There was a great sense of relief among the people across the country as they joined hands to celebrate the 62nd Independence Day with all the pomp and show in the world, negating the claims of all those who never wished Pakistan well from the start of its creation. Most visibly, the people by participating in the celebrations seen in every nook and corner of Pakistan emphasized one thing loud and clear: they have put behind all their security concerns and want to move forward now. The government and military's achievements in Malakand and elsewhere in the more volatile tribal belt worked wonders it seemed as evident from the high turn-out of the people in these festivities with sense of relief writ large everywhere the TV camera took its viewers. Moreover the display of patriotism on this occasion, the most genuine and spontaneous one was seen as a reaction to all the anti-state propaganda waged outside and inside the country. The people showed a greater stake holding in the unity of the county and its federal arrangement rejecting all the negative talk about Pakistan and forces behind it. The historic city of Lahore wore the most celebratory look to mark the day. It was a great sight to see the people elated and flooding the Mall and other main roads to contribute in the celebration in a great display of nationalism. It was not just a local crowd. The people from other cities came in the city in great numbers to be part in all these joyful moments. Most of the people came out on the roads or participated in the various functions on their own. The political parties lagged behind this time to mobilize the public or organize rallies. These sentiments were not just confined to our city alone. We witnessed ever-greater celebrations and sense of solidarity and even crowd turnout in other parts of the country. In Swat we see smiles back on the faces of the people as they celebrated the Independence Day after a long time with a style beating and defeating the enemies from within comprehensively. Same was the case with other parts of NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan where Independence Day rallies and celebrations started well before August 14 and were more symbolic. The public mood depicted on this occasion showed that people have a great faith in the country and its potential. It was also a timely reminder for the country's leadership to devote this potential to the people who deserve it more We all know the plight of the people of Balochistan. The other day in a TV talk show a Baloch leader raised many eyebrows when he told that most cities and towns of the province lacked proper roads. What to talk of other facilities in health and education sectors the provision of which will increase their stake in the nation-building efforts. One of our perennial problems is this that we never learnt from our past or history. It was the economic backwardness that fueled separatist movement in the East Pakistan. After Independence, it seemed we turned our backs towards one half of the country. This kind of neglect continued to undermine the stakes of different people in the country's unity even to-date. It seems that once the economic disparities begun to haunt the country whether it is Balochistan or Southern Punjab from where the calls for a separate province gained currency more recently disturbing the present leadership or FATA areas. Take the example of FATA before 9/11. It seemed that nobody ever paid attention towards this area. It was as if no man's land. An aerial view of the area revealed a barren stretch of land with hardly any productivity. So much so that the government did not have vital statistics about the area left undeveloped for ages. It is high time that the present leadership address these economic disparities on war footing. Without this it is not possible to create a national outlook among the people living in different province or stakes in the country's unity. The first and foremost precondition to achieve this end is to have political stability in the country. The political leadership could only pursue a welfare agenda when there is no distraction or polarization in the country. We do not have much time to waste on minor issues or petty politics. E-mail: