INDEPENDENCE DAY

LOVE FOR THE COUNTRY CAN MAKE IT A GREAT NATION

AMANULLAH BASHAR
Aug 17 - 23, 2009

The nation celebrated its 62nd independence day with all love and fervor for the homeland despite having confronted with economic woes, rising food inflation, and above all security concerns stemmed from heightening violence, law & order and acts of terror in the tribal areas of the country.

It is however reassuring to see that despite nefarious designs hatched by small time elements to divide people by unleashing parochial feelings on sectarian, regional, provincialism and ethnic grounds for personal gains, a great majority of the people showed their unshakable sense of integrity for the motherland.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani while addressing the nation on this important event reiterated the government's resolve to eliminate this scourge through determination and courage.

"I want to reiterate that we are not scared of the terrorists. We will eliminate their oppression and barbarity through our determination and courage," Gilani said while addressing the flag hoisting ceremony on the occasion of Pakistan's 62nd Independence Day anniversary at the Convention Centre.

The Prime Minister said history is a testimony to the fact that oppressors and oppression are destined to be doomed and the oppressed will ultimately emerge triumphant.

The ceremony telecast and broadcast live, was attended by the Speaker National Assembly, federal ministers, services chiefs, parliamentarians, diplomats, senior government officials and a large number of people from a cross-section of society.

The Prime Minister, in his address, spoke on a host of issues including the challenges faced by Pakistan, namely terrorism, economy, power crisis, democracy, and foreign policy.

Prime Minister Gilani said Islam is a religion of peace and tranquility. He said love for humanity and reconciliation is an integral part of the Islamic faith, however some self-seekers and extremists have created misgivings about Islam through their negative activities.

Referring to the military operation in Swat and Malakand Division, he said, "We opted for peaceful means to resolve this issue. But, we had to take a difficult and inevitable decision to initiate military action in the best national interest when our peace efforts and patience were construed as our weaknesses. He said the unity and solidarity shown by the nation against terrorism bolstered the courage of the armed forces that confronted the extremists and defeated them.

The Prime Minister paid tributes to the military leadership, officers, soldiers and those martyrs who cleared the affected areas from the terrorists at the cost of their lives.

"The way the personnel of law enforcing agencies and the people faced the enemies of peace, is a matter of pride for the whole nation. I salute the martyrs, their parents and kith and kin on behalf of the nation," he added. The Prime Minister, however, added the government believes that a durable solution to the problem of terrorism can be found through continued efforts to change the perceptions of the people.

"We also have to be vigilant against these elements and inform the official agencies in time about their activities so that appropriate preventive measures can be put in place," he added.

The Prime Minister said handling of IDPs in camps was a great challenge for the government, which it has been able to surmount with the cooperation of the people and political parties. He said the process of reconstruction and development would be accelerated in the affected areas.

Gilani said the minorities also had to face terrorism, adding, however, "let me state unequivocally that the constitution provides all the civil rights to the minorities".

Speaking on foreign policy, he said the government attaches immense importance to the country's relations with all brotherly Muslim countries and appreciated the governments and people of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, and Turkey who have always stood by Pakistan in difficult times.

PRESIDENT ZARDARI

On Independence Day, President Asif Ali Zardari urged the Pakistani nation to adhere to principles of democracy and human rights to banish dictatorship, militancy and extremism and provide economic opportunities for all people in the country.

President Zardari said sixty-two years ago a separate homeland was created for the people to live in freedom and shape their lives according to our own (Islamic) values.

"Pakistan was envisaged by its founding fathers to be a homeland for the Muslims of South Asia where democracy, constitutionalism, and respect of human rights would reign supreme." Pakistan was envisaged to be a country where there would be no discrimination on the basis of creed, gender and sect and where minorities could enjoy equal rights as citizens in the mainstream of national life.

KARACHI

People celebrated the 62nd Independence Day with unusual zeal and enthusiasm reflected in bridal looks of the entire city and every road leading towards the Mazar of Quaid-i-Azam.

The dawn of the historic day was received with 21 gun salutes followed by special prayers in mosques across the country for the progress. Governor Sindh Dr. Ishratul Ibad, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Nazim Karachi Syed Mustafa Kamal, senior civil and military officials visited the mausoleum of Quaid e Azam where they offered fatheha and placed floral wreath at the Quaid's Mazar.

t was touching to watch jubilant people from all walks of life despite tough economic circumstances assembled at the Mazar of Quaid e Azam right from the morning till midnight to pay a warm homage to the father of the nation.

According to a vendor, this was for the first time that demands for national song cassettes, CDs, buntings and flags were so high that they sold out all the stuff like hot cake. Even the held-up inventory stocks of the previous were sold out completely.

In fact, it was the sign that love for the country is in the blood of the people as the terrorism, extremism and economic sufferings have failed to weaken their resolve for the homeland.

Meanwhile, the City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal has said we have extended unconditional support to present system in the larger interest of the country and even if the present Nizamat is snatched from us we will not make any complaint.

He said that we had celebrated Independence Day by providing basic civic facilities and gifts to citizens of completed projects, just not only hoisting flags and delivering speeches.

He said this while giving a gift of "cricket academy" constructed at Nazimabad Eid Gah No.3 Liaquatabad town. Minister youth affairs Faisal Sabzwari, sports minister M. Ali Shah and Town Nazim Liaquatabad town Hafiz Usama Qadri were present on the occasion. Mustafa said in few weeks this academy would have floodlights of international standard.

TIME TO SHUN DIFFERENCES

Mustafa Kamal speaking on the occasion said country was passing through a very critical stage and for this reason all the provinces should shun their differences and people should get united and on the occasion of "Independence Day" people should forgive each other and stop hurling allegations against each other.

City Nazim said we feel pain in our heart when see that country was facing crisis only because, our ancestors gave sacrifices and about 20 lac people gave sacrifice of their lives for the creation of this sacred land.

Mustafa said his leader Altaf Hussain keeping in view the critical situation of the country has extended unconditional support to present system and even we (MQM) do not bring differences in media in order to avoid instability.

Mustafa said if any mayor or Nazim of this city has done any kind of work for Karachi, hats off for him, and give salute to him and announce that he does not have any kind of differences with him.

Mustafa announced that this cricket academy was a gift to the people of Nazimabad and at this ground Eid congregations will be held and all facilities will be provided to the people of this area including jogging track. Mustafa said people should understand the system Altaf Bhai introduced. He has never ever inducted his brothers and sisters at the corridors of houses and has sent common and middle class people who were never known to the people.

The innocent people of this country have an unshakeable integrity for this country. The adverse political circumstances and economic sufferings have not weakened their resolve to live and die for this country. They have potentials to make this country a great nation provided they are given the direction by a selfless leadership of this country.