“We have undoubtedly achieved Pakistan, and that too without bloody war and practically peacefully by moral and intellectual force and with the power of the pen, which is no less mighty than the sword and so our righteous cause has triumphed…. Pakistan is now a fait accompli and it can never be undone, besides, it was the only just, honorable, and practical solution of the most complex constitutional problem of this great subcontinent…. Now is the time, chance and opportunity for every Mussalman to make his or her fullest and best contribution and make the greatest sacrifice and work ceaselessly in the service of our nation and make Pakistan one of the greatest nations of the world,” with this message on August 31, 1947 Quaid-i-Azam asked the Pakistanis to work ceaselessly in the service of this great nation.
The very formation of Pakistan was a tremendous achievement which was made possible by the dedicated leadership of Quaid-i-Azam despite his ailing health and great struggle by the people. The Muslims of the subcontinent had to overcome the opposition of the British colonial power as well as Hindu majority and its cunning leadership. On the one side were the British and on the other the detractors, but he persisted and prevailed. That unflinching spirit of the Quaid has been passed on to generations of Pakistanis – reflected in both war and peace – and the way this nation has faced and overcome the internal and external threats posed to the country. Pakistan’s eastern neighbor has always escalated tensions owing to its hegemonic designs. Our western borders are also not entirely safe due to elusive peace in Afghanistan.
Notwithstanding, all these challenges carried in them opportunity and the response by the Pakistani people amply embodied the resolve of the nation. Since 1947, Pakistan fought many wars and suffered natural calamities, but each time the nation showed great courage to withstand the challenges, survive and finally triumph despite heavy odds. In the last two decades, from 2001-2020, the nation collectively fought a long war against terrorism and extremism. When we started fighting the War on Terror, we simultaneously faced hostilities on the Eastern Front. During this time period, Pakistan was victim to numerous natural disasters that impacted the population badly, yet the nation remained undeterred. The most devastating natural calamity struck the country in 2005 when a huge earthquake resulted in massive casualties, injuries and left many homeless. Later floods in 2010 and 2011 affected millions of people, destroyed infrastructure, disrupted livelihoods, services and healthcare. Each critical juncture saw the coming together of a nation. From providing aid to rebuilding, our entire nation, Armed Forces and the LEAs banded together to extend their services to the suffering population. Generosity and the spirit of giving was evident as people helped each other out, hosted TDPs and donated extensively during the earthquake and floods.
The troubled spots in Swat, Dir, Mohmand, Bajaur, South Waziristan, and North Waziristan etc. were cleared of hardcore terrorists and then Pakistan moved on to the nationwide Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, and conducted IBOs to root out the remaining elements including the abettors and facilitators. We have won this war as a nation showing great fortitude and resilience, however, the job is not yet over. The areas located on the rim of Pak-Afghan border cannot remain immune to the spillover effects of any turbulence in the neighboring country. The continuing consolidation operations along the Pak-Afghan border would further ensure the security of people along the borders as well as in cities and towns of Pakistan. Through the iron will of the nation, all threats to peace will be thwarted and removed.
A country that had meagre resources in 1947 and had to make do with skeletal civil services, no industrial base, and a small military, now has the most professional military force, is a nuclear state and has its own rising defence industry. Economic difficulties and meagre resources that Pakistan had acquired at the time of partition couldn’t dissuade our nation. As detractors of Pakistan asserted time and again that the country wouldn’t survive due to the security and economic challenges it faced, labelling it a country at the edge of the abyss, Pakistan not only survived and prospered but over the years, the nation showed great courage in the face of adversity. Defying all odds, the Pakistani nation has and is braving these challenges with courage and has become an enduring emblem of resilience. We owe much to our shuhada and ghazis who made great sacrifices for the country and for its people to live peacefully and prosper. As we commemorate Defence and Martyrs Day, let’s pledge to transform this hard-earned peace into a great opportunity for the economic stability and prosperity of the people of Pakistan.
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