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Pakistan’s 75th birthday celebrations

Extract of a brief speech by Maqsood Ahmed, OBE

Notwithstanding the challenges and current and historical realities, today, no doubt there are many positive grounds for celebrating Pakistan’s 75th Birthday. It is a big milestone.
We could be harsh in criticising ourselves in comparison to other countries for not making adequate progress, or we could be thankful to God Almighty for this wonderful and amazing gift for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent.
In general terms, people usually try to be positive or negative and express in terms of glass half-full or glass-half-empty. In the case of Pakistan, I believe it is definitely a glass full scenario Alhamdulillah.
Ladies and gentlemen, there are four ASPECTS we need to sympathetically consider while celebrating Pakistan’s 75th birthday.
1)Initially, there were teething problems at the time of Pakistan’s birth. But we were resilient and tried to overcome those to the best of our abilities.
2)Then throughout the previous 75 years, Pakistan experimented with various political, social and economic systems including industrialisation, nationalisation, Islamisation and so forth, which were experimenter under different forms of civil, military, and hybrid arrangements of governance.
3)These are all man-made arrangements and continuing as trial and error but above all, the geographical and natural blessings are unparalleled and exceptional – a beautiful patch with great potential that Allah SWT has bestowed the area with.
4)Fourthly and lastly despite the challenges, Pakistanis: hardworking farmers and industrialists and many many other have continued to make substantial contributions.
Let me share with you some amazing facts and figures
(1) Pakistan is the fifth most populous country in the world with 224.78 million – two out of every five persons are below the age of 15 and 30% are between 15 and 29 – a great asset.
Pakistan has the world’s third-largest Muslim population and is the second largest Muslim-majority country.
(2) Sialkot, in Pakistan, is the world’s largest producer of hand-sewn footballs. Local factories in the region produce 40-60 million footballs a year, which is roughly 50-70% of the world’s total production. The football manufacturing industry now consists of more than 200 factories.
(3) Pakistan has the world’s largest ambulance network. Pakistan’s Edhi Foundation, which is also listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, operates the network.
(4) Two people have won the Nobel Prize from Pakistan. Malala Yousafzai for Peace in 2014 and Abdus Salam for Physics in 1979.
(5) K-2 is the highest mountain peak in Pakistan and the second highest in the world. Forty of the world’s fifty tallest mountain peaks are in Pakistan.
(6) Pakistan also has one of the oldest civilizations in history, dating back to 6000 B.C. Mehrgarh is now seen as a precursor to the Indus Valley Civilization.
(7)The ‘Khewra Salt Mine’ in Pakistan is the second largest and oldest salt mine in the world.
(8) Pakistan has the only fertile desert in the world – the Tharparkar desert – located in Sindh province.
(9) The world’s longest glacial system outside the Polar Regions – the Biafo Glacier – is in Pakistan
(10) Out of the total land area in Pakistan, 25% is under agricultural cultivation. Pakistan irrigates three times more land area than Russia.
(11) The world’s largest man-made forest is in Pakistan – the Changa Manga forest (12,423 acres in area).
(12) Pakistan is also blessed with Jahangir Khan, a former World No. 1 professional squash player. Between 1981 and 1986, he won 555 matches consecutively (the longest winning streak by any athlete in top-level professional sports, as recorded by Guinness World Records
Pakistan is the only nation so far that came into being in the name of religion. In this regard we are always reminded about: Pakistan ka Matlab Kia – la ilaha ill Allah – which is the most challenging slogan to implement in practice – but has never been forgotten. According to Iqbal.
Cho me goyam musalmanam ba larzam
ki daanam mushkilaatae la ilaah raa
When I say that I am a Muslim, I shudder with fear,
Because I know the challenges of saying ‘there is no god but
Allah (la Ilaha).
Iqbal also reminds us about hope and faith in Allah Almighty.
Butoon sey tujh to umaideen Khuda sey nomeedi
Mujhe bata to sahi aur kafri kia hay.
On its 75th independence anniversary, the choice is with us, the citizens of Pakistan. We may not have control over megatrends, but can certainly influence the game changers, influencers in a way that they positively affect these trends and, if not leading to a best-case scenario, may at least do better than business-as-usual. This is a common dream for many of us and a pathway to sustainable development for our future generations, provided we continue to follow the golden principles and guidance of Quran and Sunnah, for example:
Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves (Al-Ra’ad: 11) or
ḳhudā ne aaj tak us qaum kī hālat nahīñ badlī
na ho jis ko ḳhayāl aap apnī hālat ke badalne kā
or as Iqbal advises in the light of Quran:
Dil-e-Murda dil nahi hay issey zinda kar dobara
Key yahi ummaatoon key maraze kuhan ka chara
Pakistan Painda bad

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