We owe a great deal to our leaders and forefathers who sacrificed their lives to help create Pakistan. In India, the anti-minority policies of their Hindu rulers have made Muslims and the other minorities within the country realize the significance and need for Quaid-e-Azam’s struggle all those years ago. Now, the new generation in Pakistan is also watching how minorities are treated in India, and they must realize the same, yet they might also ask the question whether we have truly achieved the basic idea behind our separate homeland? The vision of our founding fathers was to see Pakistan as a sovereign Islamic and social welfare state, where every citizen could feel truly free and independent. Even though we managed to take control of the country in 1947, there is more to a state that just a piece of land. It also means ensuring the dignity of its people, and securing their basic human rights. As a nation, it sometimes seems like we do not care for the vision of our forefathers, and there are many factors that contribute to this situation. Yet, I feel like it is more important to focus on the future, then to swell on the mistakes of our past. To envision a prosperous tomorrow for our country, we need to re-examine all of our outdated laws, bring about political stability, and ensure good governance, with a workable justice system in place. Pakistan’s future is certainly bright, but not without its challenges. Some nefarious elements, both within and outside the country, are on a mission to propagate negativity in the masses and make people hopeless about the future, limiting their capabilities and desire for change. Such elements in the society know that when hope dies, everything dies. The primary onus lies on the shoulders of the government to identify such elements, effectively counter their narratives, and bring harmony among the people. There have also been international forces that have been trying to undermine Pakistan in every way they can, since our independence almost seventy years ago. The separation of East Pakistan was their first big victory in this regard and they are now actively pursuing other avenues to bring unrest in the country. The insurgencies in Balochistan, the unrest in Karachi, and some agenda-oriented ‘rights’ movements are all examples of these same factions. Nonetheless, their despicable manoeuvrings only serve to strengthen Pakistan’s resolve, because, as they say ‘what does not kill you, makes you stronger’. These moves only serve to unite the people of this country, and gave us the resolution to create a nuclear deterrent that is now our best defence from external threats. Some nefarious elements, are on a mission to propagate negativity, limiting society’s capabilities and desires for change. Such elements in society know that when hope dies, everything dies. Ironically, we have managed to get this far, despite the fact that we have been going through a crisis of leadership over the past few decades. Even though we succeeded in getting independence from the British and Hindus, the dilemma that has faced us since then is that the people of Pakistan have been subsequently enslaved by another Mafia, one that pretends to our leaders, yet only serve to further divide the country over sectarian, political, provincial, and linguistic lines. Pakistan is still in the process of evolving in to a nation. We desperately need leaders in our politics, not politicians as leaders. Only true leadership, based on honesty, competence, bravery and determination, can put Pakistan on the right track, and ensure effective rule of law, based on the concepts of merit, accountability and justice. This is the only way to prevent the nation from falling prey to moral degradation, and Quaid’s famous adage of ‘Unity, Faith and Discipline’ can help guide the nation in to the future. The new generation deserves a peaceful, sovereign, and welfare based Islamic republic, where the rights of minorities are also well protected and citizens can be proud to call themselves Pakistani. One way to achieve this could be by always keeping in mind our past ideology, history, Islamic teachings, culture and the ideals of our forefathers, as we make progress by integrating new world ideas in to our vision for the future. Great nations never forget their past, celebrate their independence day, never compromise on their culture and dignity, design their own systems and face challenges together. China is a great example of just such a nation. On this Independence Day, let’s resolve to make Pakistan the same. The writer is a Researcher and can be reached at: email@example.com Published in Daily Times, August 15th 2018.