Today marks the 80th anniversary of the Lahore Resolution. Eight decades have passed since our founding fathers made the official declaration of the creation of two states instead of one in the Subcontinent. March 23, 1940 will always be significant in our hearts, even more so for Nawa-i-Waqt, which was published for the first time on this, most auspicious of days. In this time, many questions have been asked of Pakistan. We have been through some difficult periods, and unsurprisingly, many myopic foreign policy experts, hawks from across the border and those that never wanted this country to be made in the first place, have asserted that it would only be a matter of time before our country would not be able to sustain itself on its own, or would collapse under the weight of its own problems.

And yet, after all these years, we continue to persevere and prove our doubters wrong. We might have struggled with some issues, but more importantly, we have thrived and prospered in many aspects since our independence. Despite all odds and defying all coercive attempts to stop us, we became the first Muslim country to build a nuclear bomb; a feat that many thought impossible. We have held off an overly aggressive neighbour that has attempted to flout our national sovereignty on more than one occasion while not stooping to their level of callousness and indifference to the value of a human life.

None of this would have been possible if it were not for those fateful three days in Lahore in 1940, at the spot where Minar-e-Pakistan now stands. At the core of Pakistan’s philosophy were the two principles of self-determination and the need for a separate homeland, and there hasn’t been a March 23 in history where these two have been any more relevant. And while the plight of the Muslims in India is heart-wrenching, it is also a reminder of what we would have suffered had Pakistan not been formed in 1947.

In a country with over 200 million Muslims, the Indian government has tried every trick in the book to marginalise this minority community, which tells us that the notion to create a separate homeland for Muslims stands completely vindicated. Mobs have insulted, lynched, abused and tortured members of the Muslim community, and yet the minority is still being portrayed as the ones who initiate conflict.

Eighty years since our founders signed the official declaration for Muslim self-determination in the Subcontinent, the events of the past year have only further affirmed the need for Pakistan. Kashmir has now been under lockdown for 232 days from an oppressive and borderline fascist government of Prime Minister Modi. If, God forbid, Pakistan did not exist today, not only would we have been in a similar situation, but at this moment, no other state or group would be brave enough to raise their voice and stand in solidarity with the people of Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

It is the lessons that we have learnt since our independence, the costs that we have incurred in the last 80 years, and the sacrifices we have made that truly make us who we are as Pakistanis. Pakistan’s own fight for independence and witnessing India’s attitude in IOK has developed a collective national ethos of compassion and standing with marginalised Muslims, no matter where they are. This is why our hearts go out to Palestinians alongside the Kashmiris, and why we have left no stone unturned in our attempts to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan as well.

Eight decades have passed and we continue to grow as a country, a community and a people, united by our love for this hard-fought homeland. Pakistan Zindabad.