Pakistan is celebrating its sixty sixth Independent year today the 14th August, 2013. This is marked by various activities at local and national levels. Number of television channels is broadcasting programs to mark the celebration of independence. Business houses and commercial enterprises are conveying good wishes to entire nation a happy Independence Day. The schools, colleges and other educational institutes are having the Independence Day parties. City streets, national monuments and other buildings are hosting national flags which are being and the stalls are selling national flags and badges. Each and every street and lane are decorated with national flags. However, observing all those events need reflective question i.e. Are we really free?
On books we are a free nation, our constitution grants us basic fundamental rights but unfortunately these are violated everywhere. Our freedom is mainly undercut by the element of fear which is heavily affecting our life everywhere we have our being. We do not walk freely on streets as these are infected by street crimes, we do not enter mosques fearlessly because of shootings and suicide bombings. We do not travel on buses because of pick pocketing and we cannot shop in bazaars because of robbery. Our society is heavily inflected by crimes everywhere. Therefore, this is not the freedom in real sense.
Freedom is a right to act, speak, choose, or think as one wish. Every citizen is struggling to win the freedom of life, so yes; elders and family caretakers are struggling with the inflation. In order to secure the jobs in the economic recession period youth is struggling with the recession. The students are struggling to develop themselves for the future employment market to earn own and their family bread and butter.
So now, the question is who has the freedom in this country. According to one understanding, There are two entities that have the power and freedom to do anything in our country, one the politicians who at any level by mass mobilisation in the country and cities can do anything second the terrorist militant groups who by havoc playing with the life of innocents can do anything around the country whenever and wherever they wish. Recently, the terrorist attack of Quaid-e-Azam residency in Ziarat is one of the examples. This was our historical monument and the souvenir from the past which was survived which we now lost. Our law enforcement agencies are failing to control the security issues.
There are how many affected areas in our country where life has become too difficult that the people in the area have no choice except to leave their homes and other assets. We daily read reports from various parts of countries that people are gunned down in separate incidents. Daily the news media channel anchors are discussing the corruption of millions of rupees on their own air programs. Moreover, what would be the worst part? It is after listening to all these news and situations people response it was expected.
It is a high time to think either Pakistan is rising? On one hand we are developing malls or constructing highways under-bridges and skyscrapers on the other hand our human values are diminishing. What we are doing for the challenges that is confronted in our country. The challenges of peace and security, the challenge of Religious fanaticism, the challenge of over population growth, poverty, energy crises, growing water and land scarcity, the challenge of political stability and economic growth, the challenge of respecting human rights and failure to provide quality education to the populace of the country, all these developmental challenges are remained unaddressed for far too long.
It is a dire time to think on this occasion, when we wear badges on our arms. Do we need change? If yes, let us work to resolve all these issues in the society. It is not an easy task, but let us have a commitment to bring change in our society. As Kofi Annan said in his annual lecture at “Global Centre for Pluralism” that strong, healthy, and cohesive societies are built on three pillars- peace and security; development; and the rule of law and respect for human rights. This resolution should be the essence of the Independence Day celebration this year.
In order to, foster change. Our authorities, civil society, local bodies should reflect. They should design better and practical policy advice for the country. Even educational institutions and most important media can also play its role in teaching mutual respect and tolerance.
In fact our greatest leader Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had the same hope from us. He once said “Without education it is complete darkness and with education it is light. Education is a matter of life and death to our nation. No sacrifice of time or personal comfort should be regarded too great for the advancement of the cause of education.”
Therefore, whole Pakistani citizens and I have hope from our young generations. They are the architect of a future of the nation. We should create the safe environment for them, so that, they can promote change, they can turn political, social, economical, and educational systems to respect and protect the rights of every person as a citizen.
On the other hand, at mass level we should invest in the projects which have a deep impact on the quality of our lives. In order to create sustainable development one key idea has been suggested in the conference held by UNESCO with collaboration of Chinese government. It can also play a role for social and economic development of Pakistan and that key area is Cultural heritage. Culture is a key to sustainable development.
Al-AzharPark in Cairo, is one of the examples of this project. It has made the real impact on the lives of the people lives in Cairo. Once this historical place was used as dumping ground for junk. After restoration this place has delivered change in Education and health sectors as well as other areas of life. This approach is known as Multi Input Area Development. Pakistan should also plan such projects on a continuous base in order to improve the circumstances of Pakistan. We all know that our country has great potential. If it has been governed properly by our rulers. We should work towards strengthening democracy. It will turn Pakistan into a land of opportunities.
The writer is an educator. firstname.lastname@example.org