People of Pakistan celebrated 58th Independence Day
with renewed zeal and fervour to rebuild the image of the country as
an enlightened and moderate society.
The slogan of enlightened and moderate society in
fact was the need of the hour in the backdrop of accusing fingers
being raised by the Western countries towards Muslim society by
painting a distorted version as the society of extremists.
Practically speaking, economic stress has always
been the core issue in Pakistan. Poorly managed economy, health and
education have been the basic issues for most of the time since the
inception of this country due to lack of direction and priorities.
There was the time when the country had fallen into
vicious circle of debt trap and there was no hope of getting rid of
the formidable foreign debt burden. At that time the country has not
enough funds even for debt servicing. Most of the time, it had to
borrow for payment of the heavy interest on the borrowed money.
Till the year 2000, the GDP growth rate was even
less than 2 percent with the population growing at the rate of more
than three and a half per cent, implying that whatever we were earning
was being eroded by the high rate of population growth.
In fact, controlling population growth rate to the
level of 1.98 percent in 2004 and an impressive GDP growth rate at 8.4
percent, placing the country amongst the fast growing economies in
this region, was the most prestigious achievement of the present
Today, the strong economic fundamentals portraying
a promising future of this country are the real cause of perturbing
the minds of the anti-Pakistan lobbies within and outside the country.
They are out to devising nefarious designs against Pakistan to
distract and disrupt the economic movement and momentum it has
On this historic occasion, President Pervez
Musharraf urged the people of Pakistan to reject extremists who want
"to drag Pakistan into darkness". In his message Musharraf
said his government was striving for "improving Pakistan's image
and would encourage the projection of its rich culture".
The day began with a 31-gun salute and special
prayers at mosques for the country's progress and prosperity.
A massive fireworks show was held in the twin
cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi overnight while public and private
buildings were illuminated all over the country to mark the day.
In his message to the nation, President Musharraf
appealed to the nation to reject the retrogressive elements
politically and socially as they are opposed to progress. "The
nation should reject elements who want to drag Pakistan into
darkness," he said in a message released through television
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz unfurled the national
flag in Islamabad's main Convention Centre rather than at the usual
outdoor venue outside parliament. "Pakistan is against
extremism," Aziz said, urging the nation to unite and defeat
terrorism. "Terrorism is also a threat to Pakistan's freedom.
There is no specific threat in the country and the security forces are
already on high alert following a crackdown against extremist
Pakistan, a key ally in the US-led war on terror,
ordered a crackdown against extremists last month and security forces
netted more than 800 suspected militants in raids across the country.
Pakistan has also promised to expel some 1,400 foreign students mostly
Afghanis from madressas.
The bias of the West again Pakistan was exposed in
the unfounded allegations that at least two of the London suicide
bombers had visited the country before the attacks last month and that
one may have visited an Islamic religious school. Though the words of
allegation were later withdrawn, it shows the mindset of certain
elements against Pakistan.
PM SHAUKAT AZIZ
Pakistan must unite to reject and defeat terrorism
which poses a threat to the country's independence, Prime Minister
Shaukat Aziz said on the occasion of Independence Day.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark Pakistan's
Independence Day, Aziz also said a solution of Pakistan's long-running
dispute with India over the Kashmir region was vital for peace in
"We have to send a message to the world that
our society rejects extremism and is united against it," Aziz
said. "Pakistan itself has suffered from terrorism. Terrorism is
a big danger to Pakistan's independence. We will fight this danger for
the sake of independence of Pakistan and will defeat it at all
levels," Aziz said.
Speaking of the peace process with India, Prime
Minister Shaukat Aziz said the disputed Muslim-majority Himalayan
region of Kashmir was key to the solution. "Kashmir is a burning
issue. Its solution is indispensable for durable peace -- a solution
that is in line with the wishes and aspirations of the people of
Kashmir," Aziz said. India and Pakistan have fought three wars
since 1947, two over Kashmir. They went to the brink of a fourth in
2002 but agreed to a ceasefire in Kashmir in late 2003.
Since then the two countries have restored
diplomatic, travel and sports links but have yet to achieve
significant progress on Kashmir, where rebels are battling Indian
rule. Prime Minister Aziz, citing Pakistan's testing of its first
nuclear-capable cruise missile recently, said that Pakistan would
maintain a balance of power in the region. "We will keep on
harnessing our nuclear and missile capabilities in line with the
changing situation," he added. Prime Minister Aziz is credited
with turning around Pakistan's economy that had virtually gone
Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the
world, faced with a number of challenges on the political and economic
fronts. However, Pakistan's economic outlook has brightened in recent
years in conjunction with a great improvement in its foreign exchange
position, notably its current account surplus and rapid growth in hard
currency reserves. Additionally, the reduced tensions with India and
the ongoing peace process has raised hopes for a prosperous and stable
Pakistan's economy, thought to be highly vulnerable
to external and internal shocks, was unexpectedly resilient in the
face of adverse events such as the Asian financial crisis, global
recession, drought, the post-9/11 military action in Afghanistan, and
tensions with India. In the two-and-a half year period since the 9/11
attacks, Pakistan's KSE-100 stock exchange index has been the
best-performing in the world.
The Government of Pakistan has, over the last few
years, granted numerous incentives to technology companies wishing to
do business in Pakistan. A combination of decade plus tax holidays,
zero duties on computer imports, government invented venture capital
and a variety of government programs to subsidize technical education,
have lent great impetus to the fledgling Information Technology
industry. Many of Pakistan's technology companies are supplying
software and services to the world's largest corporations.
PAKISTAN IN THE EYES OF QUAID-I-AZAM
Inaugurating the Pakistan Broadcasting Service on
August 15, 1947, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah issued following
message to the nation:
"It is with feelings of greatest happiness and
emotion that I send you my greetings. August 14 is the birthday of the
independent and sovereign State of Pakistan. It marks the fulfillment
of the destiny of the Muslim nation which made great sacrifices in the
past few years to have its homeland.
"At this supreme moment my thoughts are with
those valiant fighters in our cause. Pakistan will remain grateful to
them and cherish the memory of those who are no more.
"The creation of the new State has placed a
tremendous responsibility on the citizens of Pakistan. It gives them
an opportunity to demonstrate to the world how can a nation,
containing many elements, live in peace and amity and work for the
betterment of all its citizens, irrespective of caste or creed.
"Our object should be peace within and peace
without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly
relations with our immediate neighbors and with the world at large. We
have no aggressive designs against any one. We stand by the United
Nations Charter and will gladly make our full contribution to the
peace and prosperity of the world.
"Muslims of India have shown to the world that
they are a united nation, their cause is just and righteous which
cannot be denied. Let us, on this day, humbly thank God for His bounty
and pray that we might be able to prove that we are worthy of it.
"This day marks the end of a poignant phase in
our national history and it should also be the beginning of a new and
a noble era. Let us impress the minorities by word, deed and thought
that as long as they fulfill their duties and obligations as loyal
citizens of Pakistan, they have nothing to fear.
"To the freedom loving tribes on our borders
and the States beyond our borders, we send our greetings and assure
that Pakistan will respect their status and will extend to them its
most friendly co-operation in preserving peace. We have no ambition
beyond the desire to live honorably and let others live honorably.
"Today is Jummat-ul-Wida, last Friday of the
holy month of Ramazan, a day of rejoicing for all of us wherever we
may be in this vast sub-continent and for the matter of that
throughout the world. Let the Muslim congregations in their thousands,
in all the mosques, bow in all humility before the Almighty and thank
Him for His eternal kindness and generosity, seeking His guidance and
assistance in the task of making Pakistan into a great State and
themselves into its worthy citizens.
"Finally, let me tell you, fellow citizens,
Pakistan is a land of great potential resources. But to build it up
into a country worthy of the Muslim nation, we shall require every
ounce of energy that we possess and I am confident that it will come
from all whole-heartedly."