71 Years of Independence

71 Years of Independence

By: Qurat ul Ain Aman

and the key to a Bright Future

We are proud citizens of Pakistan. The élan, gallantry and talent that Pakistanis are blessed with is unmatchable and is difficult to be found in the people of any other country. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had envisioned a country where every citizen would be allowed to live freely. Under the charismatic leadership of Jinnah, our forefathers put in all their efforts to achieve an independent country, hoping that no citizen of the new state would be deprived of his rights to life, liberty, education and health. Those who dreamed of Pakistan also envisioned that after independence, the new country would tread the path that leads to peace and prosperity. The freedom struggle was not just for the Muslims but also for all the people who wanted to live in an independent country. It is no secret that the Quaid also emphasized much on the provision and protection of the rights of all the minorities who decided to live in Pakistan.

In all, this freedom struggle was made to unite us. Nowadays, we as a nation are, unfortunately, still far away from what was the dream of our forefathers. We are encountering a number of social, economic and political issues. One of the major reasons behind this bleak situation of our country is a sheer lack of unity among us. We are entangled in racial and ethnic prejudices. Despite the fact that our constitution guarantees the provision of all the rights that are required to live freely in a democratic country, we are still striving to get those fairly and equally.

After the independence in 1947, we could not protect our motherland for long, and fell into such parochial politics that as a result, Pakistan dismembered into two parts – the East Pakistan became Bangladesh, and the West Pakistan what is now Pakistan. Owing to the power struggle between military and political elites, we could never become a strong democratic country. Where there is a weak democratic system, there is always sheer violation of fundamental human rights, and Pakistan is no exception. Had there been a strong democratic system in place since independence, we would have been a strong, developed and prosperous country.

The geographical location of our country gives us many advantages and opportunities to exploit so as to put our country on the road to prosperity. Instead of working hard to bring prosperity to our country, unfortunately, we preferred making alliances to serve the interests of major powers of the world to get aids and loans from them. It must be realized that overdependence on other countries and international financial institutions fetches us nothing but destruction of the economic system. Had we showed strict adherence to our foreign policy objectives, we would have worked more for making our country a major regional power. Nuclear weapons cannot guarantee the security of a country when internal problems are mounted to the extent where people do not find enough water to drink and food to eat. Alas, our journey since independence had not been so successful as it was supposed to be .

Let us introspect and find where we stand after 71 years of independence. And, also get to know the reasons behind this state of affairs.

Read More: The Future of Pakistan by Stephen P. Cohen

One of the major things that can pull our country out of the quagmire of mighty problems is high literacy rate. At present, almost 55 million children are out of schools. The condition of government schools, especially those in rural areas, is not up to the mark. Moreover, if a person somehow manages to get higher education, he finds it really difficult to get a respectable job which further adds to higher unemployment rates in our country. In addition, our rapidly growing population has also further aggravated the situation. In our country, a chunk of almost 30 percent of the population is living below the poverty line.

One thing that is of pivotal importance to the stability and prosperity of our country is the will of the governing authorities to formulate and implement robust internal and external policies. First and foremost responsibility of steering the country in the right direction lies on the shoulders of our governing authorities. It is a sad reality that the level and magnitude of corruption are soaring while the rate of literacy is stagnant. There is no denying the fact that Pakistan cannot stand on its feet unless corruption is eradicated. And, we cannot even think of a corruption-free Pakistan until its state institutions are strong and effective. Along with other institutions, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) must be strengthened to the level where no one, whether a common man or an influential one, could even think of indulging in corruption and other such despicable crimes. Moreover, strengthening of the Election Commission of Pakistan is also equally important so as to ensure free and fair election as it is the only process which guarantees that only the competent and visionary leaders come at the helm.

A strong, robust and straightforward foreign policy is also required to keep abreast of the fast-moving world. In today’s globalized world, decisions are made and conveyed within seconds. Full-time availability of a dedicated foreign minister and proactive Foreign Office staff are indispensable to making informed, prompt and right decisions. Moreover, in Pakistan, internal policies are made but they are rarely followed. Strict implementation of Vision 2025 can surely solve a lot of our issues. In addition, both central and provincial governments need to work together to ensure the prosperity of the country and its people. The sincere role of our bureaucracy is also equally important in this regard.

Being a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Pakistan has to strive for achieving maximum of the targets and goals set under the SDGs. Having said that, we cannot achieve the pinnacle of prosperity unless every citizen of Pakistan plays his/her due part. An independent nation is not truly independent if its citizens feel insecure. We shall have to make efforts to take our country to the height of glory. We will have to realize this fact before visualizing a better future. What we need to solve our issues is unity, faith and discipline.

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