‘Celebrating Independence Day Without People’s Freedom’

Pakistan celebrates its 72nd Independence Day today. The dream of our founding father Quad e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and other leaders who supported him and his vision was that of a progressive, economically prosperous Pakistan at peace with its neighbors and the world. Unfortunately seven decades later we are yet to fulfil the Quaid’s dream!

With a new government taking over power on the eve of Independence Day, we at New Pakistan thought it would be useful to put forth views put forth in leading Editorials and Opinion pieces on why we are in the mess we are today and what we need to do in order to move forward.

The Dawn Editorial states “Democratic rule — true democratic rule — is not a gift that the country must wait to receive when deemed worthy of it; democratic rule is an inalienable right of each and every citizen of Pakistan.” Referring to the “deep political divisions and institutional strife” in Pakistan at the end of the latest elections, the editorial points to the consistent “institutional encroaching on the terrain of other institutions.” Further, “While institutions need vigorous oversight and checks and balances, the mechanisms must come from within the democratic system. A controlled democracy wherein other institutions circumscribe the authority and writ of an elected government and parliament, and impose their own policy prescriptions and priorities, is a recipe for enduring conflict.”

The Nation Editorial states that Pakistanis should stop looking for Messiahs in politics and seek to resolve their problems themselves: “let us get out of the messiah thinking pattern which pushes us to believe that a single entity can solve problems. This is precisely why we disrespect people we elect. Let us all pledge to work together and respect each other.” Referring to the multiple challenges facing Pakistan the editorial asks Pakistanis to “respect those around us and particularly those we elect in our public offices” and understand that “utmost responsibility lies on us to change as people because if the basic structure of the society is the same, no amount of policies can change the outcome.”

The News Editorial focuses on the rise of religious bigotry, the denial of full rights to Pakistan’s minorities and the need to achieve the dream of Pakistan: “to bring a peaceful and prosperous life for the Muslims of South Asia.” As Editorial states, “The rise of religious bigotry has not been confined to terrorist groups. Religiously inspired mob violence continues to serve as a reminder that we have not learnt to deal with the aftereffects of Partition. Dominant religious groups continue to peddle the narrative that they are under threat.” Further, “One of the many glaring challenges we have faced is our inability to accord the same rights and respect to our minority communities. To change this, Pakistan needs to change much within its legal, political and social frameworks.”

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