We celebrate Pakistan Day on 23rd March every year with full zeal and enthusiasm in memory of resolution presented by A. K. Fazl-e-Haq in 1940 at Lahore. Although the resolution comprises of only few pages but represents true guideline and recipe of a prosperous country and nation. It states that, minorities (Muslims) must be protected not only physically but also in performing their religious, cultural, socio-economic activities. This is the statement that void the slogan of rule of majority and haggard protection of human rights and tolerance to accept minorities.
Quaid-e-Azam, second the resolution by adding that, we are ambitious for a state where people are free to develop themselves with full independence culturally, religiously, politically and economically but unfortunately, we are failed to develop such welfare state which our Quaid is dreaming for. The resolution is an attempt to heal the wounds of discrimination, gender bias and social injustice and come up with a hope to achieve equality, peace, tolerance, acceptance and undistributed ownership of state but still we are struggling to improve our rating in global gender parity index where Pakistan stands at 153 out of 156 nations (Global Gender Gap Report 2021) while our Quaid believe in women empowerment as he believes that, women can do a great deal in every domain of life. In addition, national unity and strength which was envisioned in the Lahore Resolution are also missing in present day Pakistan, where intolerance, violence, and tribal strife have become a new normal.
Furthermore, the handicapped economy is paling the crux of Pakistan Day celebrations. Currency crisis, trade situation, worse BoP, declines forex reserves has been burking the economic activities of our country so, there is a dire need to revive the essence of resolution which believes in economic rights of all and stresses the fulfilment of basic needs attainment like minimum and reasonable wage, job opportunities, access to the market, and decent working conditions. However, these rights can only be enjoyed by the elites. Workforce and labourers have no voice in the economic sphere. Similarly, unemployment is increasing day by day. The huge bulk of undergraduate students are out of the job market, hence creating an inactive youth bulge. The culture of tax evasion in Pakistan provides room for elites to monopolize the markets and enslave the working class widens class inequality. Increasing poverty strengthens hegemonic culture and neoliberal rationality that violate the political rights of individuals. The Pakistan day Resolution also demand rulers who prioritize National interest over personal gains.
But things are improving, as despondency is not a pill. Quaid-e-Azam said in his presidential address in 1940 that, we cannot be displaced or preempted from our ambition and aspiration by hazards and coercions. We must be determined to confront all the hurdles and emanation which definitely returns back in the form of achievement of our goal and there is no short cut to revive things immediately while progress is always a slow process. As per Asian Development Outlook 2021 projected Pakistan’s GDP growth to reach 4 per cent in the current fiscal year (2021-22) as business activity gradually resumes and growth picks up in agriculture and industry.
The expected improvement in domestic demand is likely to raise growth in the services sector too. Law and order situation is also improving gradually where inflationary pressures will likely come from ongoing economic recovery and rising global oil prices but should be tempered by expenditure reform and the government’s commitment not to borrow from the central bank. Export growth is expected to accelerate due to upturn in economic activity in Pakistan’s major trade partners, continued efforts to reduce the cost of doing business and the newly introduced export facilitation scheme. Imports are expected to rise due to domestic economic recovery, higher international oil prices, and rationalization of customs and regulatory duties in the next budget (2022-23). Remittances are likely to remain high due to the Roshan Digital Account initiative and will help narrow the current account deficit. Horizontal and vertical expansion of the social safety net called the Ehsaas programme, will boost economic activity through higher public development spending and consequently supporting job creation. Initiatives like Kamyab Jawan (Successful Youth), Sehat Sahulat Card (Health Facilitation Card) for 4 to 6 million families, Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme (low-cost housing), house financing mark-up, collateral free lending to SMEs, etc are also supporting the deprived economy.
Although, still there are many challenges to confront but it’s time to revisit the course of history, brace the spirit of our annals, and reinvigorate the social, economic, and political promise of Pakistan Day which reminds us to REIMAGINE OUR FUTURE TOGETHER.
[box type=”note” align=”” class=”” width=””]The Author is MD IRP/Faculty Department of H&SS, Bahria University Karachi[/box]