I wish to extend heartiest felicitations to all the Pakistanis living within the country and abroad on the auspicious occasion of 67th Independence Day today.
The Independence Day celebrations this year have special significance as the nation is also celebrating, for the first time, peaceful democratic transition from one democracy to another. While our heads bow in gratitude before Allah we should also, on this auspicious occasion of double rejoicing, resolve to make Pakistan a truly modern, dynamic, progressive and democratic country.
Apart from celebrations the Independence Day is also an occasion to reflect whether we have moved towards or away from the noble ideals for which the state was created by our great forefathers.
Unfortunately, our past history is marred by repeated assaults on democracy and abrogation of the constitution which was also endorsed by some state institutions. Repeated ambushes against the democratic process and abrogation of the Constitution have resulted in the weakening of democratic institutions and the entrenching of non-democratic forces in a culture of secrecy. The civilian political structures were weakened as Pakistan was driven away from a welfare state to a security driven state with enormous damage to our body politic.
Let us resolve that we will never allow the Constitution to be subverted nor the democratic process derailed. In the fullness of time those who subverted the Constitution and those who lent legitimacy to its abrogation and subversion must be punished; they will be. It is indeed for the democratic Parliament to decide on how to punish them.
Let us on this day rededicate ourselves once again to the democratic ideals and principles for which Pakistan was created. Let us banish from our midst extremists and militants who wish to impose their political ideology on the people through the bullet instead of the ballot. Let us also reject those who exploit and misuse the name of religion for advancing their personal and partisan political agendas.
On this day I urge the people to stand firm and united for safeguarding and strengthening democracy and to work collectively for a progressive, tolerant, moderate and pluralistic Pakistan as envisioned by our great leaders. On this day, I also wish to pay tribute to those valiant sons of the soil who have sacrificed their lives defending motherland from internal and external threats. I also pay tributes to the courage of all those fellow citizens who laid down their lives or suffered grievously fighting against militancy and extremism.
August 14, 2013