By Sajjad Shaukat
Besides Christmas, every year, on December 25, Pakistanis celebrate Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s birth anniversary with every possible way of showing reverence to their country’s founder. It is called the Quaid-e-Azam Day. Jinnah was born on December 25, 1876 and founded Pakistan in 1947. On this very day, seminars, debates and programmes are held to remember the services of the founder of the nation.
Although various programmes are held about the personality, vision and the hard work of this great leader who struggled a lot to get a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Sub-continent, yet the best way to celebrate Quaid-e-Azam Day is to pledge national unity which was emphasized by Quaid-e-Azam and to promote the soft image of Pakistan, as envisaged by the founder of the country.
This very day has come at a time when Pakistan is facing multiple threats of grave nature internally and externally, which are not only worrying all the citizens, but are also creating divisions among the federal and provincial governments including political parties. This drastic situation is distorting Pakistan’s image abroad.
While, it was due to the selfless practical unity among the Muslims under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam that Pakistan became a tangible reality, on August 14, 1947. But that unity started declining after passing through various crises, and the result was separation of East Pakistan in 1971, as India manipulated differences between East Pakistan and the West Pakistan.
However, Pakistan’s security forces have been facing a different war against the enemy which employs subversive activities of various kinds which also include internal and external challenges. Pakistan is in the state of new war, being waged by the Armed Forces and intelligence agencies against terrorists. In this regard, Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad. Army and top intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan.
But, external elements have, again, started terror attacks in Pakistan to weaken it. India intends to obtain various hidden purposes by blaming Islamabad for terrorism. Foreign intelligence agencies such as American CIA, India RAW and Israeli Mossad which have well-established their network in Afghanistan are fully assisting cross-border incursions and terror-activities in various regions of Pakistan through Baloch separatist elements, Jundullah, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL) including their affiliated outfits. On a number of occasions, these insurgent groups claimed responsibility for their acts of sabotage.
With the backing of CIA and Mossad, India is also trying to sabotage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Recent terror-attacks in various regions of Pakistan and particularly in the Balochistan province might be noted as instance.
Externally, Pak Army has boldly been responding to India’s unprovoked firing at the Line of Control (Loc) in Kashmir. While, the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda. They leave no stone unturned in distorting Pakistan’s image.
Unfortunately, it is because of lack of unity among our politicians, leaders and media that foreign opportunists have been manipulating the chaotic situation of Pakistan in order to fulfill their secret agenda by destabilizing the country which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World.
Overtly, American high officials remark that they seek stability in Pakistan, but covertly, they continue to destabilize it to obtain the illegitimate interests of Israel. American top official have also been accusing Pakistan of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan so as to conceal their own terrorism-related assaults in Pakistan, while insisting upon the country to do more against terrorism. Besides, the US-backed propagandas campaign also continues against Pakistan.
Taking cognizance of Pakistan’s internal and external challenges, addressing the participants on the event of commemorating the Defence Day, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on September 6, 2017, “Pakistan has done enough in’ the war on terror and now it is time for the world to do more…Pakistan has made numerous sacrifices fighting terrorism but today the country is being accused of not doing enough to eradicate the menace.” He praised PAK Army for defence of the country and its response to Indian perennial violations at the LoC.
Referring to Afghanistan, he remarked, “Pakistan has tried to support its neighbouring country beyond its means…But we cannot fight the Afghan war in Pakistan…The international powers should not hold us responsible for their shortcomings.”
Without naming the US-led intelligence agencies, Gen. Bajwa reminded the nation and the world that “Pakistan is aware of all the conspiracies against the country and CPEC and its soldiers are ready to sacrifice their lives for the people of Balochistan like people of Balochistan did for Pakistan…they are closely observing those who want to stir unrest in the province.”
According to the press-statement of the ISPR, Gen. Bajwa reiterated army’s determination to eliminate terrorism from the country.
Nevertheless, although Quaid-e-Azam supported the Two Nation Theory which was basis of the Ideology of Pakistan, yet some hostile elements misinterpret it including the vision of Jinnah. In fact, Mohammad Ali Jinnah who was against every sort of extremism, had favoured a moderate Pakistan where other religious communities and minorities would also live without any restriction, along with the Muslims.
It may be recalled that August 11 was official declared National Minorities Day by the former government in 2009 in line with the historic speech of founder of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah at the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947. In his speech, Quaid-e-Azam said, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
In the same speech, Quaid-e-Azam said, “We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between ones caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens, and equal citizens of one state.”
It is mentionable that in accordance with the vision of Quaid-e-Azam, the Constitution of 1973 protects the real rights and interest of minorities, living in Pakistan.
While, India which claims an arch secular state has surprised the world because of continued attacks on other minority groups, especially Christians, Muslims and Sikhs—and events of forced conversion of Christians and Muslims into Hindus.
Unlike India, where religious minorities are being targeted by the Hindu fundamentalist outfits like the ruling party BJP, RSS, Shiv Sena etc., all the minorities such as Christians, Ahmadis, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and Buddhists enjoy fundamental rights in Pakistan, including all other rights of citizenry in Pakistan.
It is noteworthy that the founder of the country had strongly supported the idea of peace in the world as well as with other countries. In this respect on August 15, 1947 Quaid-e-Azam stated, “Our object should be peace within, and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial friendly relations with our immediate neighbours and with the world at large.”
Regarding the status of women, Mohammad Ali Jinnah pointed out on March 25, 1940 at Islamia College for women, “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.”
In accordance with Quaid-e-Azam’s vision, now, Pakistani women are not only working in various public and private sectors, but also in the armed forces of the country.
Notably, Pakistan which came into existence on the basis of Islamic principles to provide respect and protection to all the segments of society is giving full safety to all the minorities as mentioned in the Constitution. Besides other minority groups, particularly Christians are not only serving in the armed forces, but are also working in other departments. Without any discrimination by the Muslims, they also run their own business and are working in private sectors.
Nonetheless, while commemorating the Quaid-e-Azam Day, let us use this opportunity not only to bring ourselves closer to each other by displaying selfless national unity, but also to promote soft image of Pakistan in order to castigate the conspiracy of our external enemies.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations