The Concept of IRL

On 14th August every year, we celebrate the Independence Day of Pakistan. It is to commemorate the efforts of our great leaders who risked everything to get an independent country where everyone is free to pursue their dreams, propagate and practice their religions, etc. However, just remembering them, being inspired by their efforts, and living in the past will do nothing. As Pakistanis, we need to learn the lessons from the great leaders of the past and become great leaders of the present and future.


Though it is hard to make decisions and take action due to the uncertainty of the outcomes, it is also necessary to learn the connection between independence, responsibility, and leadership. They are the three inter-connected terms, and all of them mean the same. As a part of 74th Independence Day Celebrations, Jibran Bashir Leadership Institute has introduced the concept of I.R.L where;

I = Independence

R = Responsibility

L = Leadership

A clear understanding of these three separate terms and their linkage is necessary. It should not be confused with the IRL used in literature, where it stands for In Real Life and is used to distinguish between the real and fictional world or real-world and online world.


The ability to take responsibility without relying on others is independence. If we individuate towards independence, then the responsibility of thoughts and actions must be recognized. Independence does not mean freedom from responsibilities, rather it is a sense of responsibility towards the vision and goals which makes an individual a leader.


The ability to recognize and be aware of one’s obligations is the sense of responsibility, and the duty to which an individual is obligated is the responsibility. It is the price of freedom and independence. Without awareness of responsibility, independence is a dangerous factor. If an independent person is not aware of the responsibilities of his own and does not work for the betterment of society, he/she might create disturbance for his own and others’ lives by using the blessing of independence in a wrong way.  


The sense of responsibility towards one’s obligations and carrying out those tasks by setting short-term goals to achieve the ultimate long-term vision with the voluntary involvement and followership of people is called Leadership. Independence is a crucial component of leadership because sometimes leaders have to make tough decisions that others do not want to make. 

Road to IRL

When an individual is independent, he/she is responsible for him/herself. If this sense of responsibility is recognized and actions are taken by involving other people, then this individual becomes a leader.

As an independent state, we as Pakistanis have responsibilities towards our country. If we fulfill our responsibilities as students, professionals, businesspersons, politicians, and keep the patriotism in our hearts alive, then in the next 74 years we will also be remembered as great leaders.

These responsibilities include the following;

  • We need to keep a keen eye on the working of the government that whether it is contributing towards education, health, and employment. 
  • We need to keep a keen eye on ourselves that what we as individuals are contributing towards the country for the betterment of the society and its people. Being a student, are we getting ourselves educated with ample knowledge to lead the country in the future. As parents, are we preparing this generation in a way that will brighten the future of the country? As professionals, are we serving the country on ethical standards and benefitting the country? As businesspersons, are we making contributions towards becoming renowned Pakistan Businesses?
  • We need to instill patriotism in this generation and keep it alive in hearts; so that everyone is motivated to serve Pakistan.


Conclusively, in the spirit of this Independence Day, we must recommit ourselves to our country and adopt the approach of IRL where the equation states:


We need to have all three with this combination as they go hand in hand. A true sense of independence is achieved if responsibility is recognized and leadership is depicted.

Author: Veera Salman
Research Associate

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