14th August is the day patriotism is at its peak amongst each and every Pakistani. Pakistan’s flag is hoisted high on commercial buildings, residential buildings and national monuments. People dress up in green and white, attend events and parades, visit places of national significance – all in order to commemorate the day Pakistan became free and independent.
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In light of celebrating the true spirit of freedom this Independence Day, we asked different Pakistanis to share their views regarding how they feel being a Pakistani this year. Here’s what they had to say:
“Ever since my kidnapping and eventual return I make it a point every day to count my blessings and to thank God for my life & all the beautiful people in it. I also remind myself that freedom is not something one should take for granted so let’s celebrate our Independence Day as proud Free Pakistanis.” – Shahbaz Taseer (Businessman)
“I think as Pakistanis we often misconceive that life in the West is better. At least I did. It wasn’t until I moved to Canada after living in Pakistan for 19 years that I realised the importance of having a home country. No matter where you go, the memory of your traditions, culture, and people will remain with you. All the luxuries of this world fall short when you’re viewed as an outsider in another country. This 14th August, I’m grateful to be able to call Pakistan my home and I miss my home every day.” – Ayra Sami Malik (BA Psychology)
"For me, the most prominent progress that has taken place in Pakistan has to do with citizen activism - both, online and in public spaces. It is amazing to see the courage that Pakistan’s youth has exhibited especially in terms of being vocal about topics that have otherwise been considered taboo. From women defying regressive societal norms by occupying public spaces and driving cycles and motorbikes, to collectively campaigning for awareness against harassment and calling out harassers - it has been nothing short of admirable and brave." – Mydah Raza (Fashion Model)
“My thoughts on being Pakistani: I am blown away all the time by how beautiful this country is, and simultaneously how fast it’s being destroyed. As Pakistanis we need to come together and collectively take charge of moving towards a safer, just, conscientious, empathic and inclusive society. Pakistan Zindabad!” – Hira Nabi (Filmmaker/ Researcher)
“They say you don’t realise the real worth of something until you lose it. Well I didn’t exactly lose Pakistan, I’ve just been away from it since 3 years now. This year, I miss Pakistan more than I missed it last year. This year, I love Pakistan more than I loved it last year. This year, I am a proud Pakistani than I ever was.” – Tabish Akhtar (Accountant/ Overseas Pakistani)
“I came back to Pakistan after two whole years last fall. It was refreshing to see so many positive changes in the country and the society. Fellow Pakistanis have been more courteous and accepting since. It was rather exhilarating to see so many women in the working sector and as a career oriented woman it made me especially proud.” – Wajeeha Hashmi (Occupational Psychologist)
"I think the nation feels more responsible now and there’s a realisation that the citizens have to play a part too to make this country a better place to live, for example, by planting trees on Independence Day this year instead of sitting idle like every other year. I think we’re taking pretty good initiatives!" – Arwa Arshad (Law Student)
"Being Pakistani is MY identity; makes me feel confident, liberated, empowered and fills me with a sense of pride that's unparalleled. I've had the privilege of traveling far and wide however it's only this soil that vigours my blood. Having recently been touted as a hidden gem for travelers from across the world coupled with improved security and maximising on our existing natural and human resources, Pakistan is definitely on its way to not only reclaim its past glory but even surpassing it. Long live Pakistan!" – Madiha Anwar (Administrator)
"Pakistan has come a long way from the country of my childhood. Even though I miss the sweet memories of my childhood, I am more optimistic about the future of this country than ever. Pakistan has one of the highest youth populations in the world and the impending industrialisation of the country would provide enormous opportunities to us to grow into a prosperous, diverse and inclusive society." – Hammas Hassan (Lawyer)
"I miss how ten rupees could buy me a coke, samosa and chilli chips. The money devaluation over the years has come to a point where even beggars throw back ten rupees at your face. But there is lots more to celebrate about this country than to repent . Foremost is the healthy process of democratic governance and letting people decide who they want to see rule. We’ve seen smooth transfer of power showing our maturity of respecting the institution. Over the past twenty years Pakistan has grown exponentially in terms of connectivity and technological advancements. We are the fastest growing mobile user nation and probably offer one of the fastest internet connectivity in South Asia through mobile users and other operatives. Our educational institutions are now matching up to top tier universities in Asia and our students undoubtedly over the past decade have out-shined millions across the world. Overcoming the war on terror and its effects, Pakistan’s tourism has increased 300% over the past ten years. Our majestic mountain ranges and lush green plains witness growing foreign guests every year and some just want to stay back just due to the impeccable hospitality. I believe in what Jinnah said 'there is no power on earth that can undo Pakistan.'” – Mariam Raza Zaidi (Communications Specialist)
"With Pakistan’s 71st birthday approaching, I can hope that this year brings prosperity, peace and development for the country. A country which is so rich in culture and whose citizens are full of generosity, opening theirs homes and hearts to friends and tourists alike. I hope that this year can be that year for Pakistan, where people from all around the world can come and admire its beauty." – Mahin Butt (Business Support Executive)
Pakistanis from all walks of life pray and hope for only their nation’s betterment. Each passing year, we all wish that our country finds the path to development, prosperity, happiness, and peace. However, we have to stand united and put as much effort as we can in order to progress. Let’s be the change we want to see!