Pakistan celebrates 70th Independence Day

Pakistan kicked off a day of celebrations on Monday marking 70 years of statehood and independence, the festivities beginning with gun salutes in the capital, Islamabad, and in each of the four provincial capitals.

In Karachi, visitors paid respects at the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the country.

The Pakistan Air Force put on a spectacular air show, with Pakistani, Turkish and Saudi fighter jets flying over Islamabad as thousands of spectators watched from one of the city’s parks.

A man on the motor bike holds a national flag as he watches an air show to celebrate the 70th Independence Day in Islamabad, Pakistan August 14, 2017.
People from Pakistani Sikh community celebrate the 70th Independence Day in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. Pakistan gained its independence from British colonial rule in 1947.
Attendees wave Pakistan’s national flag while singing national songs at a ceremony to celebrate the country’s 70th Independence Day at the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi, Pakistan August 14, 2017.
Spectators watch Pakistan Air Force fighter jets demonstrate an aerobatic maneuver during an air show to celebrate the 70th Independence Day in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. Pakistan gained its independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Pakistani Hindu youth selected for prestigious US award

A Hindu youth from Pakistan has been selected for the prestigious Emerging Young Leaders Award given by the US State Department for the positive role played by youngsters in building sustainable peace.

Raj Kumar, from Pakistan, was among 10 youths from across the world who have been selected for the second edition of the ‘Emerging Young Leaders Award’ given by the State Department.

Those selected for the award include youngsters from Malta, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Algeria, Tajikistan, Belgium, Vietnam, Peru and Israel.

The young people selected for the award will visit the US for an intensive programme from April 30 to May 13, specially designed to explore their leadership capacities, strengthen their knowledge of management strategies in the non-profit, government and private sectors, learn and share best practices, and broaden their networks of resources and support, the State Department said in a statement yesterday.

Kumar became an active member of the Pakistan-US Alumni Network (PUAN) following his participation in the State Department-sponsored Global Undergraduate Exchange Programme in 2013, the statement said.

He served in various leadership positions within PUAN and secured grants totaling USD 10,000 for projects focusing on countering violent extremist voices and promoting pluralism in society.

Through one of his initiatives, ‘Days of Inter religious Youth Action – Promoting Peace through Arts, Sports, Dialogue and Music’, Kumar and his 10-person team brought together 500 community members from different ethnic and religious backgrounds to paint and share messages of peace through art and Sufi music, as well as teach teamwork and sportsmanship lessons, the State Department said.

Through another grant, Kumar provided training to women about Pakistani laws that protect their rights.

“Raj recognizes the power of traditional and social media to influence views; he wrote a piece titled ‘My Journey as a Pakistani Hindu’ that was picked up by a leading English- language newspaper in Pakistan, Express Tribune,” the State Department said.

He also has spoken about the role of youth in addressing violent extremism on a prominent Pakistani TV network, Dawn News, and has been profiled by a prominent Facebook page, “Humans of Pakistan.

Pakistan Day in Turkey

The Pakistan Day was also celebrated in Ankara at an impressive ceremony at Pakistan Embassy in Ankara on Thursday.

Pakistan`s Ambassador to Turkey Sohail Mahmood, raised the Pakistan flag on the tune of the National Anthem in presence of the Pakistani community, Pakistani students studying in Turkish Universities and Embassy officials and their families.

The messages of the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan were read out on the occasion. Students of Pakistan Embassy School in Ankara presented national songs.

In his remarks on the occasion, the Ambassador said 23rd March was an important milestone in the historical struggle of the Muslims of South Asia when our forefathers made the historic decision to acquire a separate homeland.

He said it was a matter of satisfaction for everyone that along with political stability, Pakistan’s economic growth had taken pace and Pakistan was now recognized as an ‘Emerging Economy.’

He also briefed the participants on recent developments in Pakistan-Turkey relations and the visits of the dignitaries of the two countries.

He informed that Pakistan and Turkey were also inching closer towards concluding a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which would help boost bilateral trade, commercial and investment relations.

He said the Turkish investment in Pakistan was steadily increasing.

He also applauded the recent decision of the Turkish Government to introduce Urdu as elective subject in high schools.

The “Pakistan Day” reception was also hosted on Wednesday evening where the Turkish leadership, parliamentarians, civil society, media and members of Pakistan community were invited to participate.

A Pakistan Food Festival also began which would continue for the rest of the week.

A photographic exhibition and stamps exhibition will also be held at the venue of the reception.

Pakistan Day in France

To commemorate the Pakistan Day, Flag Hoisting ceremony was held at the Embassy of Pakistan in France on Thursday.

Addressing the ceremony, Pakistan`s Ambassador to France Moin-ul-Haque paid rich tributes to Father of the Nation and other leaders of the Pakistan Movement.

He said this year we are also celebrating the 70 years of our independence.

The Ambassador said Pakistan stands as an important country in the comity of nations with strong democratic institutions, a fast growing economy, independent judiciary and free media.

He also briefed the participants about the steps taken by the government in different sectors for development and prosperity.

The Ambassador thanked the Pakistani community in France for their constructive role in projecting Pakistan’s positive image in France.

He said it is our collective responsibility to make Pakistan a strong, peace loving and prosperous country for our future generations.

On the occasion, the massages of the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan in connection with the Day were also read.

Later, the Ambassador hosted a diplomatic reception to mark the Pakistan Day.

The ceremony was attended amongst others by the French members of the parliament, high ranking civil and military officials, intellectuals, scholars and foreign diplomats Pakistani community, officers of the missions and their families and media persons in large number.

Pakistan Day in India

Flag hoisting ceremony on Pakistan Day also held at High Commission, New Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion, High Commissioner Abdul Basit congratulated all Pakistan nationals in India on this auspicious occasion.

He said Pakistan was keen to settle all the issues with India, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, through dialogue.