LONDON: To mark the auspicious occasion of 72nd Independence Day of Pakistan, a flag hoisting ceremony was held at the Pakistan High Commission, London today. Messages of the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan were read out on this occasion. A large number of community members, especially women and children, as well as British friends of Pakistan attended the ceremony. Sahebzada Ahmed Khan, Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK, unfurled the Pakistani flag to the tunes of National Anthem.
In his address on the occasion, the High Commissioner felicitated the community in the UK and all Pakistanis around the world. He paid glowing tributes to the untiring struggle of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Allama Iqbal and other heroes of the Pakistan Movement. Giving an overview of the country, the High Commissioner termed the recent democratic transition “a dawn of the new era in Pakistan.” He said people of Pakistan have spoken for socio-economic justice, in a pluralistic and progressive Pakistan, which is in fact the Pakistan as envisioned by the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. People of Pakistan want to reclaim the Quaid’s Pakistan, added the High Commissioner.
The High Commissioner read out several quotes of the Quai-i-Azamon democracy,rights of minorities, and human rights of the citizens of Pakistan irrespective of caste, creed or religion. He said: “Let’s sincerely pledge today to rebuild and reclaim Pakistan which is economically stronger and prosperous; politically inclusive and accommodative; and socially just and tolerant.” Highlighting the issue of scarcity of water in Pakistan the High Commissioner called upon the community to donate generously to the Fund created for the construction of dams. He urged the community to send their remittances to Pakistan through proper channels.
The High Commissioner termed the Pakistan-UK relations excellent and said we would further strengthen these relations through enhanced bilateral trade. He called 1.3 million diaspora as the Ambassadors of Pakistan and appreciated theirrole in cementing the Pakistan-UK relations. Speaking about Kashmir, the High Commissioner condemned the ongoing gross human rights abuses in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). He stated that Pakistan would continue its political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Kashmirtill they achieve their right to self-determination. Live patriotic songs sung by local Sufi opera singer Saira Peters, Qawwal Sohail Salamat Ali, and child singers Muhammad Hassan and Ismal Khan enthralled the audience. The cultural component added extra colour to the ceremony. Guests were served with brunch of traditional Pakistani cuisine. Similar Independence Day events were held at all the four Consulates of Pakistan in Birmingham, Bradford, Glasgow and Manchester.