The Pakistan day comes around each year. For most of us, it means little more than a holiday — a day off work, a time to spend with family and friends and perhaps, arrange a spring picnic. The boom of a gun salute, ringing out at dawn will remind many that it is March 23; the day the Pakistan Resolution was presented. Except today, much of the significance of that document has ebbed. As a kind of entertainment, many may watch on TV the national awards handed out on August 14, while the real meaning of the occasion has in essence been lost. The emotion that marked the 1947 creation of our state has gradually dissipated and few today, beyond the rhetoric, really share what that momentous occasion meant. Many of the reasons why the excitement has faded are clear. Little change has occurred from one year to the next. Many people are simply locked in a constant struggle to survive and put food before their children. For them, there is naturally very little to celebrate.
Given this state of affairs, the time has come for us to think harder about what March 23 is about. It is marked as a historic occasion because it set the base for a new land, a land of hope, a land with a future. The Resolution passed on that day marked much of what that land would be about. Today, given how far we have strayed from that vision, we must try and re-evaluate where we stand and why. Rather than the mere show and pomp of the occasion, perhaps we need to think about how we can resurrect a nation that needs rejuvenation and use March 23 as a time to organise a range of discussions on this. Furthermore, Pakistan needs to have a national day which every citizen can genuinely celebrate. One immediate example of an issue, that is of a national nature but over which there is considerable confusion, that comes to mind is the war on terror. Is it our war, or is it not our war? Our the Taliban our friends or our enemies, should embrace them or should we fight them? These and many other important questions need honest answers because they will help determine the path which the nation will take in the coming years.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2012.