Pakistan Independence Day Supplement: 62 years of struggle and prosperity
Asif Ali Zardari
On this auspicious occasion of the 63rd Independence Day, I wish to compliment all Pakistanis living within the country and abroad.
Sixty-two years ago, on this day, a separate homeland was created wherein we could live in freedom and shape our lives according to our values. Today therefore is a watershed mark in the history of the country and an occasion for joy and celebrations.
Pakistan was envisaged by its Founding Father to be a homeland for the Muslims of South Asia where democracy, Constitutionalism and respect of human rights would reign supreme. It was envisaged to be a country where there would be no discrimination on the basis of creed, gender and sect and where minorities would enjoy equal rights as citizens of the state and fully in the mainstream of national life.
As we celebrate the Independence Day today we should also rededicate ourselves to uphold the principles for which Pakistan was created. At the same time we should also pause and ponder whether we have upheld those principles and values which we vow every year to uphold.
While there is much to rejoice and celebrate there are also areas and issues about which we must be concerned.
The mindset that increasingly preaches extremism, violence and militancy in the name of religion and which has been on the rise in the country is a direct negation of the values for which this country was created. This is an area of great concern to all of us.
It is a mindset that poses the greatest threat to the security and stability of the country that was founded on this day. The recent burning of the houses and acts of vandalism against the Christians in Gojra in the month of our independence is only a manifestation of this mindset. Let us therefore resolve to defeat this pernicious mindset that has promoted suicide bombings, beheading innocent people, torturing women and forcibly closing academies of learning.
Countless lives were sacrificed for the achievement of the dream that was Pakistan. The country's first directly elected Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto sacrificed his life for the ideals for which Pakistan was created. His daughter and the Muslim world's first women Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto laid down her life for saving the country from militancy and for the cause of democracy, free and fair elections and emancipation of the poor, downtrodden and dispossessed.
The Pakistan Peoples Party has a long history of struggle for the achievement of the objectives for which Pakistan was created. Four Bhuttos in two generations have laid down their lives for the country and the nation. Perhaps in no other country of the world can such an example of two successive party heads having sacrificed their lives be found easily.
I wish to reiterate that the PPP will continue to struggle for the vision of Quaid-e-Azam, Quaid-e-Awam and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for achieving the goal of a federal and democratic polity where rule of law and tolerance reigns supreme and from where militancy has been banished.
On the occasion I also wish to reiterate that the PPP which has given a manifesto of peace and prosperity, will pursue the goal of peace with honor and good neighborly relations with countries in the region. We will endeavor to give hope to the people through roti, kapra and makan and by providing them employment, education, energy and safe environment.
On the eve of this anniversary of our independence I also salute kissans (farmers), mazdoor (traders), teachers, doctors, intellectuals, students, women and minorities for their heroic struggle. I urge them all to support the party to restore law and order, end militancy and provide security and dignity to every citizen and open doors for them to knowledge and livelihood.
Let us on this day rededicate ourselves to the principles of democracy and human rights, to banishing dictatorship, militancy and extremism and to provide economic opportunities for all in the country and to peace in the region.
Asif Ali Zardari
Islamic Republic of Pakistan