'The basis of a democratic State is liberty'. These deceptively simple words of Aristotle enshrine the very essence of a true democracy. An egalitarian society, committed to achieving, nourishing and safeguarding the liberties of its populace. It was this ideal that over six decades ago, ignited the fires of our freedom movement. We should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men was the belief with which Quaid-e-Azam grasped the mantle of the struggle for Pakistans creation -the thought with which he lay the foundation of a State where people would be free to think, speak, write and worship as they wished, not as Govt commanded. And through sheer determination, he managed to carve out a piece of land dedicated to liberty, to freedom, to independence. This Independence Day, 62 years after the Quaid entrusted to us this nation, his dream -we must re-evaluate our roles in the safeguarding of it, and reaffirm our commitment to his vision of a free Pakistan. A responsibility not limited to anyone institution, or individual, but falling upon each and every Pakistani, irrespective of religion, gender, and political beliefs. In the past year, Pakistan has seen monumental events. The ouster of a dictator through a democratically elected Parliament; the democratic election of a President after so many bleak years; the Govt firm stand against terrorism within our borders; the displacement and honourable return of the valiant people of Swat and Buner, who put national interest before personal, and in doing so, earned the nations gratitude; the successful military operation in Swat and Buner culminating in the triumph of justice and tolerance, and paving the way for a safe and progressive Pakistan. The past year hasnt been easy. In fact, at times it may have seemed like an uphill climb with no end in sight. But lasting changes demand heavy sacrifices, as nothing comes without a price. It wouldve been easy for the Government to turn a blind eye towards the havoc being created by the Taliban in Swat. After all, the previous Government had perfected this very art. In fact, by its consistent disregard for the threat posed by the Taliban, it had in effect, propagated their agenda, furthering their twisted plans. The present Government, however, chose not to take the easy way out, but to stand up and protect the sovereignty of Pakistan, and the liberties of its citizens, as is its responsibility. And the result is a concrete leap towards the dream of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who said my dream is for my land and my people to cease fighting and allow our children to reach their full potential regardless of sex, status, or belief. Pakistan, I feel, has been particularly fortunate in its leadership. How many nations can claim to inspire such irrevocable passion in its leaders that they have taken pride in shedding their very blood to nourish the soil? Can any other lands allege to have seen leaders the likes of Quaid-e-Azam, Quaid-e-Awam, and Quaid-e-Jamhooriat? No. Pakistan is singularly honoured as such. And today the Govt, in keeping with their commitment, and ever mindful of their inimitable sacrifices, is working ceaselessly towards the fulfillment of their vision. But is the onus of this task only upon the Government? Is the job of the citizens over, once they elect their representatives? Has our civic sense deserted us completely? Have we relegated patriotism to 14th August and 23rd March? Is the progress and development of Pakistan a joint responsibility or a case of passing the buck? And where exactly does this buck stop? Today, for each and every one of us, it is beyond time for introspection. This Independence Day, we need to look at ourselves and our Pakistaniat -Our role, our responsibilities. To understand exactly where we fit into the mosaic that makes up Pakistan. We need to rekindle the feeling of belonging -of ownership. We need to understand that littering on roads and breaking laws may ultimately result in weakening the fabric of the nation. It is time to stop, look back, and realise just when and why this Pakistan, where the Quaid-e-Azam proclaimed that, You are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship, became the Pakistan where atrocities like the Gojra massacre occurred. 'Leadership', said Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, 'is the commitment to an idea, to a dream, and to a vision of what can be. This Independence Day, let each man, woman and child living under the green and white flag, awaken the leader within. Let every individual reaffirm his commitment to the vision of a democratic, egalitarian, progressive, and peaceful Pakistan. Let the rising voices be of encouragement not of dissent. Let the raised hands be of help not of violence. Let our strengths combine and our paths merge. Let us together, take Pakistan towards the future.