Pakistan is land of diverse physical features that are complemented by equally diverse people and regional cultures, which come together to form a unique, vibrant national culture. Our distinct national culture is an amalgamation of all the regional cultures cemented by shared beliefs, ideologies and the goal of making Pakistan fulfil its destiny of peace, development and prosperity. The Pakistani society is a pluralistic one in that people of different beliefs, backgrounds, and lifestyles coexist and participate equally towards the growth and development of our nation. The diversity among our people and intercultural identities contribute to a single identity because of the common strands that run through them with the result that there is an undeniable impress of Pakistan. Indeed, Pakistan is the embodiment of ‘unity in diversity’.
Pakistan’s national culture reflects the consideration of varying social customs of all the ethnic groups that is necessary for their coexistence, which helps in maintaining a sense of harmony that helps towards the common goals of the nation’s defense, prosperity and development. Tolerance and acceptance for each other’s cultural values goes a long way in clinching unity amidst differences. The Joint Services Pakistan Day Parade on March 23rd, displaying our military might, is a representation of not just the various regional cultures that make up Pakistani culture but also manifests that as a nation we are trying towards greater inclusivity of all genders and faith. This was manifested in the parade this year too as women from different fields were represented in the marching columns as well as on the various cultural floats and troupes. The message was loud and clear: we are united as a nation and willing to go to any lengths for it despite all our differences, which might give us our individual identity but that are part and parcel of our national identity.
As in everything, women hold a pivotal role by providing a sound foundation to bring diverse cultures together as they are the shapers of any individual’s identity. We can only ensure that we stay as united as we are if our women recognize that the complexity of diversity enriches human interactions; we can learn so much from each other if only we learn to accept and respect our differences. Intercultural identities with diverse social, political and economic approaches of people from different origins, backgrounds and histories, can be used for greater harmony if we focus on the common instead of focussing on the disparate. Ethos of tolerance, self-discipline, improvement of self, compassion, and kindness, will have to be inculcated in our youth to enjoy continued social harmony in working towards common national goals. However, what needs most special consideration is that diversity is to be respected not painted over; even though our enemies would wish nothing more than, and even work towards it, that our distinctive regional cultural patterns be a cause of fracture in our decidedly national oneness.
National culture is a construct that needs to be constantly worked towards. Our national culture does not emanate from a single source, in fact, it draws its strength and distinctiveness from a rich heritage and varying approaches towards development. It is historically evident that cultural diversity need not undermine a society's cohesion. Cultural diversity also means that every person can make a unique and positive contribution to the society because of, rather than in spite of, their differences by bringing to the table their own unique blend for the recipe needed to achieve shared national goals. Together we proudly live, serve and guarantee a bright future for our nation. Our diversity is an inherent national strength that can help us move towards more unity. HH
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