The nation will celebrate 138th birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on 25 December. Quaid-i-Azam was the central figure of Pakistan Movement who successfully led the struggle for a separate homeland in its most critical phase. Jinnah had a vision for Pakistan and expected this country to become a free and powerful nation; a democracy based on equality, justice and fair-play to everybody. While addressing the government officers at Karachi on October 11, 1947, Jinnah said, “The establishment of Pakistan for which we have been striving… is, by [the] grace of God, an established fact today, but the creation of a State of our own was the means to an end and not the end in itself. We should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play.” Pakistan is faced with numerous challenges today. While we are up against multiple threats from external enemies, our security forces and society together, are also confronted with internal threats. Although country has suffered huge losses due to militancy and terrorism, few segments of the society still seem disoriented when it comes to address the sectarian, ethnic, linguistic and other issues of parochial nature. Of many reasons for this disorientation, one fundamental cause is deviation from Quaid’s vision of Pakistan. To Jinnah, Pakistan meant a strong state with a multi-layered society, and each citizen contributing to its success. Quaid-i-Azam felt most proud of having achieved Pakistan without a war and peacefully by his moral and intellectual force, and with the power of the argument. This leaves a message of fortitude, forbearance, tolerance, and above all, a peaceful consistent struggle to build the nation. Quaid believed in strong nationalism and always advocated for working beyond narrow confines of self-interest and parochial pursuits. In his speech at Islamia College, Peshawar on April 12, 1948, he said, “Our duty to the State takes us a stage beyond provincialism. It demands a broader sense of vision, and [a] greater sense of patriotism. Our duty to the State often demands that we must be ready to submerge our individual or provincial interests into the common cause for common good. 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.” Problems galore, challenges mounting; determined people and a united nation – this is today’s Pakistan. There is no substitute to hard work, honesty, dedication and of course, patriotism. An inch movement forward in correct direction shall matter too, but we need to find the Quaid’s path to transform Pakistan as a bastion of peace and progress. Sooner the better! Quaid-i-Azam shall always remain a role model for us to follow.
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