President Asif Ali Zardari urged the nation to rebuild Pakistan in accordance with the dreams and vision of the great visionary and poet of east, Allama Muhammad Iqbal.


In his message on the 135th birth anniversary of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, he said that this could best be done by understanding Islam in the light of his teachings and refusing to abandon the interpretation of Islamic thought to any individual or group.


This indeed is the best tribute we can pay to Allama Iqbal today. The thought that instantly comes to one’s mind today is that if we are living as a free and independent nation it is because of the vision of the great visionary and poet philosopher of the South Asian subcontinent Allama Muhammad Iqbal.


Indeed we are indebted to the teachings of that great intellectual and thinker who not only first propounded the idea of a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent but also taught us the value of imbibing a spirit of free enquiry and debate for forward movement in human thought.


Apart from giving us the idea of Pakistan, Iqbal fired the imagination of Muslims with the true message and spirit of religion. He boldly challenged the stereotypes, refused to accept the monopoly of interpretation of religion and articulated the pristine message of Islam.


Never before the need for understanding was Iqbal’s message of Islam as great as it is today. It is because in the country envisioned by him, Islam has been ruthlessly exploited by extremists and fanatics seeking to impose their political and ideological agenda on the people through force behind the facade of religion.


Not long ago dictators in Pakistan used Islam to perpetuate themselves in power; today the extremists are exploiting the name of religion for the same purpose. We can defeat the militant’s ideology by propagating Iqbal’s message of Islam.