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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Gen. Zia introduced Celebrations of 14th August have eroded its historic sanctity!

Farid A Malik, Ex-President Science Foundation argues, in the background of hooliganism at Minar-e-Pakistan, that Gen. Zia, the country’s third military usurper introduced public celebrations on 14th August, to divert attention away from his suppressive rule. His selfish politics destroyed the dignity of Independence Day.

Amongst many other evils, it was the third usurper Zia also introduced hooliganism in celebrating independence day on August 14 every year. Now it has turned into a menace that must be contained. Thank God! the other important day that falls on March 23, has been spared. Nations stand up and defend their freedom. In the words of Abraham Lincoln; ”

My freedom ends where others begin “. It was the cunning deceit of Gen Zia that while he usurped the rights of the citizens and destroyed civilian institutions, he encouraged street celebrations which included flags, buntings, posters and open for all youth street processions.

Read more: Op-ed: Should Quaid-e-Azam be really frustrated, or delighted, at his 144th birth anniversary?

As the firstborn free generation of Pakistan, my memory of Independence Day celebrations was both dignified and somber. The day started with the Gun Salutes, followed by marching bands of schools and then seminars where the responsibilities of preserving freedom were discussed. My father always talked about the partition ordeal and the struggle for reaching the new land to start life all over again. He could never go back to Ludhiana the city of his birth as he was tried in absentia and convicted for murder while defending his neighborhood from the mob attack… Those were periods of uncertainty where everyone was focused on nation building.

Pakistan’s Independence Day used to be sombre and dignified

As the first-born free generation of Pakistan, my memory of “Independence Day” celebrations was both dignified and sombre. The day started with the Gun Salutes, followed by marching bands of schools and then seminars where the responsibilities of preserving freedom were discussed. My father always talked about the partition ordeal and the struggle for reaching the new land to start life all over again. He could never go back to Ludhiana the city of his birth as he was tried in absentia and convicted for murder while defending his neighborhood from the mob attack. Those were the periods of uncertainty where everyone was focused on nation building.

First, it was Ayub Khan who derailed the entire march towards freedom by abrogating the 1956 constitution. And then came Zia whose attack to weaken the resolve from within was most lethal. He disfigured the unanimously agreed 1973 version of the constitution that was enacted on August 14 of that year. It is an irony that today his protégé Nawaz Sharif and his clan are demanding complete adherence to that very document that they mutilated and challenged in the first place.

Read more: From Lord Macaulay to General Zia ul Haq

It was Gen. Zia who first violated Article 6 of the constitution and should have been tried together with all the others who followed in his footsteps later. Since July 05, 1977, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been on a roller coaster ride downhill which Prime Minister ( PM ) Imran Khan is single headedly trying to reverse but with limited success. The nasty events of August 14, 2021, calls for a complete ban on street celebrations. With the Zia sponsored and Nawaz spearheaded an attack on institutions such mobs are now unmanageable and must be discouraged. The original mode of celebrating with reverence must be restored with flag hoisting and indoor programs.

Controlling Hooliganism is beyond Punjab Police

The use of “chemical dour” (chemically treated thread for kite flying) destroyed the ‘” Basant festival “while hooliganism has consumed our independence. The Police force raised by Sharif’s of Gawalmandi and Chaudhry’s of Gujrat is not able to control either event as this force itself has been privatized. Law enforcement is now through open bidding, those who can pay to go scot-free those who cannot suffer.

The current PM, Imran Khan, is right; jails are full of only the poor and the helpless. Now the entire law enforcement is involved in the Greater Iqbal Park incident where a young TikTokker was assaulted. Over 92 people have been arrested. After remand, there will be an identification parade by the victim followed by submission of challan and court cases against the accused. It is an unending cumbersome process.

There is a famous English proverb; ” An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure “. As a nation we are willing to risk the pounds to save the ounces, prevention is no one’s priority. Later Usman Buzdar, the Chief Minister ( CM ) states that the bureaucracy has been tasked to solve public problems, but with a lack of follow up action, the ground realities continue to remain grim.

Read more: Former DG ISPR Asif Ghafoor among six promoted to Lieutenant-General rank in Pakistan Army

On August 14, 1947, we did gain freedom and emerged as the first Islamic Democracy of the world followed by Iran. Both Islamic Republics were short lives. Liaquat Ali Khan the first PM was assassinated in 1951 followed by the toppling and imprisonment of Muhammad Mosaddeq of Iran. While the colonial establishment’s leftovers continued to encroach on our freedom, the independence celebrations continued.

It was Gen. Zia who decided to exhibit on a massive scale what did not exist before his regime. He disfigured the constitution while the state sponsored street celebrations were organized which have now gotten out of control. Like my father the Tehreek-e-Pakistan Gold Medallist, I believe in an independent Pakistan where the constitution and rule of law are considered supreme only then we will be able to celebrate our freedom as responsible citizens of free land. The PM has rightly pointed out that Mafia controls our institutions, till we are able to get rid of them there is not much to celebrate. These misguided celebrations must come to an end for the closure of the dreaded Zia era.

Read more: The Legacy of General Waheed Kakar

Dr. Farid A. Malik is Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.