The fourteenth day of August 2016 came and went, but with a difference – a difference that was in all probability a result of the people’s faith in the combat-fatigue-clad officers and men, who are even at this moment laying down their lives so that the nation may sleep securely in their homes. At no other time was this wonderful connection between the people and their Armed Forces made more evident than in a television program, when a female anchor known for her fearless approach to reporting, was left speechless with brimming eyes. This colleague from the media community was interviewing army men somewhere in the anti-terror war zone and asked a soldier as to what motivated him to put his life on the line, “The Army Public School children”, was the spontaneous response, in a voice cracked with emotion.

I noticed changes, in the way our Independence Day was observed this year. For example, previous celebrations had never produced such a profusion of Pakistani Flags – sold, bought and used. It was as if new life had been infused in the people. There was also a far greater show of courteous discipline in the crowds that came out to celebrate and the phenomenon stirred everyone’s heart in an unimaginable manner.

Standing amongst a massive crowd waiting to witness the fireworks display in the Federal Capital, I saw a young man spontaneously burst into a full throated shout of “Pakistan, I love you”. My long present feeling of hopelessness and anger (often reflected in my columns) instantly dissolved into a wetness that flowed down my cheeks. I could barely restrain myself from hugging the young man for rekindling hope.

While driving back to our home, we spotted a land cruiser flying a massive national flag, but upside down. My son in law stopped the vehicle and pointed out the mistake. I was gratified to see genuine regret in the group of happy young men, who immediately rectified the error amidst profuse apologies. This reminded me of an incident that occurred many years ago (before terrorism came into our lives) on the Jinnah Avenue. In the years gone by, this road used to be the venue of Independence Day celebrations as citizens of all ages came out to have fun. Driving in tip to tail traffic, I saw a young man jump out of the car ahead and sprint to a spot some distance away, stoop and pick up something from the ground. As he ran back I was surprised to see him kiss the ‘stuff’ he had picked up from the road and hand it to someone inside the car. The ‘stuff’ was a Pakistani Flag dropped on the road by a callous individual. I can never erase the memory of this act of devotion that I was privileged to witness that night nor can I ever forget the young man, who embodied everything Jinnah stood for.

In stark contrast to the manner in which the Pakistani nation celebrated Independence, two Pakistani citizens were reported to have been stopped from paying homage to our founding father in Karachi. It appears that Naheed Khan and her husband Safdar Abbasi were obstructed by minions of the PPP Government in Sindh from offering Fateha at the Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. I have no words befitting enough to condemn the act.

Pakistan Tehreek i Insaaf’s decision to begin a movement to disqualify our Head of Executive on its own had generated mixed response from political analysts. Some of my associates considered it a master stroke, while others were of the opinion that the move would have an adverse effect on the combined formidability of the opposition alliance. The former notion was lent strength, when, during a press conference, the combined opposition did not appear averse to the PTI decision and even spoke of a point in time when all pressure building ‘streams’ may come together. I am however still sceptical of the whole TOR issue. My lack of comfort stems from the fact that across the board accountability beginning with the PM may also net some big names in the opposition, and who in Pakistani politics, has ever heard or seen this happening.