August 14: Celebrate for what?

Published: August 14, 2012

Respect the anthem to remind yourself that the anthem is a promise that this is the land of the pure and that this promise has not been kept. It has not been kept by our leaders, our elders, our peers and even by us. PHOTO: REUTERS

A cricketing hero in his capacity as the brand ambassador of a mobile network company is telling the youth of this nation that,

“Kion kay ajj agar hum dobara jhanday lehrana shuru kardain toh yaqeenan jhanday garna bhi shuru kerdain gay”

(If we start waving our flags today  then definitely we will once against start hoisting our flags every where.)

An advertisement well-made indeed.

Good drama that touches that ever so sensitive and emotional patriotic chord in our hearts, making us believe that just by being Pakistanis we are the greatest nation in the world. I was even tempted to buy another mobile connection just for texting ‘Happy Independence Day’ till I realised how shallow was that message.

Every country got the chance to wave its flag at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics 2012 and we all know that the athletes who managed for their flags to be hoisted as they stood on the winners’ stand were the ones who put in hard work day in day out, who showed dedication 365 days of the year and who were backed by national sporting bodies which kept national pride and interest at heart at all times since Beijing 2008 games.

None of them was a Pakistani! It is not just sports we have lagged behind in for so long, we have also become a sad excuse for a sovereign nation.

A corrupt government, a weak and politicised notion of rule of law which apparently hinges on the existence of one man in the Supreme Court, a deteriorating economy, a polarised society and every religious occasion being less of a harmonious event and more of an excuse for putting the security in the country on red alert. However, there is still an ever swelling arsenal of nuclear bombs so, bravo! (that was sarcasm just to be clear).

I don’t intend to spoil the festive mood but I do not get why we celebrate August 14 as if we didn’t get freedom 65 years ago but got it last year. Is it perhaps because as a society we haven’t progressed but regressed with every passing year? With the flag hoisting ceremonies, the flag marches and the flamboyant ad campaigns of multi-national companies all aim at getting the youth charged up about a day which actually marks the anniversary of our collective failure as a nation.

Stand up for the anthem and hoist the flag but do it not to mark independence unless we take pride in being ignorant morons. Do it to remind yourself that the anthem is a promise that this is the land of the pure and that this promise has not been kept. It has not been kept by our leaders, our elders, our peers and even by us.

Every gang rape victim, every acid attack victim, every Hazara’s murder, every Ahmadi living in fear, and every Hindu framed under the blasphemy law are just a few things to name that hinder my heart from wanting to celebrate.

Every mother selling her children out of poverty, every father committing suicide after failing to provide for his family, every madrassa preaching a narrow and conservative notion of Islam is what stops me.

Every school preaching a westernised notion of what culture and religion should be, every news channel exploiting the misery of the people and desensitising viewers, every private car with an MPA and MNA plate, are things that have weakened my faith in celebration.

Moreover, every elected representative with a fake degree, every student who cannot afford quality education, every patient who cannot afford health facilities, every mall which charges an entry fee so it can filter out different sections of society; all create a heap of reasons for me to be in no festive mood today.

Every imposter who is celebrated by the media as a religious guru and the fact that I just wrote these ills at the top of my head right now, remind me that I should not fool myself with the August 14 celebrations which instil in our minds a fabricated notion of pride.

Just reading the examples given above highlight to me how far we actually are  from being a civilised society. Mark your freedom when you can respect the freedom of your fellow Pakistanis and enjoy your rights with pride when the same are available to your fellow countrymen. Observe this day as a reminder that we all have a duty to fulfill.

Let us be Pakistan, before we celebrate Pakistan.

Follow Jibran on Twitter @MJibranNasir


Jibran Nasir

A lawyer and civil and political rights activist. He is the co-founder of Elaj Trust, Pakistan For All and Never Forget Pakistan. He tweets @MJibranNasir (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Abdullah khan

    Yes Why we celebrate the National Day?. This question create in mind many Questions also. Why we are performing prayer Because we don’t Understand what is the meaning of the words we are saying in prayers Specially The Quran. We call and have faith that its the words of Allah Message Send to us through A messenger but we don’t understand the message than why we are performing nimaz celebrates Eids. Respecting and obeying it. (Some peoples are also saying “why we are following the Arabs Tradition and culture) Because it was believed by our forefathers and they told us these are the prayer times and on these celebrate Eids. So our forefathers also told us To celebrate 14 Aug As Pakistan. And this is the Whole Story.Recommend

  • Parvez

    I salute you for having the good sense to say what actually needs to be said, especially today the 14th of August. Recommend

  • Faisal

    Jis thaali mein khaana ussi mein chhed karna It’s unfortunate that these kind of people always keep trying to spoil every occasion of solidarity when the whole nation is celebrating it’s independence day by putting their differences apart, can’t you just keep quiet for just one day??Recommend

  • Multan

    Words from Heart!!!!Recommend

  • M. Amir bhatti

    Dear jibran sb,

    I strongly endorse your point of view, there is lot to be done yet before we celebrate Independence. This message needs to be circulated widely across the country.


  • GhostRider

    Spoke my mind Jibs… Recommend

  • Marium

    You wrote this blog with a lot of pain. Truly feels like you wish you didn’t have to. We all can hope and pray that the people of Pakistan can rise and make a difference to all what you mentioned in your article. Recommend

  • Eesha Muneeb

    Well written. I can also foresee that there will be many comments blasting you for being cynical, listing out our accomplishments, long winded paragraphs about how you need an attitude check. However, what you have written is the truth, and a very direct and simple version of the truth. Very few people can do that, because almost none of them are praised for it, and almost all of them are brought down to the extent that they start questioning why they did it in the first place.

    It is possible to be positive while recognizing our failures. Not easy, but possible. Recommend

  • Iqra.N

    Exactly my thoughts yesterday. Celebrate what? I wish people could read more of what is written up there. This is a very thought provoking piece of work. And as you said.. Pakistani’s should mark their freedom when they can respect the freedom of their fellow Pakistanis and then enjoy the rights with pride when the same are available to their fellow countrymen. May Allah give guidance and sensibility to all Pakistanis. AmenRecommend

  • Asjad Khan

    The only thing that this article missed was a big ONE i.e. Our Army’s role :)Recommend

  • mik

    A good article on ET after a long time. I believe that we must celebrate the independence day so that we could remember our goals as a nation. Everything you written is right.Recommend

  • Waqas

    you’ve done the easier part: whining, complaining. come up with a solution Mr. Jibran.Recommend

  • haseeb uddin


  • derpton

    @Faisal: Umm you can keep your eyes closed..Recommend

  • Sana

    Wat a disappointing article, full of pessimism. If not for ANYTHING else ..just celebrate it realising the fact that u r not a helpless refugee in anyother state, that u r not a passport less person wandering on different airports , begging for them to take u in. I dont think i know anyother nation that mourns the independence day except Pakistanis.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    I’ve never heard Americans saying we will not celebrate the 4th of July because we caused so much destruction across the globe, or that America is a country with the highest number of rape or drug users. Negativity has always been the more attractive option for people who do not want to fight another day! Recommend

  • ali

    We must celebrate the independent day but it is not a time. Same situation which we faced before independent is not different today. Recommend

  • umer

    “Let us be Pakistan, before we celebrate Pakistan” indeed.
    Fantastic article !!!Recommend

  • Mohammad Jibran Nasir

    @Asjad Khan: the reference to our ever increasing nuclear arsenal given how the country has so many other problems to focus on was a subtle jab at our Army. Just to be clear, I have all the respect for our soldiers but it is the executive arm of the Army which continues to disappoint. Recommend

  • Mohammad Jibran Nasir


    If the real message of my blog did not come through the first time I would like to refer you to the last two sentences of the blog. In any case, thank you for the feedback. Recommend

  • longchamp outlet

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  • kinza

    well expressing the question mark on the confused nation’s faces!!Recommend

  • M. Ali

    An independent state is an independent state regardless if the country has progressed or not…We celebrate Independence day not of what Pakistan is today but on the fundamentals it was created on…..the world is in a state of recession should we give up and start writing blogs that we are heading in the wrong direction?? Independence day is supposed to give us hope motivate us and make us strive to make Pakistan a better place….no matter what happens all of us will always be Pakistani and that is something we should not be ashamed off.

    In the end I would like to point out no county is a perfect sate so should the world not take pride in where they belong?Recommend

  • HomePage

    Your articles were so good. After browsing your blog???I have benefited greatly~~~~Hope you can create more splendid works~~ have a good content of articles~~~so that we can often browse them~~~~.Recommend

  • Raw is War

    good article.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    August 14th is the day Pakistan changed the color of its rulers from white to khakiRecommend

  • akhtar ali

    The Express Tribune Reported last week that Talat Husain Said the BLOGGER are not Jouranalist than who are You?Recommend

  • Ali

    Express tribune last week that Talat Hussain Said Blogger are not journalist. Tha who are they?Recommend

  • Hindu Indian

    @Author : I know the things are going bad, that doesnt mean you lose hope. I am sure things will improve when you work together. All the best and Happy Independence dayRecommend

  • Big Rizvi

    The author’s feelings are almost as same as mine.Recommend

  • Saleema