Beginning 2013 with a hope and a resolve

By Brig Samson S Sharaf

For most photographers in Pakistan, it was not possible to capture the setting and rising suns of 2012-13. The dense fog made it impossible for the fiery sun to peep through the horizon neither in its dying moments of 2012 nor in its rising glory as the New Year began.

Invisibility itself is a collection of suspended liquid or frozen water droplets clinging closer to the surface of the earth hindering visibility. In reality, these tiny miniscule bodies clinging together eclipsed the sun, the only star of our solar system; a great act of defiance by the tiny many showing the real power of sheer numbers. According to Sharaf Sargodhavi,

‘Khailta hai who shuha e Noor se

Kuch basat e Qatra e Shabnam Nahin’

Using similes and metaphors relating to these tiny droplets as icons of valourand courage daring the sun, Sharaf Sargodhavi asserts that nothing is impossible for a nation whose people decide to dare, carry the yoke and show the resilience to walk the steep.

Yes indeed! This is the repeated lesson brought out by revolutions and prolonged conflicts. It is the people who are the backbone of the National Power of any country. Their emotions, aspirations, dedication, idiosyncrasies, sudden surges in national character and morale and most, the willingness to brave the most trying circumstances propel them and their motherlands to the pinnacles of greatness. This poem was written before the partition. In 1947, Pakistan became a reality. The dawn of 2013 reminds us once again the strength of numbers and how like the miniscule droplets, Unity, Faith and Discipline can become the starting points of a new Pakistan that is truly, Jinnah’s Pakistan.

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The purpose of this article is not to write about geo strategy or politics. The single focus is to apprise every Pakistani of the obligations to the country and what resolutions we must make to realize the dream of Pakistan’s founding fathers. It is an assertion that yes, I am Pakistan, Yes I matter, yes I will reclaim my country and yes I will work in my capacity to effect a change.

As the first resolution for the New Year, every Pakistan must read the true and unadulterated history of Pakistan Movement. Inventive nationalism and tailored history will be the biggest impediment to this pursuit. Particular attention must be paid to the politics of separation from 1939-1945, Cabinet Mission Plan, Lahore Resolution and Qaid e Azam Muhhamad Ali Jinnah’s address to the Constituent assembly in 1947. Every Pakistani must take cognizance of the diverse strands that created the Pakistani Nation; the referendum in the then North Western Frontier Regions, accession of various states like Bahawalpur, Kalat and Khairpur to Pakistan and much later Swat, the role of tribal regions and other semi autonomous areas that now comprise Pakistan. In the quest, do pay special attention to how the rights of majority Muslims in Kashmir were usurped and who were the Pakistanis and Kashmiris who began the struggle in 1947. The objective study will lead to startling revelations about patriots, traitors and opportunists. It will also bring the realization why inventive nationalism and tailored history are the biggest impediments in the way of a unified Pakistani Construct. Acquisition of this knowledge would lay the first step of making the right choices for a self reliant, cohesive and independent Pakistan. Spread the knowledge you have gained in the first resolution to people around you. Change perceptions, attitudes and ethics within your environment.

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As a second resolution, every Pakistani must decide to be the best in individual capacity. Work honestly with dedication, always put the country before self and be convinced that if you manage to put your own house in order, everything else will fall in line. Conserve your resources including cash, power and fuel. Adopt austerity; instead of using transport for short distances, take a brisk walk and inspire your family, neighbourhoods, communities, subordinates and organizations. Where ever possible, buy what is Pakistani. Keep cellular communications to the minimum with the realization that a part of every rupee you spend is remitted as profit in dollars abroad. This will save Pakistan millions of dollars in foreign exchange each day. Keep a weekly account of all your earnings and spending, insist on getting proper bills, record every transaction and get yourself a national tax number. Even if 90 million Pakistanis adopt this resolution, effect on Pakistan’s political economy and GDP will be miraculously positive.

As a third resolution, become a viable member of the civil society. Tolerate people around you to build bridges instead of walls. Overcome anger with love and fear with confidence. Become a helping rather than a praying hand. Avoid giving alms to the cartels of professional beggars that swarm every square. Once you stop sustaining them, they will disappear. For those who can afford, sponsor and mentor a poor child for education. Join patriotic human rights and civic groups; take care of the poor and needy around you, channelize your alms, donations, Zakat and Fitrana through credible organizations. Stand up for the needy and oppressed. Slowly and steadily, this goodwill will spread and become a wildfire engulfing forces of intolerance, corruption and bigotry.

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As a fourth resolution visit the website of the Election Commission of Pakistan to check your own and your family’s name in the voter lists. Also check your registration through an SMS to the ECP giving your National Identity Card Number. The two minute effort will make you an eligible voter to cast your valuable vote in national elections.

As a fifth resolution, dispense away all hesitation in casting your vote. Decide that you will be part of the effort to revolutionize the voter turnout in Pakistan to beyond 80%. While making a choice, do not be carried away with emotionalism, clan politics, political expediencies and voting mafias. Do not forget to analyzethe historic record of political parties and the comforts and miseries they brought to your lives.  Hold every politician accountable for his deeds through the power of your opinion. In light of your resolution number 1, carry out a cost-benefit analysis and then make the choice of right candidates and political parties you support.

As the advent of the year indicates, Pakistan has to once again brace for tough times. The daily toll of violence related deaths, casualties through sheer neglect of local administration and fake medications, long queues at gas and petrol stations, power breakdowns, corruption and inefficiency are leading towards implosion of the national fabric. It is every Pakistanis time to rise to the challenge, ensure he feels counted and make the difference. These five resolutions will help make the right choices.