The Pakistan day parade was indeed a grand occasion. Doing justice to all the hype created around it, the parade resurfaced after a hiatus of 7 years in all its glory. Mesmerizing, it brought in a rush of nostalgia for some, and enticed those who were witnessing the show for the first time. Jets pierced the skies with acrobatic brilliance. Sharply dressed men and women of the armed forces marched across the pavement, their salutes meticulously choreographed into unison. And then, of course, there were the missiles: intimidating structures pivoted on trucks, gleaming under the sun, their pointed faces arched towards the sky, foretelling destruction. For the majority who marvelled at the exhibition, the parade and the perceived military strength of the armed forces of Pakistan was the epitome of grandeur.

And yet, amidst all this, the parade reminded us of how things have not changed at all. An exact reincarnation of such previous shows, the parade was regretfully a déjà vu of the past; a past essential for Pakistan to escape. The missiles brought forth represented the well-endowment of the military’s ammunational capacity for a war it will never have to fight. The fighter jets with their speed and stealth seemed unnecessary in terms of the military’s recent and indeed essential engagements. The celebration of a Pakistani made drone (a technology fairly common and now being used by Amazon to deliver its products) was a stark reminder of our very low expectations from our engineers and scientists.

The Lahore Resolution, the event this day that the parade sought to celebrate, has been lost in the pages of badly printed history books. The trite celebration with its exhibition of military strength fails to reflect the true essence of the resolution passed by the All India Muslim League on the 24th of March 1940 (According to K.K. Aziz, the resolution was passed on the 24th and not the 23rd). A re-reading of the resolution is hence essential and must be made part of the national curriculum. However, as has been the case with our previous historical and religious literature, it is essential that the resolution is presented in its true form and not left to be misquoted and wrongly paraphrased by the authors of our history books.

As part of the aforementioned process and in line with today, the true date of the passing of the Lahore resolution, let me quote the text of the final resolution. The text has been taken from K. K. Aziz’s ‘The Murder of History’ and is presented hereunder as presented in the book:

“Resolved that it is the considered view of this session of the All India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principles, viz., that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority, as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India, should be grouped to constitute ‘Independent States’ in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.”

How the above resolution demands celebration in the form of military parades is anyone’s guess. Our preference to celebrate in this manner is an indication of how inaccurately we have defined patriotism within our masses. The resolution must be taken as the first essential step towards the true recognition of the need for separate state(s) for the muslim population of India. In the shadow of the India Act of 1935 and the subsequent Congress Raj of 1937-1939, the Resolution truly represented the frustrations of the Muslim population under foreign rule. It presented the idea of a separate homeland for them for the first time, enabling them to relish the idea of true freedom.

Bearing this in mind, we need to reconsider how we celebrate this day and what significance it holds for us. Instead of boasting military strength, the day needs to be an opportunity for the masses to remember the struggles demanded by the Pakistan movement and the many obstacles conquered to get this country. The leadership, instead of tiredly (and indeed inhumanely) standing for 3 hours, must instead take to the stage and read out the text of the resolution and then, in all honesty, relate to the Pakistani nation what it actually means.