By Khalid Khokhar

WWith a renewed promise and commitment, people of Pakistan are celebrating the. 67th Pakistan Day today. By all standards, this day (23rd March) is the most memorable day in the history of the subcontinent as it marked the galvanization of the Indian Muslims to launch struggle for emancipation from the centuries-old British colonialism. The ideology and objectives set out for establishing a separate homeland, Pakistan, was to achieve a socio-economic system based on the genius of Islam. The first and most important feature of the establishment of Pakistan is that through it the Muslims of the Sub continent attained their true identity.

Freedom in itself is a great blessing and those who have endured the rigours of the dark nights of slavery can only perceive it. The Quaid-e-Azam awakened and organized the Muslim basses and assembling on a single platform He accomplished that task with the power of the masses. Pakistan came into being on August 14,1947.

The “Founder of the Nation’ had a vision of Pakistan that enjoys a rightful place and respect in the comity of nations and people have social justice and equal opportunities to progress and prosperity. Pakistan is today a country rapidly moving on the path of progress and development. Reforms in all sectors have been successfully introduced and are being implemented. Let us examine what developments have taken place on different important issues.

Pakistan’s economy has made significant progress over the last six years and the growth rate is around six to seven percent of GDP. The Karachi Stock Market (KSE), which has never crossed 2,000 points since the creation of Pakistan, is almost touching 11,500 points.

Pakistan has become self-reliant and the country has kept at bay IMF and other international donor agencies. Balochistan has come into international limelight with a couple of mega projects that have potentials to drastically change the geopolitical and strategic scenario in the region. Gwadar Deep Seaport Project, construction of Mirani Dam. revival of Saindak Project and Coastal.

Highway, are some of the developmental projects which will enhance Pakistan’s strategic importance in Southwest Asian region. In order to bring Northern Area at par with rest of the country, government has announced a comprehensive package for the uplift of people and development of the Northern Area. Under the package, the amount will be utilized for schemes covering water supply, women vocational centers, small roads transmission and distribution of electricity, establishment of TV rebroadcast stations at seven locations including Chilas, Gahkooch, Khaplu, Aliabad, Karimabad, Jaglot, Bunji, Astore and Shigar.

Pakistan fully recognizes that sustained growth is critical for poverty reduction. It has succeeded in reducing the growth rate from 2.3% to 1.9%, and now is aiming at 1.3 percent in the coming years. If this is achieved, the benefits of economic development in the country will begin to expand to the lower-middle and lower classes, where they are most required. GDP per capita is US $800, life expectancy has improved to 64 years, and literacy rate of adult population has gone up by 50%. The percentage of those living below the poverty line is also reduced to 23%.

The government of Pakistan recognized education the basic right of every citizen. “Education For All” refers to the global commitment to ensure that by 2015 all children would complete primary education of good quality.

Pakistan also aims to launch programs that lead to “primary healthcare for all” within the next 10 years. In the same timeframe, and as part of our overall health strategy, Pakistan will ‘ensure to provide “safe drinking water for all” in rural and urban areas alike. So, basic necessity. will have to be provided to the masses like, education, health, drinking water etc. Pakistan is proactive in taking steps to ensure that the women of Pakistan are given equal opportunities and a level-playing field. As matter of fact women in Pakistan today are much more active in all areas of life than was imaginable a few years ago. Out of 342, there are more than 74 women in the National Assembly and about 41000 women elected councilors across the country. A new direction has been given to our nation’s destiny through ‘Enlightened Moderation’ in light of the principles given to us by our founding father. Pakistan is, indeed, at the crossroads of historic changes and civilization challenges that call for greater demonstration of national unity, inter-faith harmony and self-discipline.

It is therefore incumbent upon us to rediscover ourselves for the realization of the ideological foundations on which other country came into being and pledge to spare no efforts to present the true picture of Islam to the world at large by adopting the message of peace and brotherhood for the mankind and making Pakistan a shining example of a tolerant and progressive nation.

With the implementation of sagacious policies, Pakistan can witness the emergence of Pakistan as a highly developed and prosperous and modern Islamic Pakistan, where poverty has been rooted out, where the genius of our people is fully harnessed, where widespread disease has been wiped out, where we have modern, thriving businesses and markets. Our vision is to be a vibrant, modem Islamic state where the people have a myriad of opportunities. Let us make a pledge with ourselves to work together to realize Pakistan’s true and great potential.