Pakistani expats celebrate their Independence Day
08/15/2009 06:40 PM
Dubai/Abu Dhabi Pakistani expatriates in the UAE celebrated their country's 62nd Independence Day yesterday with a renewed pledge to support their government in its fight against terrorism.
"Though there are many challenges to deal with, we have all the reasons to celebrate Independence Day with dignity and pride thanks to the successful military operation to root out terrorism, which had brought the country to the brink of disintegration," Khursheed Ahmad Junejo, Pakistan's Ambassador to the UAE, said.
Junejo said the late Benazir Bhutto's politics of reconciliation has provided positive results. "President Asif Ali Zardari has successfully managed to garner the support of all the political and religious groups in the country to fight against terrorism and to resolve issues of national interest," he added.
The ambassador asked members of the Pakistani community to shun provincialism and identify themselves as Pakistanis first because "you are nothing without your country".
The ambassador said military dictators had done most damage to Pakistan. "We will not allow any more dictators to usurp power and derail thdemocracy in future," he said.
Pakistani Consul General in Dubai Dr Saeed Mahmoud said the Pakistani government was focused on poverty alleviation, development of education and strengthening of democratic institutions to counter the challenge of terrorism and pave the way for development.
Javed Malek, Pakistan's Ambassador At Large, urged the community to stand by the democratic government facing a lot of challenges such as energy crisis, unemployment, poverty and inflation. "All these issues will be resolved with the strengthening of democracy in the country," he added.
A number of functions were held to celebrate Pakistan's Independence Day yesterday. Junejo hoisted the national flag at the Pakistan Embassy in Abu Dhabi in the presence of a large number of expatriates.
Dr Mahmoud hoisted the flag in Dubai, which was followed by the singing of the national anthem and national songs by school children.
The celebrations in the UAE started on Thursday night with thousands of people gathering at the Pakistan Association premises in Dubai. Owing to the crowd, many expatriates were denied entry in the Pakistan Association premises and the police had to step in to bring things under control.
"This function is by invitation only and we cannot allow anyone to enter the arena," said an association member.
However, more than hundred people stranded outside the gate said the they came to the association after reading advertisements in the newspapers.
"It is very unfortunate that Pakistanis are denying access to their fellow Pakistanis on Independence Day. They should have opened their doors to everyone," said one angry man, who was pushed out by security guards.
Social worker Abdul Sattar Pardesi and Mian Muneer Hans organised an Independence Day function at a local hotel in Dubai on Thursday. It was for the first time that the national anthem was played followed by cake cutting ceremony coinciding with the beginning of August 14 according to the Pakistan time at midnight (10pm UAE time).
In Sharjah, a function was organised by prominent community members including Chaudhry Zafar Iqbal, Syed Sajjad Shah and Sardar Javed Yaqoub. Junejo attended the function.
Supporters of Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf also organised a function at a local hotel. Dr Sheeri Mazari, defence analyst, came especially from Pakistan to attend it.
Community hall on track
On the occasion of Independence Day, Khursheed Ahmad Junejo, Pakistan's Ambassador to the UAE, laid the foundation stone for the construction of the much-awaited multi-purpose hall being built by the Pakistan Association in Dubai.
A number of expatriates were present at the ceremony. Construction of the hall had been on hold for more than two decades due to the lack of funds.
"We hope to inaugurate the hall in seven months on March 23 next year, which marks Pakistan Day," Riaz Farooq, president of the association, said. "It is a dream come true for all of us and a great gift to the community."
Junejo promised that the Pakistan government would bear part of the construction cost for the community project.
"I also urge the leading community members to step forward and donate funds for the much needed facility," Junejo added.
The total cost of the project has fallen to Dh20 million from Dh24 million estimated earlier. Construction of the hall will cost Dh5 million.
The project has been divided into three phases. The first phase includes the construction of a multi-purpose hall and a library building at the cost of Dh5 million.
The second phase will include the construction of a banquet hall, association offices and a food court. The third phase will include the construction of a new mosque and 20-room accommodation for guests.
Have your say
How did you celebrate the Independence Day? What is the significance of this day to you at a personal level? Share your thoughts with us at email@example.com or fill in the comments form below.