Pakistan is celebrating its 69th Independence Day with big celebrations across the country. CPSC wishes its Pakistani colleagues a warm and auspicious commemoration of this event.
Independence Day is observed annually on 14 August, is a national holiday in Pakistan, commemorating the day when Pakistan achieved independence and was declared a sovereign nation, following the end of the British Raj in 1947. Pakistan came into existence as a result of the Pakistan Movement; the Pakistan Movement aimed for creation of an independent Muslim state by division of the north-western region of the South Asia and was led by All-India Muslim League under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The event was brought forth by the Indian Independence Act 1947 in which the British Indian Empire gave independence to the Dominion of Pakistan (later the Islamic Republic of Pakistan) which included the West Pakistan (present Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
In the Islamic calendar, the day of independence coincided with Ramadan 27, the eve of which is regarded as sacred by Muslims. The main ceremony takes place in Islamabad, where the national flag is hoisted at the Presidential and Parliament buildings, which is followed by the national anthem, and live televised speeches by leaders. Usual celebratory events this day include flag-raising ceremonies, parades, cultural events, and the playing of patriotic songs. A number of award ceremonies are often held on this day, and citizens often hoist the national flag atop their homes or display it prominently on their vehicles and attire.
The Independence Day is one of the six public holidays observed in Pakistan and is celebrated all over the country. To prepare and finalize the plans for Independence Day celebrations, meetings are held in the provincial capitals by local government which are attended by government officials, diplomats, and politicians. As the month of August begins, special stalls and shops are set up across the country for the sale of national flags, buntings, banners and posters, pictures of national heroes, and other celebratory items. Vehicles, private buildings, homes, and streets are decorated with the national flag and buntings. Various organizations, educational institutions, and government departments organize seminars, sports competitions, and social and cultural activities leading up to the Independence Day. In Karachi, drives are initiated to clean and prepare the Mazar-e-Quaid (Jinnah Mausoleum) for the celebration.
The day begins with special prayers for integrity, solidarity, and development of Pakistan in mosques and religious places across the country. The official festivities take place in Islamabad and commence with the raising of the national flag on the Parliament House and the Presidency followed by a 31-gun salute in the capital and a 21-gun salute in provincial capitals. The President and Prime Minister of Pakistan address the nation in live telecasts. Government officials and other political leaders deliver speeches during various rallies and events highlighting Pakistani achievements, goals set for the future, and praise the sacrifices and efforts of national heroes. National flags are displayed on Shahrah-e-Faisal, Shahara-e-Quaideen, and Mazar-e-Quaid Road leading up to the Jinnah's mausoleum in Karachi. Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, where Pakistan Resolution was passed in 1940, is fully illuminated on the eve of the Independence Day to signify its importance in the creation of Pakistan.
Citizens attending Independence Day parades and other events are usually dressed in Pakistan’s official colors, green and white. Various government buildings including the Parliament House, Supreme Court, and President House are decorated and illuminated with lights and bright colors. Streets and houses are decorated with candles, oil lamps and pennants, national flag as well as firework shows occur as a part of celebration. Along with flag hoisting, the national anthem is sung at various government places, schools, residences, and monuments on the day. Homage is paid to the people who lost their lives in migration and riots during the independence of Pakistan in 1947, martyrs of Pakistan Army and recipients of Nishan-e-Haider, political figures, and famous artists and scientists.
A change of guard takes place at national monuments. In the cities around the country, the flag hoisting ceremony is carried out by the nazim (mayor) belonging to the respective constituency and at various private organizations the ceremony is conducted by a senior officer of that organization. The Pakistani diaspora also celebrates Independence Day in various countries throughout the world, especially in countries which have large Pakistani communities.
According to the Daily Times (2015), the cultural institutions of the capital have planned a number of activities to hold colorful programs for celebrating the forthcoming Pakistan’s Independence Day.
Islamabad’s leading art and cultural institutions, Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage Lok Virsa will hold events of national level engaging youth in various activities.
While private art galleries, educational institutions and performing art institutions will also arrange a variety of programs to celebrate the day in befitting manner. According to detail, the programs will focus on serving the people as informative entertainment through visual narration of historical moments of the Pakistan Movement and the struggle of freedom fighters. An official of PNCA said that PNCA would hold a weeklong activity in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, National Heritage and Integration.
The programs include movie screening on life of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah, mega cultural show, puppet show, children participation, art exhibition, song and speech competitions, and drama. He said the competitions and shows of national songs, patriotic melodies, speeches and tableaus will engage the students to participate in the activities and show their talent as well as highlight the sacrifices of national heroes. The government and private buildings will be decorated with national flags, colorful lights on the Independence Day.
He appreciated the warm and welcoming nature of the people and leaders of the UAE and said: “The people and government of Pakistan love, admire and respect their highnesses and the people of UAE.”
Commenting on the Pakistani community in the UAE, Malik said: “The Pakistani community across all emirates has evolved into the dynamic community it is today. We have highly skilled professionals, doctors, bankers, and successful businessmen working and making positive contribution to the society, while at the same time earning a living for themselves. This has become possible due to their hard work as well as the opportunities that were provided to them by the visionary policies of the government of the UAE.”
- Bahria University (2014). 14 August Pakistan Independence Day. Retrieved on August 10 from http://www.bahria.edu.pk/14-august-pakistan-independence-day/
- Wikipedia (2015). Independence Day, Pakistan. Retrieved on August 10, 2015 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(Pakistan)
- The Daily Times (3 August, 2015). “Independence Day celebrations: PNCA to inculcate patriotic values among youth”. Retrieved on August 10, 2015 from: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/islamabad/03-Aug-2015/independence-day-celebrations-pnca-to-inculcate-patriotic-values-among-youth