H.E. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Message on the occasion of 66th Independence Day of Pakistan
I wish to extend heartiest felicitations to all the Pakistanis living within the country and abroad on the auspicious occasion of 66th Day of Independence.
Falling in the holy month of Ramzan, it is the most important date in our national calendar. On this day in 1947 our long and hard struggle for independence against foreign domination was crowned with success and a new state was born wherein we could fashion our lives and destiny in accordance with our culture, values and aspirations. On this day our heads bow in gratitude before Allah and we are beholden to our founding fathers who under the leadership of the Quaid achieved a separate homeland for us.
While it is natural to rejoice today in our independence celebrations, it is also an occasion to pause and ponder over whether we have moved towards or away from the ideals for which Pakistan was created.
Our founding fathers envisioned Pakistan as a country where democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law would reign supreme. It was envisaged to be a country where the power of the ballot, and not bullet, will determine the political choices of the people. Countless lives were sacrificed for the achievement of these ideals including that of the country’s first directly elected Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Muslim world’s first elected woman Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
Unfortunately, for most part of our independent existence the people were often denied right to rule and the Constitution repeatedly abrogated. It is reassuring that the present Parliament unanimously restored to a large extent the democratic Constitution of 1973. The restoration of the Constitution by all political forces and provinces raises our hope that despite setbacks we will revert to our true bearings and restore to Pakistan the values and ideals for which it was created. However, the people and the Parliament must also be watchful against new forms of assaults on the Constitution and the Parliament.
Let us on this day rededicate ourselves to the democratic ideals and principles of the Quaid. Adherence to the principle that political choices must be made by ballot, and not imposed through bullet, demands that we banish from our midst all forms of bigotry, extremism and militancy.
On this day I wish to call upon everyone to work together for the strengthening of democracy, empowerment of the people and for a progressive, tolerant, moderate and modern Pakistan as envisioned by our great leaders.