In 1947, we gained independence from the British. Let us honour the memory of the courageous souls who secured our freedom by taking the moment of this anniversary of Independence Day to renew our independence by rejecting the poisonous mindset that has infected and divided our nation. Let us return to the promise of freedom described in Quaid-i-Azam’s speech of 11 August 1947 and his vision set forth at the first Constituent Assembly.
Jinnah’s speech, when read out loud in the National Assembly on the event of its anniversary earlier this week, gained desk-thumping cheers as the Quaid’s words echoed in the hallowed halls.
The only time desk-thumping cheers from both the treasury and opposition benches rang out in the house was when the speaker, while reading out a portion of the Quaid’s speech so lawmakers “seek inspiration and guidance from his wisdom”, finished that famous paragraph often seen as his unfulfilled wish to see Pakistan as a secular state:
“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
The scene must have been reminiscent of our leaders listening to these words sixty-four years ago whose chests swelled with pride and love for their fellow countrymen.
As we fly our flag with that same pride in our hearts today, let us remember what each part of the flag symbolises.
- The green representing Muslims who founded this country so they would not be tyrannised as a minority
- The white stripe representing the minorities who are promised a safe home here
- The crescent moon representing progress
- The star representing the light of knowledge that guides us
In 1947, we declared our independence from Britain. Today let us pay tribute by declaring independence from the violence, hatred, bigotry and sectarianism that threatens to divide us. Let us not only recall the words of Quaid-i-Azam, let us go forth and live them.