March 23, which is celebrated as “Pakistan Day”, is seeing a tug of war between liberals and hawks on what the occasion stands for.
Former Pakistani Senator Farhatullah Babar, in a tweet, said: “Originally March 23 was ‘Republic Day’ to celebrate Pakistan becoming a republic, adopting 1st Constitution in 1956. Pride in democracy. During fist military rule in 1958 it was changed to ‘Pakistan Day’ to showcase military might. Hollow sound & fury no substitute to democracy.”
There have also been calls to postpone the military parade in the times of Covid.
Babar was countered by Rozina Khan on twitter. “@FarhatullahB It’s not actually dispute of date 23rd March its propaganda against Pak Army, the same language of Indian’s interest. Every Pakistani feels proud at this day to show the power of Pakistan to the world.”
Sindhi activists have declared they will expose the “fake Pakistan history” and demand freedom.
Zafar Sahito tweeted: “Pakistan with his fake history have manipulated everyone. 23rd March is celebrated as ‘Pakistan Day’, when in 1940 there was no Pakistan. We r going to start social media campaign on 23rd March as Twitter trend #SindhWantsFreedom to expose Pak fake history & demand our freedom.”
Sahito says there was there was no Pakistan in 1940 while announcing a Free Sindh programme.
Adding to the 23 March debate this year is the cancellation of a conference on the 1971 war in Lahore University. “
Cancellation of LUMS conference on 1971 War is tragic. Universities should be free to debate issues. Whoever thinks we need conferences on other important issues (Kashmir or Modi policies) is free to organize one. Silencing of critical voices is the reason we are in this mess,” Waqqas Mir tweeted.
Hassan Javid suggested that holding such a conference on 23 March is not appropriate.
“Some people have suggested that 23 March – the day Pakistan became a republic after the adoption of its first constitution in 1956 – is an inappropriate date on which to hold a conference on 1971 and the events that led to the independence of Bangladesh,” he said.
Umar slammed the “Left-Liberals” for their agenda to cancel the parade. “A few days ago our liberal-left started the debate against the 23rd March and built a case against the military parade.
“Now on ‘Pakistan day’, LUMS planned to *commemorate* Bangladesh liberation war. Of course, there is no agenda only an academic debate being held on 23rd March,” he said.
(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached on Sanjeev.email@example.com)