By Ahmed Amin Malik
I would begin with some lines from a beautiful poem of Ralph Waldo Emerson, aptly titled “A Nation’s Strength”:
Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.
Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly.
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.
Truth cannot be any far: a nation is never defined by its boundaries, landscapes or geography but it is the character, steadfastness and perseverance of its men that make it stand out tall. The attitude, passion and courage in face of adversity determine the fate of nations.
And Pakistan is among the most resilient of all nations on Earth.
Let me take you down the memory lane to the first light of September 6, 1965 when Indian Army launched a massive thrust towards Lahore with strength of a hundred thousand men backed by armored regiments.
The vanity of Indian Army Chief led him to joke about dining at Lahore Gymkhana but all that followed was exceptional bravery of Pakistan’s valiant troops who engraved tales of valor, courage and resilience with their blood during the inspired Battle of Lahore. Not only did history witness a stunning defense but our troops beat them back to Khem Kharan, a town inside Indian border.
Similarly, Battle of Chawinda from September 14, 1965 was the largest tank battle in history since the Battle of Kursk (1943) in World War II. Our soldiers were outnumbered 10:1 and yet the men of steel turned the fierce dust columns rising from advancing Indian Tanks into fire and ashes!
This is no average nation – this is a nation of fire and blood – a nation that has always responded to the call of duty with an unparalleled fervor and unwavering faith.
These men are true heirs to heroes like Muhammad-bin-Qasim, Tariq-bin-Ziyad and Mahmood Ghaznavi who soaked inspiration into the fertile basins of Indus that echoes to date: the mesmerism, charm and magnificence is still here – embedded, in our land of pure.
It was never easy. The struggle for independence did not begin in 1940 but the seeds were sowed right during the uprising of 1857 when we fought back against the colonials. They lost but were not beaten. Two generations later, they returned with renewed zeal and greater hope; events that led up to the Pakistan Resolution and culminated in creation of Pakistan.
And then, just when the dream had been realized, there came the evil taunts about our failed state and inability to survive the early years. Furthermore, the nation got orphaned within a year of its birth and yet it refused to give up.
The country was in dire-straits. Imagine, for instance, the scene of dwindling stationery in government offices), a blatantly unfair partition of assets, complete absence of an institutional framework and the largest ever migration in the world. And yet, not only did we keep our head held high and survived but we marched on.
If a list were to be a drawn for possessing the best organized agricultural infrastructure in the world, our nation would be on top of the list. It is home to the largest irrigation network in the world (with total length of canals being over 56,000 km).
Pakistan ranks eighth worldwide in farm output and is ranked among the world’s largest producers of rice, mango, cotton, chickpeas, milk, apricot, date, sugarcane, onion, oranges and wheat. The production being a result of resolute labor of our countrymen who work from dawn to dusk – be it in face of sweltering heat, merciless rain or desert-like humidity. In our land of the pure, the ploughing never stops.
We have also made our mark by being the seventh nuclear power. Note that this remarkable achievement came despite active opposition from world powers.
Pakistan boasts the finest human capital pool which includes a Nobel laureate, world’s youngest and highest academic scorers alongside millions of talented professionals, working worldwide.
We also have our own list of man-made wonders including world’s largest earth-filled dam at Tarbela, world’s biggest deep sea port at Gawadar, world’s highest paved international road across the Karakoram, troops over the highest battlefield on earth and a lot more.
Pakistan, this amazing country of ours just turned 70 but in these seven decades, we have achieved more than we have lost. This is not a long period in history of nations. Our story is far from over: we have just begun writing it and our future generations will write a lot more!
Some politicians in the corridors of power will spare no moment to explain as to how precariously we are placed but that’s empty half of the glass – they want us afraid – our nation has stood up to every trial of history and we have come out victorious. This time and the next time, we will prevail: we are Pakistan and we are second to none.
The writer is an auditor based in Lahore.