Syed Muhammad Abubakar August 14, 1947 was the day when Muslims were freed from the slavery of British Empire and the tyranny of Hindus, as an independent Muslim state ‘Pakistan’ was born. It was created after much struggle, as hundreds and thousands of innocent Muslims migrating from all parts of sub-continent were mercilessly butchered by revolting Sikhs and the Hindus. Our forefathers paid a heavy price to liberate this country and we must thank Almighty Allah for blessing us with a sovereign muslim state. It is worth noting that Pakistan is the only ideological country in the world based on Islam.However, the ideal of a real Islamic state was soon shattered after Quaid’s death and the assassination of the then time prime minister of Pakistan, Liaqat Ali Khan. The country was entangled in the cob web of conspiracies, as feudal lords and corrupt bureaucrats ate the country like termites for vested interests. The debacle of East Pakistan is one sad part of our history, when on December 16, 1971, our armed forces stationed in East Pakistan surrendered to its worst enemy, India, as Lt. General A.A.K Niazi, Commander, East Pakistan Armed Forces signed the Instrument of Surrender to Lt. General Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Command of the Indian Army and a new nation Bangladesh was born. The then prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi termed this victory by stating that the two nation theory has been drowned in the Bay of Bengal.From that very day, our leadership raised the slogan “Never Again”, however we kept repeating our mistakes and this time the fire is engulfing our largest province Baluchistan and tribal areas that border Afghanistan. No matter, how much we blame the CIA, MUSAD, RAW and KGB for spreading terrorism in our country but we must understand that our ruthless policies have ignited the issue.Since independence we made countless mistakes detrimental to national interest thus weakening our political structure and no one willing to strengthen it. Our ill-planned policies have indebted Pakistan to billions of dollars and subservient to IMF. It’s over 65 years since independence and we are still enslaved to our own misconceptions and personal interests. It might be a shame to call ourselves Pakistanis keeping in mind the damage we have done to this country. As a nation, we are economically and politically unstable leading to a major shift in our foreign policy. Today, our political decisions are being taken in Jeddah and Washington which compromise our national sovereignty.Our loyalties have shifted to such an extent that once an American congressman regarded all Pakistanis willing to be sold for the sake of money. Ignorance to this exploitation can lead to another debacle. This is adding fire to provincial extremism as Sindhi’s are against Punjabi’s and Pashtun’s are against Balochi’s, which depicts the lack of tolerance existing in our society. Pakistan is going through a crucial time and in the need of hour we should remove our differences by putting an end to anarchy and terrorism, which can only put Pakistan on the track of development. We must keep in mind that this country was created with a purpose to ensure religious freedom and tolerance. We should stand united as one nation, under the flag of Pakistan which Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam struggled for. Every citizen is equal before the constitution and equal rights should be ensured for all. This is the only way to put an end to religious extremism in the country.The society is sick and tired of violence as everyone wants a change and it can be accomplished if others opinion is respected with tolerance while abstaining from unnecessary criticism, only then democracy can prevail. The world is progressing at a very fast pace and Pakistan is still considered a third world country, even through it’s a nuclear state. However, if we really want to cope up with the latest trends, we should devote all our energies for national integration and harmony.No matter Pakistan is lagging behind other nations, it’s blessed with every natural resource including world’s highest peaks to lush green fields, longest rivers to deserts and huge reserves of gold and copper. We should praise Almighty Allah for giving us more than what we need.No matter, Pakistan faces multiple threats to its national security coupled with political chaos that is threatening peace in the country and also adding fuel to religious extremism, which is one of the biggest threats Pakistan faces today. Pakistan can deal with all such contingencies if our leaders sit together, remove their differences and make the right decisions for the betterment of the nation. Even environmental issues such as deforestation, climate change and global warming can be dealt with, if we take a positive approach towards these problems. Hence, in order to pave way for progress, we should set aside our biases so that an integrated approach towards sustainable development is adopted. Solution to every problem lies within and we can overcome issues of terrorism, religious extremism, budget deficit and environmental degradation if we want to.We need to pledge to stop eyeing on western nations for help and join hands for the sake of development in this country. We should keep a strong faith in Allah and adopt an integrated approach, which will help to take this country to a next level, at par with other nations. There’s a dire need to frame such a foreign policy which lies in the best interests of the nation. To make a change, every individual should work sincerely for the development of this country. The real independence day still lies ahead when our minds will be free from every negative approach that threatens our society and hampers economic growth. We need to focus and work endlessly for the prosperity of Pakistan. A positive approach is the solution to every problem and this is what we should do from now onwards. n The writer is a freelance contributor. He tweets at @SyedMAbubakar and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 14-Aug-2014 here.