Pakistanís Independence Day, which is annually held on August 14, celebrates the countryís independence from the British rule on that date in 1947. This day is an occasion to promote patriotism and national unity.

Background

The Indo-Pak subcontinent remained a British colony from 1849Ė1947. The subcontinentís inhabitants did not approve of the British rule in united India. An uprising that occurred in 1857 eventually formed the shape of a freedom movement, which exemplifies the efforts of the people of British India in gaining their independence.

Muslims ruled the subcontinent before the British incursion and suffered due to the 1857 uprising against the British East India Company. Leaders such as Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Syed Ameer Ali worked diligently for the Muslim peopleís political advancement.

The Indian National Congress was formed in 1885, which later on became British Indiaís largest political party. Major Muslim political leaders, including Muhammad Ali Jinnah, were members of the Indian National Congress and worked towards Hindu-Muslim unity and Indiaís independence.

The All India Muslim League was founded on December 30, 1906. There was growing demand for an independent Muslim state in India. In 1930 Muhammad Iqbal presented the idea of a separate Muslim state that would geographically consist of the Muslim majority areas in the subcontinent. The word Pakistan is a conjunction of two words Pak meaning Pure and Stan meaning Land, a name coined by Choudhary Rahmat Ali.

Strong Hindu nationalism gave birth to the Two Nation Theory, an ideology that is accredited as being the basis for Pakistanís creation. In 1940 the Pakistan Resolution was passed in Lahore demanding greater Muslim autonomy in British India.

After World War II, it was expected that the British colonies would soon disintegrate. The Pakistan Movement, spearheaded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, resulted in creating a Muslim state. Pakistan gained independence from the British rule on August 14, 1947. At its birth, Pakistan had two parts commonly referred to as East and West Pakistan. In 1971

East Pakistan parted from West Pakistan and became Bangladesh.

LANGUAGE IN PAKISTAN

Although Urdu is the only official language of Pakistan, English is the lingua franca of the

Pakistani elite and most of the government ministries, so it is not uncommon for companies to use English as their internal business language. Urdu is closely related to Hindi but is written in an extended Arabic alphabet. Urdu also has more loans from Arabic and Persian than Hindi has.

PAKISTANI CULTURE & SOCIETY

Religion & Beliefs: Muslim 97% (Sunni 77%, Shi'a 20%), Christian, Hindu, and other (inc. Sikh) 3%. Islam is practiced by the majority of Pakistanis and governs their personal, political, economic and legal lives. Among certain obligations for Muslims are to pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening. Friday is the Muslim holy day. Everything is closed. During the holy month of Ramadan all Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk and are only permitted to work six hours per day. Fasting includes no eating, drinking, cigarette smoking.

The Current Situation in Pakistan

Pakistanís political system is broken: its political parties are ineffective, functioning for decades as instruments of two families, the Bhuttos and the Sharifs, two clans, both corrupt. The Bhutto-Zardari axis may be considered "left leaning," while the Sharif brothers may be considered "right leaning." The Sharifs are much closer to Pakistan's military, and to Pakistan's Muslim fundamentalists. Punjabi, the Sharifs represent Pakistan's major ethnic bloc, and the devout Sunni Sharif has an advantage over theBhuttos, who have Shiite ties. Pakistan continues to face extraordinary challenges on the security and law enforcement front. The country has suffered greater military, law enforcement, and civilian casualties in fighting extremism and terrorism than almost any other country. In the midst of this difficult security situation, Pakistan's civilian government remains weak, ineffectual, and corrupt, so today every Pakistani is invited to pray for the welfare of Pakistan that it may become developed and peaceful country.

What Do People Do?

People all over Pakistan celebrate Independence Day with patriotic zest. Many people who attend the Independence Day parades dress up in green and white, which are the Pakistani flagís colors. People visit national monuments and places of national significance to celebrate Independence Day. This is also a time to meet relatives, exchange gifts and visit recreational spots.

Pakistanís national flag is hoisted on public, private buildings, residences and monuments at dawn. Official buildings, including Parliament House, are decorated and colorfully lit. The prime minister and president address and congratulate the nation and talk about the dayís significance. Streets and houses are decorated with candles, oil lamps and pennants. Firework shows are put together on the eve of Independence Day.

Pakistanís Independence Day also pays homage to people who devoted their lives for Pakistanís freedom movement and made sacrifices to attain Pakistanís independence. A change of guard takes place at national monuments, including the mausoleums of Muhammad Iqbal, who was a poet, philosopher, and politician, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who is considered by many as Pakistanís founder and Quaid-i-Azam (supreme leader).

Events held during the day include special theatre shows, national song competitions, concerts, and Independence Day pageants. Radio and television stations broadcast national songs and specially prepared Independence Day programs.

Public Life

Independence Day is an official holiday in Pakistan on August 14. All governmental, non-governmental offices, organizations, educational institutions, post offices, and major markets are closed.

Public transport remains unavailable on all major routes. Traffic congestion is common due to Independence Day parades.

Symbols

Green and white are Pakistanís official colors. White represents peace while green symbolizes prosperity and good fortune.

Many people dress in or use the colors green and white, which are Pakistanís official colors, during Pakistan's Independence Day.

Sr. Robina Victor (Gujrat - Pakistan)

9th August, 2017.

 

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