Of resolutions past | Pakistan Today

Of resolutions past

It is ironic that Pakistan Day falls this week, just days after Raymond Davis was released from punishment for his role in the deaths of three individuals and the destruction of their families.

Lahore, long before it was the scene of these crimes, was the location of the 22-24 March, 1940 general session of the All India Muslim League. It was in Lahore, on 23 March, 1940, that the League formally adopted a measure known as the Lahore Resolution — calling for greater Muslim unity in British India. Many people believe that it was on that day that the idea of a Pakistan previously touted by others took the shape of a real plan for autonomy and independence. Today, this momentous event is celebrated as Pakistan Day.

Jinnah, in the pivotal moment when he publicly changed his mind and announced that a two-state theory was best for the Muslims of India, transformed in the eyes of his colleagues from a practical participant into a passionate leader. For reasons his own, as well as reasons greater than him, he had come to the conclusion that autonomy would translate into independence. For the Muslims of India to get the respect and authority they deserved, they had to have their own country, he now believed.

What would Jinnah have said of the Raymond Davis scandal? Would he have been the practical politician of his pre-Lahore Resolution days, or would he have been the passionate voice whose own marginalisation led him to believe independence had to be tangible visible on a map in order to be certain. Though he passed away shortly after the birth of Pakistan, he did not leave without realising that simple solutions are never as simple as they seem, and independence for a young nation with so many competing interests focused on it, would not come overnight. He was aware of the challenges ahead. But even Jinnah would have been shell-shocked, disappointed by such a callous disregard for Pakistani lives exactly the thing he and the League had hoped to avoid in the new nation.

When the Pakistani government released Raymond Davis last week, they once again demonstrated the difference between many developing countries and their developed counterparts: at least on the face of it, a nations independence and therefore integrity is paramount to the governments of developed countries. Their position in the world is resolute and important and their citizens as extensions of a strong government are to be protected.

Had a Pakistani man been accused of a daylight assassination in a public place in New York City, his country wouldnt have fought for his rights, and the Americans wouldnt have allowed them to even think it possible. Those are the dynamics of power that Jinnah and the League no doubt envisioned a country where Muslim citizens are valuable, to be protected. Those are the dynamics of power that remain elusive in Pakistan, despite the cartographers talents.

This isnt about nationalism or its ugly cousin patriotism this is about placing value on the integrity of a people: the Pakistani people were disrespected the day Raymond Davis was released. Their blood had been spilled in vain, their courts were trivialised, and someone commoditised their self-respect. Pakistani lives are worth less than other lives, the public learned that day.

As the Davis release overshadows the Pakistan Day celebrations this week, yet another opportunity presents itself to the people of Pakistan to question where their nation is headed and how much they, the people, will count as the path to the future is paved. A nation is nothing without its people, but a people are nothing without their dignity.

The writer is a US-based political analyst and a former Producer for BBC and Al-Jazeera. Follow her on Twitter @ShirinSadeghi