S. TARIQ Were my eyes deceiving me or was the flagpole with the Pakistani flag in front of the KESC building being violently shaken by an angry mob demanding reinstatement. Moments later, I saw what appeared to be the same flag, now down from its customary place, being roughed up by the crowd. I wish the media could playback the frames and prove me wrong or if otherwise, take up the cudgel to expose the persons responsible for the outrage. There are a few things that are sacred to nations around the world - their Founding Fathers, their National Standard, the National Anthem and the Constitution. When the citizens of the country show disrespect to all of the above, then they do not deserve to be called a nation. The Founding Father, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was indirectly subjected to an insulting episode on the occasion of his birth anniversary in Lahores Aiwan-e-Iqbal and this incident became the basis of one of my columns titled Is shame our destiny. As far as the National Flag is concerned, one should just take a walk down the road on Independence Day and see how the Pakistani public 'respects the paper Sitara-e-Hilals, which litter the ground and are trod underfoot by traffic. It was on one such Independence Day that I saw a car screech to a halt on the Jinnah Avenue in Islamabad. The drivers door opened and out stepped an elderly woman. She walked briskly to the front and retrieved some object from the road. As I pulled up alongside, I saw that she was carrying a torn Pakistani Flag in her hand, which she reverently put on the dash board and casting a glance at me drove away. Innumerable people must have seen this flag lying on the road, but only one of them had the patriotic notion to render it the respect it deserved. It is indeed an emotional moment when one sees the reverent manner in which the armed forces of Pakistan handle the National Standard or the pride on seeing a female Pakistani sprinter winning the gold in an international athletics meet and taking a victory lap with the green flag. YouTube fans must have seen the video wherein a young boy is seen singing the National Anthem along with his schoolmates somewhere in Swat or the trouble torn tribal area. The passion and gusto in the young ones rendering is not only inspirational, but also a matter of shame for those of us, who fidget and even loll in their seats at events, where the National Anthem is being played. The Constitution, which has been referred to by some as just a piece of paper has been abrogated and suspended a number of times. Mercifully, it is now protected by our two national institutions - the superior judiciary and the armed forces, who have a shown a remarkable determination to uphold it and proceed by it. Talking of the National Flag, I am reminded of an interesting incident narrated to me by a retired Federal Secretary some years ago that speaks much about the nature of our politicians. Newly elected to the National Assembly and having contrived to obtain a ministerial portfolio, one of our members of Parliament called the aforementioned Secretary to his office and instructed him to take care of the Ministry without bothering him, as he (the respectable minister) had got what he wanted - the perks of the said Ministry and the Pakistani flag on his car. I feel particularly upset when I read reports of violence against minorities and their harassment by protectors of the law. While against the very spirit of Islam, which secures the rights of non-Muslims, it violates the image of Pakistan as envisioned by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. These acts are also 'desecration by implication of the National Flag, where the white strip is the embodiment of the rights of people other than Muslims to share equal opportunity and security in the 'Land of the Pure. So let us - next time, we see the green and white symbol of our independence, being subjected to callous disregard, step forward and lead the way in giving it the reverence it deserves. The writer is a freelance columnist.