Monday, August 11, 2014

Importance of Celebrating Pakistan Independence Day

On 14 August, 1947, Pakistan became an independent country, yet the unbearable cost was sky high; the damage in terms of the lost honor of the violated women and their murders would remain irreparable forever. Indeed, the massive migration, amid widespread communal violence, ethnic cleansing/genocide, trainloads of slaughtered Muslims and the mercilessly raped young women, reminds us of the trauma of all those who sacrificed just to give a comfortable independent land to the new Pakistanis.
In his address to the ‘would be Pakistanis, Mr Jinnah particularly emphasized,’ “You are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
Some important facts in chronological order:
1948--Sadly, Muhammed Ali Jinnah, founding leader of Pakistan, dies. First war with India over disputed territory of Kashmir takes place. 1951:Jinnah's successor Liaquat Ali Khan is assassinated. 1956: Constitution proclaims Pakistan an Islamic republic. (1958) Martial law is declared and General Ayub Khan takes over and becomes president in 1960. 1965 Indo-Pak second war is fought over Kashmir. 1969: General Ayub Khan quits and General Yahya Khan takes over. 1970: Victory in general elections in East Pakistan for breakaway Awami League, leads to rising tension with West Pakistan. 1971: East Pakistan breaks away and proclaims sovereignty as Bangladesh with Indian help. 1973: Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto becomes prime minister. The constitution of Pakistan is re-tailored. 1977: Deadly riots erupt over allegations of vote-rigging by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
General Zia-ul-Haq usurps the constitution in a coup. 1978: He becomes president and launches campaign to introduce Islamic system in Pakistan. 1979: Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is executed on charges of murder.
1980: The US pledges military assistance to Pakistan following Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.1986: Bhutto's daughter Benazir returns from exile to lead PPP in campaign for fresh elections.
1988 August: President Zia, the US ambassador and top Pakistan army commanders die in mysterious air crash. Ghulam Ishaq Khan takes over the presidency. In November, Benazir Bhutto's PPP wins general election. 1990 - Benazir Bhutto is dismissed as prime minister on charges of bad governance and corruption. 1993: President Ishaq Khan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif both resign under pressure from military.
General elections bring Benazir Bhutto back to power. 1996: President Leghari dismisses Bhutto government on corruption charges. 1997: Nawaz Sharif returns as prime minister after his Pakistan Muslim League party wins elections. 1998: Pakistan goes ahead with its own nuclear tests after India explodes several nuclear devices. May 1999-Kargil conflict: Pakistan Defence forces clash to repulse the advancing Indian military in the icy heights around Kargil in Indian-held Kashmir.
1999 October - General Pervez Musharraf seizes power in coup. 2000 April - Nawaz Sharif sentenced to life imprisonment on hijacking and terrorism charges over his actions to prevent the 1999 coup.  2000 December - Nawaz Sharif goes into exile in Saudi Arabia under a deal. 2001 June: Gen Musharraf becomes president while remaining as Chief of the army staff (COAS). 2001 September - Musharraf joins the US in the war on terror. The US lifts some sanctions imposed after Pakistan's nuclear tests in 1998. 2002 August: President Musharraf grants himself sweeping new powers, including the right to dismiss an elected parliament.
2004 May: Pakistan is readmitted to Commonwealth.
2007 March: President Musharraf suspends Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, triggering a countrywide wave of protests. Supreme Court reinstates Chief Justice Chaudhry. October: Ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto returns from exile. Around 200 well wishers die in a suicide bomb targeting her homecoming parade from the Karachi Airport.
November: Musharraf wins presidential election but is challenged by Supreme Court. He declares emergency rule, dismisses Chief Justice Chaudhry and appoints new Supreme Court, which validates his re-election. Former PM Nawaz Sharif returns from exile.  December - State of emergency is lifted. Benazir Bhutto is assassinated while exiting from Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi after making her speech. 2008 February-March: Pakistan People's Party (PPP) nominee Yusuf Raza Gilani becomes PM at head of coalition with Nawaz Sharif's Muslim League party following parliamentary elections in February. August: President Musharraf resigns after the two main governing parties agree to launch impeachment proceedings against him.
After days of protests, government yields to demands for reinstatement of judges dismissed by former President Musharraf.
In April, Swat agreement breaks down after Taleban-linked militants seek to extend their control. Government launches offensive to retake control of Swat from militants. In November, President Zardari hands control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal to PM Yousuf Raza Gilani in apparent attempt to ease political pressure.
2010 April: The National Assembly approves package of wide-ranging constitutional reforms. Measures include transferring key powers from office of president to prime minister.
2011 November: Pakistan shuts down NATO supply routes after a NATO attack on military outposts kills 25 Pakistani soldiers. 2012 June: Supreme Court disqualifies Prime Minister Gilani from holding office after he declines to appeal against a token sentence in President Zardari Swiss case. Parliament approves Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as his successor. 2013 June: Parliament approves Nawaz Sharif as prime minister after his Muslim League-N wins parliamentary elections in May. July: Mamnoon Hussain is elected as president by the parliament.
In 2013 November, Lt Gen Raheel Sharif takes over as head of the army/COAS.
2014: Operation Zarb-e-Azb is in the final phases and is expected to conclude with happy outcome soon.
Internationally, the stolen Pakistani water and the neighbors’ intriguing attitude are among some of the headaches that need to be addressed on a top priority basis with a Pakistan friendly foreign policy in place at the earliest.
With respect to the allegations of locally stolen mandate (ballot) and economic downturn, answer lies only in encouraging a level playing field to reproduce constructive conscience of the entire nation; that would generate peaceful atmosphere.
It’s absolutely necessary to keep paying tribute to those who dedicated their lives to earn freedom for us. Although the people of Pakistan celebrate the Independence Day with patriotism, yet they should remember what Jinnah's dream was; many among us seem to have forgotten the reason for the formation of Pakistan.

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