Pakistan celebrates 71st Independence Day with zeal and fervor

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University of Karachi students celebrate with a large national flag ahead of the upcoming Independence Day in Karachi on August 13, 2018. (RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP)
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University of Karachi students celebrate with a large national flag ahead of the upcoming Independence Day in Karachi on August 13, 2018. (RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP)
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In this file photo taken on August 12, 2018 shows a building decorated with the Pakistani national flag and illuminated for the Pakistan’s Independence day in Lahore. (ARIF ALI/AFP)
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A man rides on a motorbike with a national flag ahead of the country’s Independence Day in Islamabad, Pakistan August 13, 2018. (FAISAL MAHMOOD/REUTERS)
Updated 14 August 2018

Pakistan celebrates 71st Independence Day with zeal and fervor

  • The day was marked by a 31-gun salute in the federal capital with special prayers for peace and progress in the country
  • National flag is hoisted at all important public and private buildings across the country

Pakistan is celebrating its Independence Day today with patriotic zeal and fervor. The day began with special prayers for peace and progress in the country, and a 31-gun salute in the federal capital, Islamabad.
Early in the morning, the national flag was hoisted at all important public and private buildings. The day-long festivities include special seminars, documentaries, music and painting exhibitions.
The nation also paid homage and respect to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, by visiting his mausoleum in Karachi.
To spice up the festivities, vendors have set up stalls across the country to sell the country’s green and white flags, shirts, badges and balloons. The young and elderly alike are buying these things to show their patriotism.
“We are excited to celebrate our independence day and hope the incoming government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will do something extraordinary to make us a proud nation,” Zulfiqar Ali, 53, told Arab News while buying national flags from a stall in Islamabad.
He said 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 more strong and invincible.
Shazia Qambar, a teacher in an upscale area of the federal capital who is illuminating classrooms with national flags and posters with messages about the importance of independence, said schools try each year to educate their students through fun and games about significance of the independence day.
“This year we are arranging a national songs competition among our students on the school’s premises, besides screening some documentaries about the struggle of our ancestors to get the 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 in different colors and lights.
Pakistan’s Parliament is also being illuminated to mark the country’s 71st year of independence, where 329 newly elected lawmakers took the oath of their office on Monday and vowed to work for the betterment of the country.
“This day reminds us the unforgettable struggle and sacrifices made by our forefathers for next generations to live in freedom,” outgoing Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said after administering the oath to the legislators.
He said that this is a proud day for the Pakistani nation that is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm. “Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad 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 opine that Pakistan can emerge as a developed nation on the world map only if all the countrymen work together for the development of the downtrodden and poor.
“The key to progress of any country is quality education and rule of law,” Professor Tahir Malik, political analyst and academic, told Arab News.
He said the incoming government should utilize all available resources on human development and promotion of science and technology 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, political analyst, said that Pakistan enjoys a unique geographical location in the region and has played a positive role in peace and stability of the world.
“The entire nation is now looking up 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 social evils prevailing in the country.”


Indian president disregards protests, signs citizenship bill into law

Updated 17 sec ago

Indian president disregards protests, signs citizenship bill into law

NEW DELHI: A divisive citizenship bill has been signed into law in India, a move that comes amid widespread protests in the country’s northeast that could force the cancelation of a visit by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Two people were killed and 11 injured on Thursday when police opened fire on mobs in Assam state torching buildings and attacking railway stations. Protesters say the law would convert thousands of illegal immigrants into legal residents.
The new law lays out a path of Indian citizenship for six minority religious groups from the neighboring countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the bill late on Thursday, signing it into law, an official statement said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has planned to host Abe at a meeting in Assam next week as part of a campaign to move high-profile diplomatic events outside Delhi to showcase India’s diversity.
Japan’s Jiji Press reported on Friday that Abe is considering canceling his trip. India’s foreign ministry said it was not in a position to comment on the visit which was originally planned for Dec 15-17.
A movement against immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh has raged in Assam for decades. Protesters say granting Indian nationality to more people will further strain the resources of the tea growing state and lead to the marginalization of indigenous communities.
Japan has stepped up infrastructure development work in Assam in recent years which the two sides were expected to highlight during the summit. Abe had also planned to visit a memorial in the nearby state of Manipur where Japanese soldiers were killed during World War Two.
Critics of Modi’s Hindu nationalist government say the bigger problem with the new law is that it is the first time India is using religion as a criterion for granting citizenship and that it excludes Muslims from its ambit.
The law seeks to grant Indian nationality to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs who fled the three Muslim-majority neighboring countries before 2015.
The Indian Union Muslim League party has petitioned the Supreme Court saying the law was in conflict with the secular principles of India’s constitution that guaranteed equality to all without any regard to religion. No date has yet been set for the hearings.
The party said the law is “prima facie communal” and questioned the exclusion of minorities such as Rohingya Muslims who were just as persecuted as other faiths listed in the law.