By Muhammad Hamza Khan
LAHORE: Many developed countries have national history museums to exhibit and portray the heroes in the development of the country or their struggle for independence. The National History Museum at the Greater Iqbal Park phase II is a mega project, which would digitally present all aspects of Pakistan’s history.
Various segments of the museum would highlight the scenarios of the Pakistan Movement and its creation. Digital wall reflects and presents the salient features of the freedom movement and achievements of Pakistan since then. It is the first time in the national history that such a project had been initiated and completed within a record period of 14 months at the cost of Rs 300 million.
It is a tribute to Pakistan’s heroes of different decades. Of course, the credit goes to Punjab Chief MinisterShehbaz Sharif, who inaugurated the National History Museum, on April 17, 2018, as it is due to his vision and keen interest that this project has been completed. After the inauguration, the chief minister visited the museum and paid rich tributes to the heroes of the Pakistan Movement.
“National History Museum is a wonderful project of national importance which has revived the history. It’s a historical opportunity at the Greater Iqbal Park which will attract the tourists. The basic concept of freedom, struggle and the initial phase of the establishment of Pakistan have been depicted,” the chief minister said while talking on the occasion.
The Greater Iqbal Park is the historical place where the resolution for the establishment of Pakistan was passed in 1940, and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had formally launched the Pakistan Movement. People from across the Indian subcontinent, including Muslim and non-Muslim scholars, lawyers, labourers, players, poets as well as the womenfolk, had all gathered here on March 23, 1940.
The All India Muslim League resolution of March 1940, commonly known as the Pakistan Resolution, is undoubtedly the most important event that changed the course of Indian history and left deep marks on the world history. With the passage of this resolution, the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent changed their demand from the separate electorates to a separate state.
This resolution rejected the idea of a united India and the creation of an independent state was set as their ultimate goal. It gave new energy and courage to the Muslims of the region who waged the struggle for freedom under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam from the platform of the Muslim League. The dynamic leadership and the commitment and devotion of the followers made it possible for them to achieve an independent state within seven years of their struggle, and that too when the odds appeared against them.
On March 23, 1940, more than hundred thousand people had attended the inaugural session at the Minto Park (now the Iqbal Park). People had also come from remote provinces, which could have never become a part of Pakistan. People sacrificed their lives and property for the sake of a new country of their own. Lakhs of people migrated to Pakistan after leaving their businesses, properties and households behind. They went through painful miseries of traveling difficulties for a new homeland.
“The National History Museum is a reminder of this arduous human struggle and about the great sacrifices rendered by our forefathers. The people would also realise that we have achieved this piece of land after going through rivers of blood and toil. Lakhs of people came over to Pakistan with a dream of new life and they sacrificed their loved-ones for realising this dream. We should ask this question to ourselves as to how far objectives of creation of Pakistan have been truly achieved.”
Shehbaz Sharif said that many people have worked hard and there were also a number of people who have wasted the time. He lamented the loot and plunder of national resources in the past. “But we should now move forward by learning from it.” He said that the National History Museum gives an opportunity to have a glimpse of the past and it would also be a place of attraction for the tourists. He said that brick and mortar didn’t create new worlds but progress could be made by promoting science and technology and information technology.
America is now a global super power; Europe is also touching heights of development, while China has emerged as the second economic power in the world. The secret of their progress lies in promotion of the latest technology, provision of socio-economic justice and hard work. Pakistan has the necessary resources and capability to move forward with speed, as a major chunk of population is based on youth which is an engine of development.
The chief minister was optimistic that time would come when Pakistan will achieve a respectable place in the comity of nations as it is a gift of Almighty Allah. He also inaugurated the lake in the Greater Iqbal Park and appreciated that best boating facility has been provided for recreation. The people can witness the struggle for Pakistan in this park where recreation facilities, along with information and historical facts have been all provided.
Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited all sections of the history museum at the Greater Iqbal Park. He expressed his pleasure for projecting the freedom movement in a modern way and appreciated the performance of citizens of Pakistan, and authorities of different departments. Oscar award winning Pakistan filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy gave briefing to the chief minister regarding the Pakistan Movement in the museum.
The chief minister listened to the Pakistan Resolution through headphone. It would be appropriate to mention that in Greece and Rome, there are national museums that depict the history of more than 2500 years. In the US also, White Oak Museum houses an extensive collection of Civil War artifacts, representing both union and confederate troops. Most items were discarded or lost by troops camping or fighting in the Stafford County and Fredericksburg areas.
Displays will amaze the novice as well as the serious civil war buff – including replicas of soldier huts that were used as temporary housing during the winter months. Many civil war soldiers died of wounds and disease. To give proper remembrance to these brave soldiers, the White Oak Museum exhibits both military and personal items to honour the soldiers, from private to general, who suffered both in battle and behind the front lines.