I extend felicitations to all fellow Pakistanis living throughout the length and breadth of the country on the Independence Day. I also felicitate the Pakistanis who are settled abroad but their hearts are in Pakistan. They deem the green flag as a symbol of honour and hold it dearer than their lives.
Pakistan is our identity that we earned through immense sacrifices. Countless people gave their blood to kindle the light of freedom. Our elders sacrificed their present for our future. Today we remember our forefathers and pay tribute to them for sacrificing all they had to give us an identity.
Today, we also pay homage to Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah for providing us a sincere and honest leadership that we consider as a gift of God. On the international horizon he occupies a highly dignified stature. He proved that with honesty and steadfastness, a nation can surmount all difficulties and that character and determination are the keys to ultimate success.
Pakistan was envisioned by Allama Iqbal. We were fortunate to have such an intellectual and a great poet who could foresee the emergence of Pakistan which is an undeniable reality today. Besides, Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam also guided us about the challenges and responsibilities that our future generations had to face in the times to come.
Nature has blessed us with all the bounties. We have all the four seasons; our mountains are full of natural resources and our rivers are in full flow. We are extremely grateful to God for all the precious gifts.
Brothers and sisters!
Whereas this Day reminds us of the kindness of God, it also invites us to self-accountability. Our forefathers had played their due role but we should ask ourselves if we fulfilled our responsibility. The Almighty generously blessed us with numerous bounties but did we thank God for all the blessings bestowed on us. There are many such questions that we have to answer today. Let’s face these questions and see as to how far we have been able to meet the expectations of our forefathers.
We got this country so that we could live freely in accordance with our cultural traditions and that nobody was allowed to dictate terms to us from within or outside. We were to determine our priorities ourselves. The people were supposed to have the right to elect the government of their choice. Did we achieve these objectives? Did we allow democracy to survive and prosper in our country?
No nation can live under subjugation which in Allama Iqbal’s words would mean hurting one’s pride. Were we able to safeguard our ego after independence? Could we protect our basic rights? Did our self-respect remain intact?
This country was created as a result of the protest by Muslims of the sub-continent who were in minority. The very existence of Muslims was jeopardised in the united India. With every passing day the Muslims realized that they were being driven against the wall. Quaid-e-Azam who was considered the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity was compelled to demand a separate homeland for the Muslims. This was not a case of aggression against any other nation. From Allama Iqbal’s Allahbad address to the Pakistan Resolution, the demand for a separate homeland was a prudent and practical solution for establishing peace in the subcontinent. Are the rights of minorities protected in a country that was established on the principle of mutual co-existence? Are the minorities in Pakistan satisfied? Did we fulfil the promise that Quaid-e-Azam made to them on 11 August 1947? We had pledged to make Pakistan a modern welfare state of the world. We wanted to make Pakistan a beacon of light for the people of the world. We desired to make it a hub of peace so that the world looked at it with envy. Have we been able to develop Pakistan on these lines?
On this Independence Day, all these questions need to be answered. The rulers, the nation, the intellectuals and politicians have to face these questions and ask themselves for the answers. We have to evaluate as to how many answers are in the affirmative. If majority of the answers are positive, we do have the right to be satisfied. However, if the answers are in negative then this is the most opportune time for self-accountability and reformation.
Dear brothers and sisters!
When I delve into these questions, I realize that despite so many reservations there are reasons for optimism. With this optimism, we can make a fresh start with renewed determination. We have the light that will turn despair into hope. I cite a few examples here:
• The youth account for 60% of our population. This wealth is hardly possessed by any other country in the world.
• Pakistan is a nuclear power. The manner in which Pakistan achieved this milestone despite hostile circumstances is a proof that it possesses a surprising potential to move forward.
• The response of the nation in the recent elections clearly indicates that we can depend on people’s insight and that as a nation we have the potential and capacity to take the right decisions. This is a ray of hope for us.
• No decision in the region can now be taken ignoring Pakistan. The fact that Pakistan is an important country in South Asia is acknowledged the world over.
• The Gwadar Port and the related communication network as agreed upon in my recent visit to China will bring an economic revolution in the region where Pakistan will be the hub of economic and political activities.
• Pakistanis have achieved due recognition abroad. They have proved their mettle in all fields. Today, they are a major source of foreign exchange earning for the country. Above all they have always responded to the call of the country whenever needed. They are the strategic reserve of the country and a lasting glimmer of hope
Now we have before us the important objective of rebuilding the country with a view to establish the supremacy of the constitution, stability of democratic institutions and rehabilitating the country’s economy on strong footings. Every one has to contribute to this cause irrespective of personal interests. If we do not offer this sacrifice today, the future generations will never pardon us.
With the grace of God our intentions are pious and our morale is high. We have started in the right direction with sincerity. Insha’Allah with the active support of the people, the administrative potential of our colleagues and the earnestness of our intention, we shall transform Pakistan into a welfare state as envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam. The present circumstances demand that the economic and democratic institutions should be strengthened and true democratic governance should be promoted so that there is transparency in the affairs of the government and wastage of national resources is avoided. Our forefathers struggled to achieve a separate homeland to realise these objectives. We should not forget the fact that the key to our success lies in adherence to the principles propounded by the great Quaid.
Unfortunately, we are haunted by the threats of extremism and terrorism and the people are worried over this situation. I am also perturbed about it and realise people’s anxiety due to terrorism. The people also realize that such difficulties do come in the life of nations and they have to demonstrate unity and solidarity to overcome these troubles. Our morale is high and Insha’Allah we will defeat the terrorists. I am confident that with the active support of the people, the armed forces and the law enforcing agencies, we shall be able to eliminate terrorism and make the country a hub of peace so as to present a secure Pakistan to our coming generations.
Today, Pakistan is fulfilling its international responsibilities in the best possible manner. We are part of the UN peace missions and the services of Pakistani forces and experts are acknowledged the world over. Our commitment to world peace is well known. It is recognition of Pakistan’s role that UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon is with us today. I welcome him to Pakistan.
It is a matter of honour and privilege that the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki- Moon, has joined us on our independence day. We thank him for accepting the invitation of the Government to visit Pakistan. I would also like to express my gratitude to him for visiting Pakistan on a day so close to the heart of each and every Pakistani.
Your presence at our independence day is reassuring for us. On 15 August 1947, Quaid-e-Azam, the founder of the nation, while outlining the guiding principles of Pakistan's foreign policy, stated: "We stand by the United Nations Charter and will gladly make our contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world." In the last 66 years of our independence, we have stood by the Charter of the United Nations, contributed to global peace through our efforts in the General Assembly and the Security Council and ensured global security and prosperity by contributing the largest number of troops to the UN Peacekeeping operations. On our independence day, we renew our pledge to continue playing our positive role in promoting global peace and security.
Brothers and Sisters!
I have intentionally avoided going into details of the problems we are facing today. I will take the nation into confidence soon and present the salient features of the promising future which I foresee. Today, I want to tell you that despite some difficulties, we are hopeful for a better and prosperous future. The leadership is united. We have enough to build our country and Insha'Allah we will come out of the difficult situation as we have the necessary wherewithal for the new journey.
God be our saviour and guide!