Sporting events attract huge crowds and rate highly on television

On 13th August, a colleague in the office started distributing small pins of our national flag to remind us that the next day was Pakistan’s 66th independence day anniversary and we should do our bit to celebrate it.

Well, with war clouds hovering in the horizon and driven by a semblance of patriotic spirit we pinned the flags to our shirts and collar lapels to express solidarity with our compatriots.

The gesture may merely be symbolic but the fact of the matter is no matter how apathetic or aloof one feels on the occasion one is more or less affected by the fervor and passion of the moment.

The day begins with a 21-gun salute and television channels start broadcasting national songs and programs from early in the morning arousing the sentiments of the masses that are deeply moved by the national spirit of the day.

It is all right to be caught up in the euphoria of the day but on a serious note it is a time for reflection and retrospection also. Have we really captured the essence of independence? Have we realized the dreams and visions of our founding fathers or are we still half way there? Is there cause to celebrate and are we really independent?

Freedom comes with responsibility and unfortunately it seems that in the past few decades the powers that be have abdicated their responsibility and present day Pakistan has lost its bearings.

The nation is plunged into an abyss of violent religious extremism, unbridled terrorism, corruption, inflation and massive power outages. Our education and healthcare system is in shambles, sectarian warfare and religious bigotry is on the rise and Pakistan is being classified as one of the most dangerous countries of the world.

Despite all the ills that plague our nation, one finds consolation in the single fact which takes precedence over everything and keeps the flame of hope burning and that is that we breathe the air of freedom.

Sadly, it is another thing that we have lost the ideology of the Quaid, for the great leader in his historic speech to the constituent assembly on 11 August, 1947 had declared, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or 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.”

We must remember that Europe was devastated in two world wars but rose from the ashes of defeat, anguish and despair to rebuild themselves as the most powerful, modern and progressive continent in the world.

Similarly, we must pledge on this 66th day of independence that we shall continue to strive to revive the lost glory of the nation, for Pakistan has immense potential in its youth and is destined for greatness.

Pakistan zindabad!