Citizen means full membership in a country. The word Citizenship comes from the Latin word “Civitas”, meaning citizens “United in a community”. Citizenship is still sometimes used for membership in some smaller unit, of government, such as a state, proviņce or city.
A person who holds the legal position of citizenship is called a citizen. A country grants certain rights to its citizens and demands certain duties from them.
A country offers its citizens protection when they are at home. A country and its citizens are not really separate. A country exists only when the people of a certain area are organized politically. Not all persons living under the same flag are citizens. Persons who are not citizens may be either aliens or non-citizen nationals. ‘Aliens’ are person tries who have not become citizens of their new countries, “Non-Citizen nationals” are persons who are not citizens of a country but owe allegiance to it. The government protects them, but they do not have the full privileges of citizens.
Rights and Duties:Citizenship involves both civic and political rights, as well as civic and political duties. The constitution of the country guarantees “civil rights” to all its citizens. A person possesses civic rights, such as the right to worship or pray as he pleases, from the day he is born. In return for these rights, each citizen owes allegiance to his country. It is his “civic duty” to support his government, obey its laws, and defend his country.
Only citizens have full political rights (the right to take part in the government). These rights have some limitations. A citizen under 18 years is not eligible to vote. Besides he should establish a permanent residence in order to vote. These restrictions in no way lessen the citizen’s civic and political duty to help elect officers of his government when he becomes eligible to vote.
Citizens can carry out their civic responsibilities in many ways besides voting. They can shape public opinion by using their freedom of speech and expressing their views on important issues. Young men may be called on to serve in the armed forces. Adults may serve on juries, become school board members or work for the political party of their choice.
Democratic government fails unless citizens show the same eagerness to serve their country that they expect the country to show in serving them. Schools should train citizens to accept their responsibilities.
Most schools have civic education programmes that emphasize citizenship activities. Students study current affairs, Pakistan history and Pakistan studies. They work together on projects to study such problems as environmental pollution.
Many private and public organizations promote citizenship education. They help citizens to get information about their government and encourage them to take part in the government. Many organizations train young women on how a government operates.
In fact, a state is known by its citizens. The state is an abstract idea whereas its citizens are concrete and tangible living beings. The citizens should take all those steps to improve the image of the country in the world.