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Tomorrow will be 14 August – Independence Day of Pakistan
I was born in 1956. I was two years old when Ayub Khan imposed Martial Law. Of course, I have no memory of it.
I was in class 6. I and my brother studied in the same class and school which was about 2 kilometers from our home. I had jumped two classes and joined him. We had gone to school after summer holidays and studies were warming up. Around 9.00am, we were told that India had attacked, and a big war was raging at Lahore border. The school was closed indefinitely, and we were sent home.
We came back and felt and saw the war first had. Air raids, sounds of sirens, black outs, curfews, all of it. We listened to Noor Jahan’s national songs on radio and eagerly waited for news to come. Shakil Ahmed was the hot favorite for news.
I didn’t see fear anywhere. There were high emotions and sentiments, but no one was afraid. We listened to Ayub Khan’s speech which was delivered with force and strength. We believed every word that we heard, and we stood together. I have never seen such unity, courage and care ever again, till now.
Four years later, I was getting ready to go to school when the news on the radio announced that General Yahya Khan had imposed Martial Law. It was 25 March 1969. Life went on as usual.
News of turmoil in East Pakistan kept pouring in every day. It was difficult to discern between facts and lies. Then Peoples Party came on to scene and won majority in West Pakistan. PPP claimed to carry leftist, socialist agenda. I personally related to left. I was underage and could not vote in 1970. But my leaning was towards PPP. After elections, the turmoil became more intense. It led to war of December 1971, finally breaking East Pakistan from West Pakistan on 16 December 1971.
The news of fall of East Pakistan was lead of all newspapers. I was little over 15 and I felt very heavy. I saw my father crying with tears on that day. It was the only time I saw him crying.
We tagged along with PPP ideology till elections in March 1977 when the whole thing became topsy-turvy. Finally, General Zia ul Haq imposed Martial Law on July 5, 1977. Zia polarized Pakistan forever. The rest is recent history.
After breakdown of Soviet Union, the so called ‘Left’ died for ever. The vacuum was filled by ‘Right’ and ‘Ultra-Right’, which is what we see today. I was totally disillusioned.
Afghanistan invasion in 1979, Iran revolution in 1979, Iran Iraq war in 1980 and other events happened around us. Sadly, we became more and more embroiled in internal conflicts and disputes. Pakistan was looted, vandalized and desecrated repeatedly by everyone. They came in all colors, ideological, social, political and religious. Pakistan kept feeding all of them patiently.
Leave the politicians for the time being. Our businessmen want to have a Canadian passport, a Dubai apartment, and business in Pakistan, because Pakistan offers the highest rate of return. Our people want to immigrate to North America and settle there but want to have opinions about what we should or should not do. What kind of a hypocrite lot we are.
There is no denying the fact that Pakistan gave us what we have and made us what we are. We would be a poor, persecuted, suffering minority if we did not have this country. All our ‘Shaan-o-Shaukat’, ‘Jaah-o-Hasham’, ‘Maal-o-Manaal’, ‘Thaath Baath’, ‘Karr-o-Far’ has been made possible by the existence of Pakistan.
We owe our respect, our honor, our safety, our security to Pakistan. We owe our Identity and our existence to Pakistan.
That is why, Pakistan Must Come First. Not just in Words, but in Deeds and Actions and Spirit.