ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is celebrating its 71st Independence Day on Tuesday with patriotic zeal and fervor as well as the second consecutive democratic transition of power in the country’s history.
“I want all Pakistanis to celebrate 14th August, our Independence Day, with full fervor — especially as we are now moving toward Naya (new) Pakistan and reclaiming Jinnah’s vision Insha’Allah (God willing),” Pakistan’s incoming Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted.
The Islamic Republic’s Independence Day will begin with gun salutes in the federal capital, Islamabad, and in all four provincial capitals. The festivities will also include special seminars, the showing of documentaries and music and painting exhibitions.
The nation will also pay homage and respect to Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah — the founder of Pakistan — at his mausoleum in Karachi. Special prayers for the progress and prosperity of the country will also be offered.
To add color to the festivities, vendors have set up stalls across the country selling the country’s green and white flags, shirts, badges and balloons. Both young and old alike are buying these things to show their deep and sincere patriotism.
“We are excited to celebrate our Independence Day and hope the incoming government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will do something extraordinary to make us a proud nation,” Zulfiqar Ali, 53, told Arab News as he bought national flags from a stall in Islamabad.
He said that Pakistan’s forefathers sacrificed their lives for a “great mission of independence from British rule” and it is now time to work hard to make it stronger and more invincible.
Shazia Qambar, a teacher who is filling classrooms with national flags and posters with messages of the importance of independence in an upscale area of the federal capital, said that each year, teachers try to educate their students through fun and games about the significance of the country’s independence day.
“This year we are arranging a national song competition among our students on the school’s premises, besides screening some documentaries about the struggle of our ancestors to get a separate homeland,” she told Arab News.
On Independence Day, all important public and private buildings in Islamabad and all four provincial capitals are also illuminated with different colors and lights.
Pakistan’s Parliament is also being illuminated to mark the country’s 71st Independence Day and 329 newly-elected lawmakers took the oath of office on Monday and vowed to work for the country’s betterment.
“This day reminds us of the unforgettable struggles and sacrifices made by our forefathers for the coming generations to live in freedom,” outgoing National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said in a message after administering the oath to the new legislators.
He said that the day was one of pride for the Pakistani nation and is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm. “Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah entrusted us with a sacred trust to transform Pakistan into a citadel of peace and a model for all other nations,” he said.
“We should rethink our plans, our actions, and their outcomes for forging synergies in the best interest of our country and raising Pakistan to new heights of development,” he added.
Intellectuals and political analysts believe that Pakistan can emerge as a developed nation on the world map only if all its citizens work together for the development of the downtrodden and poor.
“The key to progress of any country is quality education and the rule of law,” Professor Tahir Malik, political analyst and academic, told Arab News.
He said the incoming government should utilize all available resources for human development and the promotion of science and technology in order to turn Pakistan into a knowledge economy.
“On this important day, we should also commemorate the sacrifices of our valiant soldiers and countrymen who laid down their lives to defend the motherland,” he added.
Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, a political analyst, said that Pakistan enjoyed a unique geographical location in the region and had played a positive role in world peace and stability.
“The entire nation is now looking to the forthcoming democratic government for political and economic prosperity in the country,” he told Arab News, “We should also pledge on this Independence Day to fight the social evils prevailing in the country.”