In three days, Pakistan will celebrate its 76th Independence Day. However, I am unsure if we have much to celebrate even after three quarters of a century since the British left the country. Developing a large army and amassing weapons, including nuclear ones, doesn’t equate to progress by any measure. If that were the case, North Korea would be highly advanced and prosperous. It appears that all our efforts have been focused on countering the external threat from India.
Moreover, our achievements seem to be few and far between. Our rail system is in a state of disrepair, possibly in the worst condition since the British handed it over to us in 1947. Every few years, accidents result in the loss of precious lives, and we still struggle to maintain a decent rail track system. Similarly, not only is PIA perpetually incurring losses, but it also has a poor safety record. The steel mills project never took off, and while our neighbouring rival India is making strides in space exploration, our space agency has weather satellites as its primary accomplishment.
When I observe India and Bangladesh, I see countries grappling with similar issues of corruption, extremism, intolerance, and religious prejudice. Yet they have managed to progress because their democratic systems function with continuity and state institutions do not exceed their boundaries. I believe that until we establish democratic continuity without institutional interference, merely raising flags and showcasing weaponry on March 23rd will not lead us far.