The Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940 is considered a significant development which led to the establishment of Pakistan as separate homeland for the Muslims of the Subcontinent. As the Pakistani nation celebrates 80 years of this historic event at a very critical time, when we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic which has engulfed the whole world, we need to demonstrate unity, faith and discipline. We should also pay homage to our leadership who struggled hard to secure a separate homeland through a democratic and non-violent struggle. Here, I would like to quote the words of acknowledgement by great historian, Stanley Wolpert, “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly, anyone can be credited with the creation of nation-state. Muhammad Ali Jinnah all three.”

Recently, in connection with celebrating ‘80 Years of Pakistan Resolution’, a special ceremony was held at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services Islamabad which was hosted by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman, Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and Chairman, National Forum: Celebrating 80 Years of Pakistan. Speakers from the 3 major political parties paid rich tributes to the Quaid-i-Azam for his vision, will, leadership, character and courage and conviction.

Comparing Modi’s India with Pakistan, Senator Mushahid Hussain said that Pakistan today is more inclusive while India has become more exclusive and narrow-minded. While Modi’s India is burying the legacy of its founding fathers, it is imperative that Pakistan reaffirm its commitment to the Quaid’s vision of a tolerant, inclusive, pluralistic and progressive Pakistan.

Former Chairman Senate, Raza Rabbani praised Quaid-i-Azam for liberating the Muslims from the yoke of Congress but he also criticised those elements in the Pakistani state who had tried to censor the Quaid’s teachings to suit their political convenience. Senator Shibli Faraz, Leader of the House in the Senate said that Quaid-i-Azam was a role model for all Pakistanis and the ‘Pakistani nation is eternally grateful to him for giving us freedom’.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, Syed Fakhar Imam said that of all the stalwarts of the South Asian Subcontinent in the 20th Century, Quaid-i-Azam was the greatest of them all and we can continue his legacy with the provision of good quality education.

Former Foreign Minister and former Senator Sartaj Aziz, who had met Quaid-i-Azam as a student leader, also talked about his recollections about the Quaid’s role and the freedom movement.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Raja Zafarul Haq stated that the Quaid-i-Azam had a special relationship with Allama Iqbal who was pivotal in bringing him back to India after Quaid-i-Azam had settled in London. He said that Quaid-i-Azam had implemented Iqbal’s philosophy and vision who also sought a separate homeland for Muslims. Prominent anchor and columnist Hafeezullah Niazi, came from Lahore and addressed the event, talking about the role and contribution of both Allama Iqbal and Quaid-i-Azam.

During the last eight decades, we have proved that we are resilient and through unity, we can achieve anything. We also need to pay tribute to the charismatic leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah who transferred an abstract idea and dream, into reality without firing a single bullet, threatening anyone and avoiding violence. Unity, faith, discipline and passion proved to be a more powerful means that anything else. The main features of the Pakistan Resolution 1940 still have relevance to nation-building, supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law. Federalism and protection of rights of minorities are crucial for any emerging democratic state. As founder of Pakistan, through his last will, he donated a huge amount of money to three educational institutions. We should also prioritise on education which is only possible through spending 4% of total GDP on education, encouraging role of the private sector and imparting modern and skill-based education on our youth. On this occasion, we should resolve to stay united as Pakistanis and global citizens to work as a team to keep ourselves aware of the evolving situation of COVID-19 and take necessary precautions including washing our hands and social distancing to stay safe and to keep our family, friends, relatives, community and the world safe. Now is the time to count our blessings and brace ourselves for the extraordinary challenges to overcome COVID-19. We are in this fight together and with our resilience, perseverance and collective action we can win this fight. InshaAllah, we will get back on our feet with the same zeal and vigour.