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Hilal English

From Darkness to Light–One Year On: Contemplating May 9, 2023 to May 9, 2024

May 2024

As we approach the one-year mark from May 9 to May 9, it’s a poignant time to reflect on the turmoil that ensued. Despite the challenges, the resilience of our nation shines through, promising a brighter tomorrow forged from the lessons of the past.

As we approach the one-year mark from May 9 to May 9, it's a fitting time to reflect on the tumultuous events of this period. May 9 stands as a poignant reminder of our nation's unity and the challenges we've overcome. Confronting the lessons of May 9 with courage and resolve is crucial as we navigate from darkness to light. It serves as a solemn reminder of the trials we've faced and our unwavering commitment to building a better tomorrow, showcasing our resilience and fortitude.
The events of May 9, 2023, mark a somber chapter in Pakistan's history, eliciting widespread condemnation. As chaos and violence engulfed the nation, sacred monuments of national security institutions and martyrs were desecrated. This sacrilege not only evoked profound sorrow and anger nationwide but also plunged the families of the fallen into deep grief. The courageous Pakistan Armed Forces, stationed from the icy heights of Siachen to the scorching deserts of Thar, have always selflessly defended our homeland, amplifying the tragedy of this day. Despite the adversity, the perpetrators of these acts found satisfaction in the realization of their nefarious agendas.
These misguided elements and enemies of the nation believed that their actions would diminish the Pakistani people's love for their armed forces. However, history has proven otherwise. The honor and respect for Pakistan and its defenders have not wavered. Instead, these malevolent forces and their allies have faced widespread ridicule and criticism for their actions. It's worth noting that whenever our nation faced adversity, the Pakistan Armed Forces responded with determination, guided by their duty and commitment to safeguarding our country.  

The creation of SIFC in Pakistan marks a significant step towards harnessing the country's vast resources and potential. This joint civil-military initiative aims to remove bureaucratic hurdles, attract both local and foreign investors, and foster a conducive business environment. Through a whole-of-government approach, SIFC streamlines investment processes, making Pakistan more attractive for investors. 

Over the past year, we've navigated the aftermath of May 9, confronting significant questions that demand our attention. The economic and diplomatic spheres felt the impact of this period, with uncertainty casting a shadow over diplomatic engagements, economic partnerships, and strategic initiatives. However, in the face of these challenges, we've seen remarkable resilience and rejuvenation. Collaborative ventures like the establishment of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) and the ongoing progress of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project demonstrate our unwavering commitment to progress, showing that we are determined to move forward despite the obstacles in our path.
The creation of SIFC in Pakistan marks a significant step towards harnessing the country's vast resources and potential. This joint civil-military initiative aims to remove bureaucratic hurdles, attract both local and foreign investors, and foster a conducive business environment. Through a whole-of-government approach, SIFC streamlines investment processes, making Pakistan more attractive for investors. Recent initiatives include upgradation of infrastructure, such as rail and road networks, promoting agriculture and livestock sectors, enhancing the IT industry, and facilitating mining and energy projects. SIFC's efforts have already yielded substantial results, including multimillion-dollar agreements and streamlined investment procedures. While it's still early to assess SIFC's long-term impact, its achievements signal hope and progress for Pakistan's economic development.
Meanwhile, recent initiatives, including the Pakistan-Saudi Arabia Investment Conference, highlight a deepening economic partnership between the two nations. Saudi Arabia's 'Vision 2030' aligns with Pakistan's development goals, fostering collaboration in sectors like agriculture, technology, energy, and tourism. These initiatives signal a shift towards proactive investment strategies, offering opportunities for economic growth and development amidst regional geopolitical dynamics. The synergy between SIFC's efforts in Pakistan and the economic initiatives of Saudi Arabia presents a promising avenue for mutual prosperity and advancement in both countries.
Pakistan’s military leadership has prioritized national security and pursued developmental initiatives for public welfare, disregarding the propaganda of certain groups and their malicious intentions. Under the leadership of the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), General Syed Asim Munir, and in collaboration with the government, practical measures have been implemented to advance these projects.

As we move forward, it's essential to remember that progress and prosperity are achieved through unity and resilience. May 9 serves as a reminder of the challenges we've overcome and those that still lie ahead. Yet, it's also a testament to our unwavering spirit and determination to build a better tomorrow for Pakistan. 

It is evident that the overseas visits of COAS to countries including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkiye, China, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Kingdom, Azerbaijan, and the United States have not only bolstered national pride and identity but also received a warm welcome from these friendly nations. Similarly, the successful visits of Saudi and Iranian delegations to Pakistan are excellent examples of successful foreign policy and military diplomacy.
On the other hand, in pursuit of progress, a significant milestone has been achieved with the initiation of a bilateral cargo service by the National Logistics Cell (NLC) from Islamabad and Karachi to Kashgar and Shanghai. The implementation of this cargo service will facilitate the future implementation of bilateral transit trade agreements between China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, as well as the practical enforcement of the International Road Transport (TIR) Convention, thereby smoothing the path for regional trade promotion, which will ultimately ensure overall economic development in the region. 
Furthermore, the top leadership of the Pakistan Army also focused on strengthening national defense, exemplified by Heavy Industries Taxila’s latest tank, "Haider," which is counted among the world's most modern tanks. Its indigenous development signifies the friendship between Pakistan and China. Additionally, Pakistan's locally developed Fateh-1 and Fateh-2 missile systems, capable of targeting various enemy objectives up to distances of 140 and 400 kilometers, are included.
The Pakistan Army will never compromise on national security, as evidenced by Operation Marg Bar Sarmachar and successful missile strikes on terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan. This illustrates not only the capability of the Pakistan Armed Forces to respond to any kind of aggression but also their commitment to safeguarding Pakistan's geographical and ideological borders. These initiatives of the Pakistan Army have been welcomed by the general public.
Pakistan's history is filled with many such incidents where nefarious enemies attempted to target Pakistan and its state institutions, with the aim of weakening the national security apparatus.
In any civilized society, the rule of law is paramount to maintaining order and stability. No progressive country in the world allows taking the law into one's own hands, understanding that chaos inevitably ensues without adherence to legal norms and procedures. The recent sentencing of the Capitol Hill attackers by the U.S. judiciary serves as a powerful illustration of this principle in action, reinforcing the fundamental tenets of democracy. Similarly, other recent examples, such as the crackdown on organized crime in European countries and the prosecution of corrupt officials in Asia, highlight the universal imperative of upholding the rule of law to safeguard society's well-being and integrity. These decisive responses underscore the importance of official channels in administering justice and sending a resounding message that unlawful actions will not be tolerated.
As we move forward, it's essential to remember that progress and prosperity are achieved through unity and resilience. May 9 serves as a reminder of the challenges we've overcome and those that still lie ahead. Yet, it's also a testament to our unwavering spirit and determination to build a better tomorrow for Pakistan.


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