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Thanking Jinnah – Father of the Nation

Imagine this:

As we celebrate sixty-five years of independence, we also celebrate the freedom to express ourselves, practice our religion, develop and cherish our nation, our culture. As we walk freely, no part of the country is off limits. We feel free to express our religious and political views; unafraid of religious discrimination, whether in our educational institutions or our workplaces. We paint the country green on the 14th of August, light up the sky with fireworks on New Year’s Eve and decorate our homes with candles on the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awal. Freedom is when we flood our cafés and street-side restaurants to watch team Pakistan play cricket. Or, when we unite to support our countrymen struck by natural disasters and in this unity we truly take pride in being Pakistanis. Or, when we relish in the success of a Pakistani filmmaker when she wins an Oscar. Imagine the taste of freedom such that we grow so accustomed to it that we take it for granted.

It seems a far-fetched dream considering the Pakistan we see around us today. But, in fact, weare free individuals: our thoughts; our actions are not bound. For us the sky can truly be the limit, and all because of one man: Muhammad Ali Jinnah, revered as our Quaid-e-Azam (Great Leader) and Baba-e-Quam (Father of the Nation).

Jinnah was a man not only with vision that inspired a dream, but also a man with the drive to achieve that dream. He was selfless in his sacrifices for his people and courageous enough to always be truthful. People followed him and his ideals and eventually acquired a piece of land which they can now call their own.

Even after its creation, Pakistan desperately needed a charismatic leader and the Quaid fulfilled that need profoundly. After all, he was more than a mere Governor-General: he was the Quaid-e-Azam who had brought the State into being; he is after all the Father of the Nation. He worked hard until overpowered by age and disease and died on 11th of September 1948.  How true was Lord Pethick Lawrence – the former Secretary of State for India – when he said, “Gandhi died by the hands of an assassin; Jinnah died by his devotion to Pakistan”.

On the 25th of December, Pakistan observes the Quaid’s birthday as a national holiday and lets its heart swell with gratitude for the man who altered the course of history, modified the map of the world, created a nation state and yielded enormous power whilst remaining incorruptible. We, as Pakistanis, thank the Quaid for his dream and his struggles that gave us our homeland. But what would the Quaid say if he saw his beloved Pakistan today? He created a nation where he hoped love, unity and respect would flourish; and yet today we seem to stand divided. Divided in our beliefs, our values, our ideals, our dreams. The dream that gave us our identity and once united us has now left us disintegrated. Undeniably we come together as an unbeatable force in the face of disasters and national crises; showing the world our capabilities and our compassion for the suffering. But, how about pulsating together as one heartbeat as the norm rather than the exception?

This 25th of December why not make a pact to thank our Quaid by keeping his dream alive each and every day? Our lives and our destinies would perhaps have been very different if it had not been for him. Let us truly unite in the love we harbor for our Baba-e-Quam, as we appreciate him for all his sacrifices and devotion to the nation he created and called Pakistan.

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