We remember the iconic leaders and the great sacrifices rendered by the many seemingly ordinary men, women and children for the cause of Pakistan. We are familiar with the heroic tales of bravery and extraordinary commitment and with the horrific accounts of bloodletting and pillaging that haunt us to this day. We remember where we come from, and what we had to give up to get here; to call a land our own, where life would deliver the promise of freedom, dignity and peace. Pakistan may be difficult, unfair, and sometimes even hopeless during times of difficulty, but it is home. It is where we learnt to walk, and to fall, and to rise again. We don’t need to be reminded of what we haven’t forgotten. We don’t need to be compelled to love this land when love is all we have for it. Perhaps what we really need is to be taught how to love. To be taught how one should learn from history, and why some lessons ought to be forgotten for good.

“Impossible”, someone must have remarked in response to the suggestion of a separate country for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. Many in fact, did. Today, we hear similar, discouraging replies whenever the question of a better future is raised. However, our very existence gives us reason to believe otherwise. More than anything, Pakistan reminds us that distant dreams can truly be molded to take the form of undeniable realities by the hands of an unyielding and strong-minded people. This year, as we cautiously celebrate the birth of this country, we do so with great fear and concern for what the future may hold. As we turn away our eyes in desperation from the heart-wrenching scenes of intolerance, ignorance, poverty and turmoil spread across the landscape, let us look inwards and towards each other for solace and hope. Our land has embraced and nurtured all its inhabitants without any discrimination or contempt; perhaps the people should do the same. Our love for this country should manifest itself in the way we treat it and its people. From refraining to litter its streets, to volunteering to work for public welfare, all of it counts. From the army General to the postman, everyone matters. Our decisions ought to be guided by the implications that they carry for other members of our community. Our ultimate concern should be the welfare of fellow countrymen, and human beings at large, rather than grand ambitions and ideologies. A Pakistani Ahmadi, a Pakistani Hindu, a Pakistani Sikh and anyone who calls this country home, should have the same rights and stake as a Pakistani Muslim; all united, all equal, as one nation. That is the only legacy worth living and dying for. To all our readers, a very happy Independence Day.