Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri’s message on Pakistan Day

The 23rd of March is an important day in the history of Pakistan when seventy one years ago, the Muslims of the sub-continent gathered at the then Minto Park (now Minar-e-Pakistan) and charted a new course of action to achieve separate homeland under the inspiring leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The day reminds us of the heroic sacrifices and contributions rendered by the Muslims to realize the dream of Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

Despite living together with Hindus for well over 800 years, the Muslims could not amalgamate into the native composite culture and civilization. They kept their cultural identity, religious values and civilizational ethos intact and distinct from those of other communities that inhabited in Hindustan in spite of various efforts to impose a uniform culture and code of life. They also resented the efforts of the British government to treat the Indian political and constitutional problem under the ideal of Westminster democracy. Their quest for seeking separate electorate and other Muslim-specific concessions from the ruling British also bespoke of their innate desire to be treated as a nation.

The insistence of Congress on the application of Westminster democracy, where majority rules the roost, was an attempt at stifling the Muslims’ identity and assimilating them into larger Indian whole. The Nehru Report, which turned a blind eye to the existence of the Muslims and tended to project the notion of joint Nationalism, was a watershed, which made Muslims realize the gravity of challenge they were up against. It was at this stage that Allama Dr Muhmmad Iqbal, sage and philosopher of the East, vented out their pent-up desires and emotions and came up with the idea of a separate homeland for the Muslims after studying the Indian problem from the prism of history, geography, religion and politics. The treatment meted out to the Muslims at the hands of the ruling Congress between 1937 and 1939 only confirmed the efficacy of Iqbal’s thoughts and genuineness of the Muslims’ demand for being treated as equal to the Hindus. This provides the historical background for the passage of Resolution for Pakistan on March 23, 1940.

This day demands of us to do much-needed introspection and identify whether Pakistan of today represents the ideals which characterized the freedom struggle. An objective appraisal reveals that we have drifted far beyond from the vision of our founding fathers who wanted to make Pakistan a truly modern, moderate, democratic and welfare Islamic state where all citizens could live peacefully, enjoy equality before law, equal access to opportunities in accordance with the principles of social justice and equity propounded by Islam.

The flood of challenges Pakistan is mired in suggests that we have put the idea of Pakistan at the backburner. In the absence of strong nationalism, various sub-national identities on the basis of ethnicity, sectarianism, and provincialism have emerged to fill in the vacuum. The cropping up of forces of terrorism and extremism also owes itself to absence of a unifying idea which could bind diverse elements into a national power. We cannot succeed unless we search for our moorings and values.

Minhaj-ul-Quran International is striving to attain the goal for which Pakistan was achieved. It has launched a worldwide campaign against the forces of terrorism and extremism that are bent on bringing Pakistan and Islam into disrepute and embarrassment. On this auspicious day, let us pledge not to rest unless we achieve the goal of making Pakistan a truly democratic, Islamic welfare state as envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal. I extend my felicitation to people of Pakistan on this day.