14th August Flag Hosting Ceremony in Pakistan Embassy Yangon. Photo courtesy: Syed Burhan Mehdi

The 69th Independence Day of our beloved country Pakistan was celebrated not only in every corner of the country but also across the globe, with Pakistanis showing their love for the country and promising to do something good to make it more prosperous.

On 14th August, 2015, I went to the Pakistani Embassy in Yangon for attending the ‘flag hoisting ceremony’ and to raise the green flag there. In Yangon, a city where people hardly know about Pakistan and Pakistanis – especially about their Independence Day – raising the green flag and seeing it moving in the air not only brought tears in my eyes but also provided me the opportunity to feel proud because of the heart-touching moments. These moments were the most remarkable for all the Pakistanis who were present at the ceremony including me and the day was celebrated with great zeal and zest.

After attending the ceremony, when I reached my office, a multinational company in Yangon, I told my Burmese colleagues that the 14th August is celebrated as Independence Day in Pakistan – a day when our forefathers under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, got the recognition and got a separate homeland for the Muslims of Sub-Continent. I also explained to them how hard we had struggled to gain freedom from British rulers who intruded the Sub-Continent and our ancestors had to offer a great number of sacrifices to get this piece of land for the Muslims.

Then I changed the topic to the current Pakistan and told them about real Pakistan which is very beautiful and full of natural beauty and also showed them pictures of Northern Areas of Pakistan, which they termed as a part of heaven. I tried my best to convince my Burmese colleagues that Pakistan is not a terrorist country but a beautiful and peaceful land and if they ever get a chance to visit Pakistan, they can’t forget the love, harmony, hospitality and beautiful memories that they will bring back with them.

The next day, while at work, when I got some leisure time and was drowned in my thoughts, I felt that this is how Pakistanis abroad celebrate their Independence Day whereas those who are living in Pakistan are the blessed ones who are spend their lives in their own homeland, celebrate Independence Day either by sleeping, watching TV or planning for a get together with friends and relatives, instead of celebrating it by doing some productive work which may prove beneficial for the country. I remember, at my previous workplace in Pakistan, my ex-manager used to ask us to write New Year’s Resolution on the 1st of January every year to set up our goals for the whole year. No one ever asked us to write our Independence Day‘s resolution.

This fact made me realize that we only enjoy 14th August as a public holiday and are less interested in thinking about building up the country and doing something which can help the country progress by leaps and bounds. We, as individuals, never make any commitment with ourselves or spare time to make an Independence Day resolution. The time ticks away and nothing in practical, or even in writing, is done for the better of the country.

Next year, again we will sluggishly enjoy 14th August as a public holiday and the same cycle will continue. The question is: who will then think for the development and progress of Pakistan? At least not a foreigner; that is something we Pakistanis have to do so.

We can see so many posts on social media regarding Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day, Mother’s Day, and many more, but sadly, we don’t post anything to motivate our young generation with the movement: “What is your Independence Day Resolution?” We feel proud to be Pakistanis and we should be but we never set our goals for doing anything for Pakistan. We only curse our politicians, corrupt the judicial system and think that this system will never change and we can’t progress with the existing system. We never try to be the first drop of rain by only setting up goals for ourselves instead of pointing our fingers at others.

On the 14th August, we all watch TV programs where hosts and guests talk about our national heroes. It is always a very proud moment to hear about the success stories and contributions of our heroes. They are our heroes and they will always remain our heroes but have we ever tried to become the heroes for the next generation? Does the idea ever strike us that instead of listening to old stories, our youngsters should have new names or new heroes from amongst us? Unfortunately not!

Time demands every individual to make a resolution, not only for their own progress and prosperity, but also for the country which gave them name, fame and recognition, and we collectively have to brighten its name across the globe. It is high time when we have to take a break, and to think about making an Independence Day resolution before the next Independence Day arrives and then for the next, and so on.

We feel proud of our brave ancestors – but isn’t it an injustice to our children who, in the future, will have no heroes to feel proud of or look up to? Think for a while and just do it! Pakistan Zindabad!