Dubai/ Abu Dhabi: The Pakistani diplomatic missions in the UAE marked the 74th Pakistan Independence Day with simple but strongly patriotic celebrations at the embassy and consulate grounds in Abu Dhabi and Bur Dubai on Friday.
In Dubai, Consul General Ahmad Amjad Ali and his family led the observance of the national day with the hoisting of the Pakistan flag at 9.20am, followed by a short programme, including prayers and reading of messages from the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan.
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Pakistan colours dominated the consulate grounds and most people also came in green and white but due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and social distancing norms, the activity was only open to Consulate officials and a few guests, including members of the Press.
Patriotic songs laced with cheers of ‘Pakistan Zindabad!’ and performances, including Khattak dance (a Pashtun folk dance), kept the spirits high of those who were at the Consulate while Pakistani expats observed the national day by sharing their patriotic fervour on social media.
In Abu Dhabi, Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE Ghulam Dastagir hoisted the flag to the playing of the national anthem. Independence Day messages of the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan were also read out. Strict local precautionary measures also limited the ceremony to only few people.
Tribute to forefathers
Ambassador Dastagir felicitated the Pakistani community living in the UAE and paid tribute to their forefathers “who rendered selfless sacrifices to make the dream of Pakistan a reality and kept aloft the banner of its freedom.”
“This (Independence) Day reinvigorates our spirit and renews our resolve to achieve the aims and objective for which we obtained an independent homeland. It also reminds us to follow the great ideals and principles envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to overcome the challenges being faced by our country and redirect our efforts to make Pakistan stand out in the comity of nations,” he highlighted during his speech.
He noted the Pakistani diaspora provides an enduring link between Pakistan and UAE. He alkso assured the expat community of full support and cooperation of the Embassy during their stay away from home.
Bring prosperity to Motherland
Consul General Amjad Ali, for his part, called on Pakistani expats to “work together for the betterment and prosperity of the Motherland.”
“We will make our country proud and we want to bring prosperity to our nation as we keep our flag fly high,” he told Gulf News.
He also noted the Pakistani Consulate has so far repatriated more than 80,000 Pakistanis from the UAE.
“But the situation is now improving. People are returning to their jobs and the over-all economic situation in the UAE is improving, The situation in Pakistan has also improved. There are now only a few cases and this proves that Pakistan is a resilient nation. We have fought and we will fight always,” he underlined.
Expats express patriotic fervour
Pakistani expatriates across Dubai marked their nation's 74th Independence Day from the comforts of their homes.
Wearing traditional Pakistani attire (shalwar kameez), Muhammad Irfan Usman, who is originally from Lahore, told Gulf News: “We celebrated our national day listening to our national anthem and national songs.”
“We also made desserts coloured green and white. We wore clothes matching our national flag and decorated our homes with flags and lights,” he added.
Young Pakistani expat Omeir Mohammad, meanwhile, went to Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah “to take lots of pictures of the corniche; eat shawarma and visit Noor Island to see the Butterfly Emporium.”
Khan Zada Mohammad Aqeel from Pakistan-administered Kashmir, for his part, commented: “I’m proud to say that Pakistani community has come united during the pandemic and we brought positivity and hope to our country.”