Pakistan marks 77th Independence Day with prayers for a prosperous future

By: Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti

KARACHI: On the occasion of Pakistan’s 77th Independence Day celebrated today, the nation is filled with anticipation and eagerness to honor the relentless struggle of our forefathers and national heroes in their pursuit of a separate homeland.

President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) President Asif Ali Zardari, and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have extended warm congratulations to the nation on this significant milestone.

The day commenced with special prayers for the prosperity and unity of the country, a fitting gesture given the challenges on the political and economic fronts.

Furthermore, a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salutes in provincial capitals were rendered as a tribute to the nation’s resilience in the face of numerous challenges.

In a poignant moment, the country echoed with sirens at 7:58 am, heralding the momentous flag-hoisting ceremony at 8 am.

Mosques across the nation reverberated with early morning prayers for prosperity, solidarity, and peace.

As the nation observes this day as a national holiday, various governmental and private sector institutions are prepared to host an array of special events and activities. These include seminars, discussions, photographic exhibitions, artistic displays of paintings and poetry, renditions of national songs, and lively debate competitions, all commemorating the monumental achievement of 76 years ago.

The spotlight today is focused on acknowledging the tireless efforts of the leaders of the Pakistan Movement and the sacrifices made by national heroes and ordinary citizens as they fought for autonomy and the right to self-determination in challenging times.

The streets and thoroughfares of the federal capital and other cities have already been transformed into a vibrant sea of colors, particularly green. People have adorned their homes, vehicles, and streets with flags, banners, and buntings, creating an atmosphere of much-needed festivity.

Prominent public and private buildings are adorned with illuminations, marking this momentous occasion.

Print and electronic media, on this day, pay homage to the enduring contributions of Pakistan’s heroes, honoring their remarkable dedication.

Throughout the country, the police have finalized traffic management plans to ensure the convenience and safety of the public, as they gather in public spaces such as parks, malls, markets, and beaches to celebrate the day together.

Literary and cultural organizations, including the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), have outlined a variety of programs to commemorate the significance of the day.

However, perhaps the most excited on this day are the children, who are not only the nation’s greatest asset but also its future.

To engage these enthusiastic young individuals and educate them about the day’s significance, both public and private educational institutions will organize various activities, including competitions, events, and sessions to enlighten students about the historical struggle behind Pakistan’s creation.

Cities across the nation have donned green and white colors, with stalls featuring Jashan-i-Azadi merchandise such as attire, flags, buntings, pin badges, toys, and other decorative items, all designed to attract and captivate the younger generation.

Additionally, different brands, online retailers, eateries, ride-hailing services, and even electronics companies have offered enticing discounts, adding to the festive spirit.

Culmination of a democratic, political struggle: In a post on X (formerly known as Twitter), President Arif Alvi conveyed his congratulations to the people on Pakistan’s 77th Independence Day anniversary.

“On this day, we pay tribute to the sacrifices made by our founding fathers and the workers of the Pakistan Movement,” the president wrote.

“The stories of those individuals, who faced hardships, endured oppression, and confronted immense challenges to reach Pakistan, serve as a wellspring of inspiration for the generations to come,” he wrote, underscoring the significance of valuing the sacrifices of our ancestors.

“76 years ago, on this day, Pakistan achieved independence after the historic struggle of the Muslims of the subcontinent, led by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

“The Muslims of India aspired for a homeland where they could freely structure their personal and collective lives in accordance with the teachings of Islam.

This day signifies the culmination of a democratic and political struggle in our quest for liberation from colonial rule,” he expressed.

Reflecting on the importance of this day, he urged for introspection.

“We should reflect on the nation’s progress so far, the existing challenges, and the opportunities for growth. It is a time to renew our commitment to building a more robust and prosperous Pakistan, as envisioned by the Father of the Nation.”

He then called upon people to pledge to uphold the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance, forgiveness, socio-economic justice, and moral and ethical values, as outlined by Islam.

“On this significant day, let’s also remember our oppressed brethren and sisters in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), who have been enduring Indian atrocities for decades.”

“India’s unlawful actions, including the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special legal status in 2019, have exacerbated the human rights situation in the region, resulting in extrajudicial killings, torture, and illegal detentions,” he affirmed, reaffirming the country’s commitment to standing by the side of our Kashmiri compatriots.

He further appealed to the entire Pakistani nation to wholeheartedly contribute to the country’s development.

“There is a need to unite in the face of the social, political, economic, and security challenges confronting the nation today. So, let’s pledge that we will spare no effort in the interest of the security, prosperity, and development of the nation,” he concluded.

An Idea Rooted in Self-Assertion: In the meantime, outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif remarked that the nation is celebrating the 77th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence.

In his Independence Day message, he conveyed his heartfelt congratulations to the entire nation, including overseas Pakistanis.

“This day holds a special place in our hearts, for it commemorates an unparalleled struggle for freedom that culminated in the establishment of the State of Pakistan.

“Today, we pay tribute to the men, women, and children who united under the visionary leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to strive for the creation of a land they could proudly call home,” he stated.

“In this process, they set an inspiring example of commitment and dedication to the cause of Pakistan. I also take this moment to pay tribute to the visionary leadership of Quaid-e-Azam and other leaders without whom the dream of Pakistan could never have been realized.”

“The nation will forever remain indebted to them for bequeathing us with the precious gift of freedom,” the Prime Minister asserted, adding that the struggle for a separate homeland embodied an idea whose time had arrived – an idea rooted in self-assertion and the aspiration for a brighter tomorrow.

This aspiration was for a country where its people could realize their potential and live in harmony, in line with their rich traditions, values, culture, and ethos.

The idea of Pakistan was grander than our imagination, the PM continued, emphasizing that it represented an aspiration born out of a fear of living under the majoritarian principles advocated by the Congress.

PM Shehbaz went on to acknowledge the significance and urgency of the ongoing struggle for Kashmir’s freedom, which spans over seven decades.

“As we celebrate Independence Day, we stand in unwavering solidarity with the oppressed people of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJ&K), who are engaged in a struggle for their right to self-determination.

“Pakistan remains committed to providing them with political, moral, and diplomatic support. Despite enduring a four-year military siege and an information blackout, the people of IIOJ&K have shown remarkable resilience and defiance against the oppressive measures of the Indian government,” he stated, urging the international community and human rights organizations to take note of the rights violations in IIOJ&K.

“Our stance remains firm, advocating for a peaceful resolution of the dispute in line with UN resolutions, recognizing the right of the Kashmiri people to determine their own future through a fair and free plebiscite.

“The spirit of independence continues to inspire Pakistanis to overcome challenges and work towards a nation that embodies the principles of justice, equality, and prosperity for all,” he concluded.

Supremacy of Parliament: Meanwhile, former President Zardari expressed that pledging allegiance to the Constitution entails acknowledging the supremacy of the Parliament as the true representative of the people.

“On the occasion of Independence Day, let us commit to upholding the rule of the people in line with the philosophy of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan,” he stated in a pre-Independence Day message.

Zardari expressed that on this day, the leadership and members of the PPP reaffirm their dedication to shaping Pakistan into a democratic and welfare state according to Quaid-e-Azam’s ideals, for which Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had fervently struggled.

He added that Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto translated Quaid-e-Azam’s vision into reality through the 1973 Constitution.

Additionally, Bilawal shared that this day is an opportunity to reflect on whether present-day Pakistan has achieved the objectives envisioned by our founding fathers upon the country’s establishment.

“In light of Quaid-e-Azam’s vision, we still have a long journey ahead, and we must work diligently to establish a robust federal democratic state and a society built on tolerance and equality,” he remarked.

The PPP Chairman emphasized that his party truly represents the ideology and principles of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was an exceptional democrat and statesman advocating for religious tolerance.

“The gift of a unanimous constitution to the nation by Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is a reflection of Quaid-e-Azam’s vision for Pakistan, and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto dedicated her life to liberating the nation from dictatorship, safeguarding the rights and freedoms of the people, and sacrificed her life during that struggle.”

Bilawal extended greetings to the nation on Independence Day and conveyed his good wishes to all Pakistanis.

He remarked that today is a day to honor Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his companions who fought for freedom under his guidance, making sacrifices.

“August 14 symbolizes achieving the impossible through peaceful political and democratic struggle,” he added.

Immense Blessing of Freedom: Concurrently, Punjab’s interim Chief Minister Naqvi conveyed heartfelt congratulations to the nation on Pakistan’s 77th Independence Day.

In a message released on Sunday, he expressed his felicitations to all citizens on this significant occasion.

He recognized the immense blessing of freedom and expressed gratitude to Allah Almighty for enabling the nation to exist in the world as an independent entity.

The Chief Minister emphasized the importance of understanding and upholding the intrinsic value and dignity of a sovereign nation.

He paid tribute to the numerous Muslims who dedicated their lives to ignite the flame of liberation and the esteemed ancestors of our liberated land.

Honoring the unparalleled courage of those who laid down their lives during the Pakistan Movement, he underscored the significance of their sacrifice in the pursuit of a peaceful nation.

In his message, the CM called for introspection and learning from past experiences to chart a promising path forward.

He stressed the need to adhere to the tenets of faith, unity, and organization, with each individual playing an integral role in the nation’s progress.

Naqvi asserted the collective responsibility of bequeathing a harmonious, strong, and prosperous Pakistan to future generations.

He underscored the pivotal role of exemplary unity and solidarity in facing the challenges that lie ahead.

He called upon all citizens to renew their commitment to prioritizing the nation’s advancement over personal interests and collaboratively elevating Pakistan’s stature.

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