75 Years of Pakistan
Celebrating achievements, determining steps forward

IAF Alumni from Pakistan, annual gathering Oct 2022, Lahore

IAF Alumni from Pakistan, annual gathering Oct 2022, Lahore

© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom- Pakistan

We lit 75 Charaghs (lamps) of hope, democratically counted seventy-five achievements of resilient Pakistaniat during 1947-2022 and agreed on twenty-five vital steps to be taken to make Pakistani centenary in 2047 much more meaningful for the fifth populous country in the world.

This different way of celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Pakistan was the hallmark of 20th FreedomGate Pakistan Alumni at the serene and calm Country Club, Muridke. The timing coincided with chaotic politics in the country that were characterized by long-marches, roadblocks and lock downs. However, a cohort of undeterred Pakistani Liberal opted to apply their mind and creativity to figure out the ways forward for their country.    

Surprisingly, while counting the seventy-five achievements of Pakistan, majority of the FreedomGaters at the event considered the Constitution of 1973 and 18th Amendment as the most significant achievements during the last 75 years. Moreover, for next 25 steps forward majority voted for ‘quality education’ to nurture best human capital for the future of Pakistan. Adherence to the constitution is the real way forward for Pakistan and who else can do this better than the well-educated citizens endowed with broader perspectives and equipped with skills of creative and critical thinking.

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Since 1995, hundreds of Freedom Gators hailing from fields like, civic sector, academia, politics, parliament and enterprise, etc. have had the opportunity to learn about these and numerous other liberal values through various activities, visit programs and trainings by Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom-Pakistan and at its International Academy for Leadership (IAF) in Gummersbach (Germany). The Liberal German foundation is working in Pakistan since 1986 on these ideas. FreedomGaters unwavering commitment to the core liberal values confirm that over the years a committed human capital has been nurtured through sustained efforts.

Annually the Foundation convenes FreedomGate Alumni meetings that epitomize a ‘mini-Pakistan’ as liberals from diverse professions and all federating units (Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and Federal Capital-Islamabad) and Gilgit-Baltistan participate in it. This mosaic brings unique enthusiasm, energy, experiences and expertise to discuss new ideas. At the end of the event, everybody is re-energized to contribute their bit towards societal improvements in their respective fields and communities.

Zafarullah Khan during the IAF Alumni gathering Oct 2022 , LHR

Author holding one of the 75 bricks symbolising 75 successes that IAF Alumni in Pakistan identified

© Friedrich Nauamann Foundation for Freedom - Pakistan

Ms. Birgit Lamm, Head of Country Office Pakistan inaugurated the event by welcoming the FreedomGaters. Extending her greetings on the diamond jubilee of Pakistan, she appreciated the resilience of Pakistanis and contributions made by FreedomGaters. She along with senior members of the alumni decorated seven new FreedomGaters with Blue Freedom Badge. Ms. Birgit Lamm and selected FreedomGaters from all federating units of Pakistan also cut a cake to mark the diamond jubilee of Pakistan.

On first day, Aamir Amjad, Senior Program Manager and Aniqa Arshad, Program Manager at Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom-Pakistan conducted an interactive activity ‘Getting to Know Each Other’. The activity helped cement the bonds of friendship among FreedomGaters and get a chance of networking on topics of mutual interest. The second day started with Ice Breaker facilitated by Anjbeen Soomro and Anas Niaz.

One prominent feature of the Alumni meeting is the showcasing of the working done by FreedomGaters. Mr. Muhammad Anwar, Head of Programs and Administration, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom-Pakistan moderated it. Asma Aamir, Ross Mahtani, Syed Amir Hameed and Farhan Anwar apprised about their work through Alumni Grants 2022. These small but significant projects on local government, minorities’ rights, water and women’s portrayal in books achieved good results in their respective communities. On this occasion, Mr. Farhan Anwar’s creative publication developed through this grant was also unveiled.

For 2023 grants, the FreedomGaters had an open space for pitching ideas. The next day World Café for Ideas 2023 was opened to advocate for ideas on Market Economy, Good Governance, Freedom of Information and Expression and Individual Rights. After democratic vote, five ideas were picked up on themes like Speaking about the Constitution, Freedom of Information and Expression, Cultivating Critical Thinking, Child Rights and Economics for Farmers.

‘Pakistan’s economic transformation 2.0: Poverty Alleviation and Creating Prosperity' Panel Discussion

‘Pakistan’s economic transformation 2.0: Poverty Alleviation and Creating Prosperity' Panel Discussion

© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom- Pakistan

The event also provided an opportunity for deep dive on the theme, ‘Pakistan’s economic transformation 2.0: Poverty Alleviation and Creating Prosperity.’ Mueen Batalay, CEO Think Build Scale Pvt Ltd. moderated the conversation. The panelists included Dr. Faisal Bari, Dean of the LUMS School of Education and Ali Khizar, Head of Research, Daily Business Recorder. The conversation led to a though provoking discussion. Quite amazingly, for economic prosperity besides other things ‘quality education’ and ‘contemporary skills’ were viewed as the essential pre-requisites. Quality Education was picked up as the most important step for next 25-year to make Pakistani century full of peace and prosperity.  

Besides intellectual feast, series of interactive activities and futuristic conversations another thrilling part of the meeting was Qawwali Night. The cultural night added additional colors to the excellent intellectual ambiance at the 20th FreedomGate Pakistan Alumni.

75 Years of Pakistan

75 Years of Pakistan - IAF Alumni Gathering , Muridke, LHR 2022

© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom - Pakistan

Quality Education was picked up as the most important step for next 25-year to make Pakistani century full of peace and prosperity.  

Zafarullah Khan