path of aggressors is to make ourselves impregnable. When the country is facing external dangers and is called upon to deal with internal, of a far reaching character, affecting the future of the people, it demands complete solidarity, discipline and unity. While addressing the Tribal Jirga in Peshawar on 17th April, 1948 and seeking their support, to create complete solidarity amongst the Mussalmans, the Quaid stated, “We Mussalmans believe in one God, one book – The Holy Quran – and one Prophet. So we must stand united as one Nation. You know the old saying that in unity lies strength; united we stand, divided we fall.”

We are free but freedom does not mean license. We cannot behave just as we please and do what we like, irrespective of the interests of other people and of the state. A great responsibility rests on us, it is necessary to work as a united and disciplined nation. What is required is the constructive spirit not the militant spirit. We need to follow the Quaid’s motto of unity, faith and discipline in letter and spirit and shun intolerance and extremism which can only weaken and destroy us. The people must work hard to repair and enrich the country. Pakistan has come to stay and no power on earth can destroy it; it is now fait accompli. It is ours and we our proud of it.

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