The significance of 23rd March can be traced back to the important historic event where the demand for a separate state was put forth on the founding principle of Two-Nation Theory. History tells us that it was the end of the attempts to find a common and acceptable constitutional framework which could ensure political safeguards for the Muslims and allay their concerns. After working with Congress for years and vying for Hindu-Muslim unity, Quaid-i-Azam was fully aware of the myopic views and bigotry of the Congress leadership. The Founding Fathers had timely identified that two nations, with two different cultures and traditions, existed in the subcontinent and that the Hindu fundamentalists would suppress the Muslims’ religion and culture ergo their very identity. Even those who most vehemently and resolutely stand against the Two-Nation Theory can’t deny the present state of Muslims and other minorities in India, which depicts the systematic, state-run attempt to eliminate their cultural and religious identity and relegate them as second-class citizens in their own country. A dark fate would have befallen us, had our leaders not have had the foresight in identifying the true objectives of Hindu nationalist ideologues.
The 1930s and 1940s was the period of struggle for a Muslim state, the culmination of which enabled the Muslims to exercise their freedom, from economic improvement to cultural and intellectual liberty and above all, breaking free of the overpowering Hindu majority. The intense and arduous struggle for our independence and the opportunity to safely live as a nation, make the freedoms that we have today all the more precious, something that has to be jealously guarded.
To celebrate this landmark event in our struggle, Pakistan Day is celebrated with zest including the Joint Services Pakistan Day Parade where we display our preparedness and national resolve to safeguard the nation and defend it against all threats. This is the day when you can visibly see the passion of all Pakistanis displayed in the festivities; from civilians to the armed forces, everyone recognizes the blessings of living in a free country where no one is persecuted for their identity and their freedoms are protected.
Over the years, the country has made valuable contributions for peace may it be within region or around the world through taking part in numerous United Nations peacekeeping missions. However, there are many threats still prevalent in the current environment. In this enduring commitment to peace the threat to Pakistan’s security has been reduced considerably through various counter-terrorism operations and the latest Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad that has played its role to create a peaceful, stable and normalized environment where people’s confidence in the state has been restored and terrorists have been rendered ineffective through curtailing their freedom of action, and through ensuring the security of Pakistan’s borders.
The collective effort of the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and the support of the nation towards this common goal has been our greatest strength in this regard. Terrorism and extremism can only be defeated by the LEAs and society as a whole. Speaking about the counter violent extremism strategy, DG ISPR, Major General Babar Iftikhar during a recent press conference said, "One thing is clear that an ideology can only be countered by a superior ideology or a superior argument as we say." Therefore, the strategy behind the operation was to take part in the implementation of the National Action Plan, inclusion of tribal areas in national mainstream, and controlling extremism by taking part in the government’s reforms pertaining to police, education and madrassas.
Besides the counter-terrorism efforts, Pakistan has also recently held military exercises at national and international level for the promotion of cooperation, communication and defense relations between the Armed Forces. Exercise Jidar-ul-Hadeed involved integrated maneuvers of infantry and mechanized forces in a defensive role, wherein the participating troops trained under strenuous field conditions. In another joint Exercise Ataturk-XI, Turkish Special Forces and Pakistan’s Special Service Group (SSG) troops practiced counter-terrorism maneuvers and operations. Moreover, AMAN-21, the 7th Multinational Maritime Exercise in the series, saw the participation of regional and extra-regional navies of up to 45 countries with ships, aircraft, Special Operation Forces and a large number of observers, signifying the commitment towards making seas safer for all.
In another step towards working for sustainable peace, the Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan held discussions over the established mechanism of hotline contact and agreed on ceasefire along the LoC and adjacent sectors. It is thereby hoped that sanity will prevail and India will reconsider its actions in the best interest of the region.
Pakistan is earnestly working in the direction of the ideals and goals set forth by Quaid-i-Azam, demonstrating a spirit of accommodation, inclusion and harmony. In this decisively free country, Pakistan has consolidated its efforts and made considerable achievements towards the goal of a prosperous, peaceful and stable Pakistan and extended goodwill to various other countries over the decades following its independence. Built upon clearly articulated vision, values and principles, Pakistan is making strides in the right direction in the hope for an even better future.
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