The last month

Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
Friday, Dec 16, 2022

Traditionally, as soon as December, the last month of the Gregorian calendar, starts in Europe and Western countries, preparations for Christmas begin to gain momentum.

Retailers offer special discounts on their products so that every segment of society can participate in the celebrations of Christmas on December 25. However, in our country, during holy months and festivals such as Ramazan and Eid, the prices of essential commodities are increased exponentially, leaving ordinary people unable to afford them.

December 25 is also the birth date of our beloved leader and the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Pakistan observes a public holiday on this day to pay tribute to him. History teaches us that when a nation is in crisis, it produces selfless and sincere leaders who prove to be the nation’s saviour due to their iron determination and courage.

The greatness, high character and principles of Quaid-e-Azam, who was born on December 25, 1876, were also recognized by his opponents. Quaid-e-Azam, also known as the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, is highly regarded by patriotic non-Muslim communities in Pakistan.

December is also associated with severe cold and time of separation. In literature, the month represents sadness and depressed feelings. In our 75-year-long national history, several heartbreaking tragedies took place in December.

The political instability that emerged soon after the creation of Pakistan paved the way for a decade of military dictatorship. The 10-year tenure of Ayub Khan is often termed as the golden decade. However, in December 1965, a devastating tragedy destabilized Pakistan. The cyclone that arose from the Bay of Bengal caused immense destruction in former East Pakistan. Countless houses were destroyed and approximately 15,000 people lost their lives. The tragic devastation and the subsequent sense of helplessness created mistrust in the eastern part of the country at a large scale.

The 1970 national elections, held in December, resulted in increasing misunderstanding, mistrust and distances between the two parts of Pakistan. And finally, one year later on December 16, 1971, East Pakistan re-emerged as a new sovereign state of Bangladesh on the world map.

On December 16, 2014, the annual ceremonies observing the tragedy of East Pakistan had not even started when terrorists attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar. Reportedly, 149 innocent people, including 132 young children, were martyred. It was such a terrible tragedy that I am still having difficulty expressing more about it. I have firm faith that those innocent children have attained the highest rank in heaven, while the attackers and their facilitators will never ever escape the wrath of God.

On December 27, 2008, Pakistan lost a great leader, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, who was targeted by terrorists after she addressed to a public gathering in Rawalpindi. Undoubtedly, Mohtarma was truly a symbol of the federation of Pakistan and a manifestation of the aspirations of the people. She was equally popular in every part of the country. Being the first female prime minister of the Muslim world, she firmly believed in parliamentary politics and faced many challenges and hurdles during her struggle, but never ever thought of attacking national institutions and sabotaging the democratic process.

Two years ago on December 30, 2020, some extremists stormed the samadhi of Shri Param Hansji Maharaj and the adjacent Teri temple located in District Karak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Such disturbing news created panic and a sense of insecurity among a large number of followers residing in Pakistan and abroad. However, due to the timely action of the Supreme Court, the glory of the samadhi/temple has been restored and the negative elements have finally been defeated.

I sincerely pray that the month of December this year may pass well and the sun of the new year rises with new joys and hopes for the country and the nation.

The writer is a member of the

National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

He tweets @RVankwani