LAHORE  - At the very outset, I must commend all of you for your wonderful performance and achievement on your part and congratulate you all. This, by no means, is a small achievement. In fact, it is truly a tremendous performance on your part and all of us share that sense of pride and happiness since you have worked very hard. You must have burned the midnight oil while your parents must have supported you for the purpose. You and your parents, and of course the Vice Chancellor and your teachers being your guides, deserve all accolade and Mubarikbad. I believe that sans the combination of this collective effort, we would have not been here, celebrating this great moment of joy and happiness.

You all know it well that Pakistan is faced with a number of challenges such as energy crisis, militancy, terrorism and corruption. Here, I can visibly see a ray of hope. Thousands of graduating students are sitting in front of me with their faces beaming with success. It is, indeed, a great sense of satisfaction and pride for me.

I want to draw your attention to the Pakistan Resolution, which was passed on March 23, 1940, seventy-four years back at the Minar-e-Pakistan (formerly Minto Park), not very far from here. That day, a galaxy of politicians, lawyers, workers, poets, renowned scholars and people from all walks of life had come together to pass the Lahore Resolution. The purpose was to carve a piece of land out of India where the order of the day was work hard, honesty of purpose and merit, and for that huge commitment and the outstanding vision, millions of people including our forefathers, laid down their lives. Our elders left their homes and hearths in India and migrated to Pakistan in millions. They crossed rivers of blood to come to a land they had dreamt of, as they were told that it would be a land of the pure. A land where there would be no discrimination between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. There would be no discrimination between people belonging to various schools of thought and they all had gathered at the Minar-e-Pakistan on that day.

‘Aik hi saf mein kharray ho gaye Mehmood o Ayyaz, Na koi Banda raha, na koi banda nawaz’

My dear outstanding daughters, high-achievers and sisters what we have achieved today, is in stark comparison with what our forefathers had set out to achieve, instead we take pride in the fact that ‘I belong to that particular sect’, we take pride, unfortunately, in killing an innocent person just to impose one’s own point of view. We take pride, of course, by fleecing the very scarce resources of this country, earned through blood- sweat and the toil of a common man. We swindle people and yet become honourable citizens of the country. We take pride in false dignity through palatial houses, limousines and the best that the world has to offer, at the cost of a common man of this country.

Even as I speak today, I tell you with deep sense of embarrassment and shame that over these sixty-eight years, we have not been able to provide even potable water to a common man in Pakistan while a small minority drinks mineral water. While we have the best medical facilities in this country for the elite, the common man is deprived of such medical care.

Is this the kind of Pakistan our forefathers had envisioned or imagined? Certainly not. On the day of reckoning, the day of reward and retribution, how will we face those millions of souls who sacrificed for Pakistan? A piece of land, wherein merit, hard work, honesty of purpose, were to be the order of the day. How will we justify all this and face Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam?

We raise our flag aloft high, but we don’t mean raising that flag. We, day in and day out, sing the national anthem, croon poems for Pakistan, read messages of Allama Iqbal, but either we do not understand the meanings of the same or we do not follow them.

Only yesterday we commemorated 23rd March, in a befitting manner and I think it would not be fair if I fail to present the true picture of the state of affairs.

There is an oft-quoted English saying, “It is never too late to mend.” There is still time for us to change our destiny and transform Pakistan into a better one. We should work with as much dedication and commitment as you have worked hard to earn your degrees. If we adopt the vision of our founding-fathers then by the grace of Almighty Allah, we will be able to change Pakistan for the better and the country would ultimately regain its lost destiny. If you ask me as to how it is possible, I will say that it is as much possible as constructing the metro bus project in just eleven months. If Metro bus can be run in Lahore in just eleven months, the system of the country can be changed, as well.

I am grateful to the Punjab Governor for his kind words for me but I consider it my duty to work for the masses day and night like I had the honour of serving the masses during the mighty floods in 2010.

All these achievements have been made by virtue of collective effort, as the entire government machinery worked for it in unison and, by the grace of Almighty Allah, thousands of lives were saved. You would recall the dengue menace of 2011, which was another challenge and was met successfully by our doctors, nurses, bureaucrats, experts and the media by creating awareness. We defeated dengue with collective efforts and buried it effectively. These are all small examples. We also managed to eliminate booti-mafia from Punjab and now unfair means and cheating are unthinkable in Punjab. You are all daughters of the nation and we want you to succeed in life. Your parents have worked hard for your success. I request you to join the practical field of national life after getting your degrees, instead of sitting idle at homes. Our daughters have outperformed our sons, and it is all due to your hard work. You still need to work very hard to make Pakistan as successful as Malaysia and Singapore. If we adopt this vision, Pakistan will become the greatest country in the world. Our daughters have made their mark in medical, engineering, education, arts and have achieved top positions. I call upon the Vice Chancellor Sahiba, having congratulated her on holding this graceful function of convocation, that today various Ph.D degrees have been awarded to our hard-working daughters. However, I want Ph.D faculty members to head various departments of your university, as well. If you achieve this aim and carve out a well-deserved niche among the first 500 universities in the world, not to speak of the top five universities of the world, I will put all resources of the Punjab government at your disposal. It is a challenge and I call upon you to use your collective wisdom to meet this gigantic challenge which may unfold into a great opportunity, as well. I request the Vice Chancellor Sahiba and the Minister for Education to strive in this regard. This task may be a difficult one but not an impossible one to achieve.

China became independent after Pakistan, while Germany and Japan were destroyed in Second World War, but they recovered from their devastation despite the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is no magic wand as we can achieve our development vision only through hard work and dedication. I have a strong perception that we can come out of the quagmire of problems and become a great nation, if we focus just on our destiny.