Such greatness by Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani

It was the Fourth of July in 1776 when thirteen North American colonies achieved independence from Great Britain by adopting the Declaration of Independence unanimously.The document, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, emphasized that: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This historic achievement eventually led towards transformation of the United Colonies into the United States, today’s only superpower.

Traditionally, different social gatherings and family events are being organized by Americans to demonstrate their unconditional love for the country. This year, the national day will be a little different with many states cancelling annual festivals due to the novel Covid-19 outbreak.

On many occasions, I have termed Pakistan and the US natural allies due to many common features, such as both countries have deep roots in democratic struggle. If the Americans are proud of the great personality of Abraham Lincoln then we feel honour for Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah who is known for principles, dignity, character and democracy. And the US was among those first countries who established diplomatic relations with Pakistan.

After Independence, Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, despite an invitation by the Soviet Union, decided to visit the US in order to establish cordial bilateral relations. Many elderly Pakistani citizens still remember the historical visit of US Vice President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. The friendship between the US president and Pakistani camel guy ‘Basheer Sarban’ is still regarded as the best example of public diplomacy.

Pakistani leadership, civilian or military, is always keen to boost bilateral relations with the US. Pakistan had also facilitated diplomatic relations between the US and China. On the other hand, whenever Pakistan faced crises of food shortage, the US came forward to provide a huge quantity of wheat. USAID also initiated many development cooperation programmes. Pakistani students were provided scholarships in the US universities as part of people exchange programmes. The Soviet invasion in Afghanistan further resulted in bringing the US and Pakistan closer. Both countries played a pivotal role in order to safeguard people of Afghanistan.

Although no Pakistani citizen was involved in the 9/11 tragedy, the unfortunate situation favoured some elements in their attempts to exploit the sentiments of people residing in both countries. It is an undeniable fact that around 70,000 Pakistani nationals have lost their lives due to terrorism, violence and extremism.

Most recently, the US State Department has issued its annual terrorism report, acknowledging the role of Pakistani military and security forces for countering terrorism. Ironically, it also criticized that Pakistan is still continuing to serve as a safe haven for certain terrorist groups that are targeting neighbouring countries, Afghanistan and India. The report is apparently prepared on the basis of anti-Pakistan propaganda and fabricated news reports. That’s why the Foreign Office has also shown disappointment on the selective and self-contradictory content.

In my view, the current US President Donald Trump is one of the unconventional politicians who used to express his views openly without any diplomatic twist. It is a matter of pride and dignity for every Pakistani that Trump, during his meeting with PM Imran Khan, had appreciated that Pakistan is a great country of great people.

Both sides should ensure that bilateral ties must not be sabotaged by non-state actors. There is also a dire need of carrying joint efforts against unwanted elements creating misunderstandings and mistrust.

On the occasion of the American Independence Day, I would like to congratulate the great nation of the US and hope that the US will once again revive its historical friendship with Pakistan.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani

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