Islamabad: Good evening and happy Fourth of July. I am delighted that you are celebrating with us today on the 235th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America.
In the United States, today is a day on which Americans gather with family and friends. It is a day for fun. But it is also a day for reflection.
On this day, Americans reaffirm the values that gave birth to, and have sustained, our nation for more than two centuries. And in doing so, we honour values that we believe are not unique to our people, but are the birthright of all men and women, everywhere and at all times. We believe, as our Declaration of Independence proclaimed to the world, that all men and women are created equal. We believe that among the inalienable rights of all people are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We believe that governments are just when they have the consent of the governed.
In recent months, we have been reminded powerfully that these values are not the exclusive property of one nation or culture. We have seen their enduring power, as people across the world stand up and risk their lives to claim the common birthright of all human beings to freedom, justice, and democracy. Americans are proud to stand with them.
Pakistan, like the United States, is a nation founded on visionary and universal ideals. The great founder of your nation, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, spoke eloquently of his vision of Pakistan. He said, “You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed; that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”
Today, as Americans honour the universal values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and remember those who have struggled and sacrificed to protect these values, let us also remember those patriotic Pakistanis who have given their lives to realize Jinnah’s dream of tolerance and freedom for all: Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Governor Salmaan Taseer, Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, journalist Saleem Shahzad, the men and women of Pakistan’s armed forces, and so many others throughout the years.
Our two nations are going through a rough patch in our relations. These times are a trial for us both. But I believe that although our nations may at times take divergent courses, we aspire toward common goals: peace, freedom, tolerance, and democracy. Our values make us more alike than different.
As President Obama has said, “Today, we face challenges that no single country can meet alone. We will only realize the security, prosperity, and opportunity that our peoples seek if we recognize the humanity we share and work together in common purpose.”
Today, as we come together to celebrate America’s birthday, let us all – Americans, Pakistanis, and guests from many countries – rededicate ourselves to the hard but necessary task of every generation: “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
Thank you for joining us in our celebration this evening, and have a very happy Fourth of July.
For more information, contact:
Public Affairs Section
U.S. Embassy, Islamabad- Pakistan
Cell: +92300 501 2640