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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Independence Day & Enforcement of the Constitution (August 14, 1973)

Format of the stamp is vertical. Against a blue background Pakistan Flag is shown flut-tering at the top and an open book of the Constitution is shown below the Flag in brown colour.
Pakistan Post Office had issued Com-memorative Stamps on the occasions of 20th and 25th Anniversaries of Indepen-dence but issue of a Commemorative Stamp on the 26th Anniversary of Inde-pendence marks a very important event in the History of Pakistan as on this day the Constitution of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan framed by the National Assembly elected directly by the people on the basis of adult franchise comes into force.
It was on 14 August, 1947 that Pakistan—the land of the pure - was created. Before that date it had formed part of British India, now known as South Asian Sub-Continent. The 400 million inhabitants of the Sub-Continent had never been one single nation. They really consisted of two major distinct nations, 300 million Hindus and 90 million Mus-lims, who had lived there side by side for many centuries but who never merged into each other in spirit or in outlook. In the beginning, Muslims and Hindus struggled together to throw off the British yoke and win independence, but, on seeing that the Hindus, who outnumbered the Muslims, were not prepared to show a spirit of tolerance and to provide adequate safe-guards for the Muslims, the latter decided to launch a movement for a separate Muslim State. At the annual session of Muslim League held in Allahabad in 1930 Dr. Mohammad Iqbal in his presidential address had conceived the establishment of a Muslim State in the Sub-Continent. Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, a prominent Muslim leader of India, who was disillu-sioned by the differences between Hindus and Muslims and had temporarily settled down in London, was persuaded to return and take up the cause of the Indian Mus-lims. This leader who later came to be known as the Quaid-i-Azam (The great leader) organised that Muslim League as a mass organisation of the Indian Muslim. On 23 March, 1940, the ‘Pakistan Resolu-tion’ was passed at the annual session of the All-India Muslim League at Lahore.
Henceforth the establishment of a separate Muslim State, in which Muslims could live according to their distinct way of life, was the political destination of the Mus-lims of India. The elections of 1946, gave the Muslim League a resounding electoral victory which proved, beyond any doubt, that “Pakistan Resolution” expressed the will of Muslims of India. On 18 July 1947, the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act laying down that from 15 August, 1947, two independent domi-nions shall be set up in India to be known as India and Pakistan. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah lived to see the realisation of the goal, for which he had fought for over a quarter of a century.
It is to his sincere leadership and undaunted courage and to the unflinching devotion of the Muslims of India that we have the freedom we enjoy today.
On the establishment of Pakistan on 14 August, 1947 the Quaid-i-Azam became the first Governor-General of Pakistan.
Pakistan came into being under very adverse circumstances and, as a European writer remarked, “the new-born baby was thrown with its swaddling into a raging river.” That it survived the initial shock and disorder was entirely due to the innate good sense of the people, and their dedica-tion to the difficult task of making Pakistan viable state under the fostering care of one of the greatest leaders among the Muslims of the 20th century. His dedi-cated lieutenants, the civil services, the army and the new industrialists deserve all praise for this. But, as time passed on, particularly after the death of Quaid-e-Azam, cracks began to appear in the national edifice. Dedication and patriotism gradually gave place to pursuit of power, prestige and wealth. Corruption and nepotism ate into the very vitals of the society, and slowed down the process of reconstruction and nation building. Politi-cal leaders isolated themselves from the mainstream of the masses from whom they had derived their representative character and politics became a profession of a few individuals and families. Economic and social growth began to deviate drastically from the goals, which the Father of the Nation had set before us.
The erosion of democracy in Pakistan and the disgraceful exploitation of the poor by the rich and of the weak by the strong led to the imposition of Martial Law in 1958 by Mr. Iskandar Mirza, the then Governor-General, who assumed the office of the President and appointed General Mohammad Ayub Khan as the Chief Martial Law Administrator. This imposi-tion of Martial Law was only a variant of Fascism through the agency of the army. Soon after the imposition of Martial Law, General Mohammad Ayub Khan ousted Mr. Iskandar Mirza and himself assumed the office of the President. It was natural that, with the passage of time, this military regime degenerated into mis-rule by a clique of political adventurists who were motivated by their own selfish interests alone. When people rose against political repression and economic exploitation and General Ayub Khan had no choice but to quit, he handed over power to the then Commander-in-Chief, Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan on 25th March, 1969. The story of Pakistan from this date to 20th December, 1971 is too tragic and painful and too well-known to be repeated. General Yahya Khan was finally compelled on 20th December, 1971 to transfer power to Mr. Zulfiqar All Bhutto, the Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, who had won the support of the masses in the general elections of December, 1970. The new President with his characteristic energy, astute knowledge of the international Cross-currents, complete awareness of the potentiality of his people and his country’s resources, set about to salvage what was left of Pakistan which had been the dream and the hope of millions of people, and initiated many reforms of far-reaching implications.
After twenty six years today, the nation gets the first permanent constitu-tion, framed under the inspiring leadership of Mr. Zulfiqar All Bhutto and passed by the directly elected representatives of the people. This is the beginning of a new era of hope and promise, of a democratic government answerable to the people, of the end of exploitation of man by man.