ISLAMABAD: As the nation celebrates Pakistan Day on Thursday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Dr Arif Alvi paid homage to the “relentless struggle” of the founding fathers of the country.
Pakistan Day commemorates the passing of the Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940, when the All-India Muslim League demanded a separate nation for the Muslims of the British Indian Empire.
The day dawned with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and a 21-gun salute in the provincial capitals. A change of guards ceremony was also held at the mausoleums of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal in Karachi and Lahore, respectively. Special prayers were offered in mosques after Fajr prayers for the progress and prosperity of the country.
However, the Pakistan Day Military Parade of the Armed Forces at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, scheduled to be held on Pakistan Day, was postponed till Saturday (March 25) due to bad weather.
Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi, prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and other leaders conveyed their greetings and congratulated the nation.
In his message to the nation, President Dr Arif Alvi recalled that the country established state institutions, made its defence impregnable, achieved nuclear deterrence, curbed terrorism, overcame the Covid-19 pandemic, and displayed the spirit of sacrifice and cooperation in the face of natural calamities.
However, he said, we still have a long way to go to ensure the rule of law, strengthen democracy, reduce inequalities in our society, empower women, provide the rights of persons with disabilities, eradicate terrorism and extremism, ensure the political and economic stability of the country, and protect the human rights of our citizens.
Today, we pay tribute to the founding fathers of our nation whose struggles and sacrifices led to the creation of Pakistan, he said.
The president said the persecution of minorities, especially the Muslims in India, the rising wave of violence against Muslims, the violation of human rights, and the brutalities being committed by the Indian security forces in the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir proved that the Muslim leadership of that time made a prudent decision.
He recalled that at the time of independence, the country faced many challenges but despite these challenges, it made tremendous achievements in every field through continuous hard work and ability.
PM Shehbaz felicitated the nation on the occasion, saying that today was a reminder that no matter what the challenges, human will was capable of attaining the impossible.
“Today the nation pays homage to Pakistan’s founding fathers for their political wisdom, sagacity & determination to wage a relentless struggle for a separate homeland,” the premier tweeted.
“Living nations put themselves to rigorous audit by comparing their performance to the ideals. This is their way of introspection & accountability,” he said and expressed “unwavering faith” in the idea of the country defeating the odds.
“On 23rd March today, let us awaken the spirit of service to nation,” the PM added.
Earlier, in a message to the nation, PM Shehbaz described March 23 as an “epoch-making day in our national history”, saying that it reminds us of our past, invites us to ponder over our present state of affairs and inspires us to build a prosperous future.
He said this day is also the day to renew our pledges and takes us back to 1940 when Muslims of the sub-continent approved a resolution for the establishment of a separate homeland they could call their own under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The prime minister said it was Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s dream of freedom that manifested itself in the form of a resolution representing Muslims’ demands, and aspirations for a separate homeland.
The consequential seven years witnessed history in the making as the Quaid-i-Azam led a struggle to translate the dream of Iqbal into reality, he said.
He also highlighted that being a member of the international community, Pakistan had played the role of a responsible nation in the resolution of problems facing humanity and in establishing global peace.
He stressed that we should not lose sight of the challenges staring us in the face while celebrating this day and asked the nation to pay tribute to the sacrifices of the country’s founding fathers.
There was no doubt that Pakistan was destined to achieve great heights and said that this day should be used to introspect and hold ourselves to account as only those nations that are capable of analysing their past, learning from their mistakes and making amends can achieve true glory, he added.