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Clock wise from top left Seema, Shabbir Merchant, Dilp Sinha, Abubakar, Nadia Zafar and Ravindra Agarwal Image Credit:

Dubai: Pakistan and India are all set to celebrate their 75th Independence Days, which fall on August 14 and 15, respectively.

As a number of events have been lined up to mark the momentous occasion, Pakistani and Indian expatriates in the UAE share their emotional connect with their nations, the important milestones achieved and future hopes and dreams that they nurture for their respective countries. Gulf News caught up with a cross-section of Indian and Pakistani expats to know what Independence Day means for them.

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PAKISTAN

Abu Bakar Imitiaz, Sports Director at Pakistan Association Dubai

Abu Bakar Imitiaz

“As a child growing up in Pakistan, I learnt through our history books how hard we had to fight to gain freedom and lay the foundation of Pakistan. It was a big achievement on August 14, 1947, when independence was announced from Radio Pakistan, Lahore, in the then Indian state. A few minutes later, Radio Pakistan announced its Headquarters as Lahore, Pakistan.

"It was an unforgettable moment and one that we, the younger generation, must not forget. The earlier generation inherited the economic and social instabilities and struggles, but the later generations experienced far greater stability. It is our responsibility now, wherever we may be residing, to be ambassadors of Pakistan and work towards further progress and for the advancement of our country. I hope that in the next few years, education will be provided to all in Pakistan and each citizen will be empowered with knowledge in order to be able to avail of the opportunities in the country and on a global scale. That will help bring further prosperity and stability to our country.”

Shabbir Merchant, Director Pakistan Business Council, Dubai

Shabbir Merchant

“Pakistan attained its independence with great efforts on the part of our leaders then and now, we have built on it for 75 year. We have a great responsibility to strengthen the foundations of our country and help it to progress to its full potential. Every single non-resident Pakistani must send remittances and business persons here must invest in various projects back home to strengthen it economically.

"For instance, I belong to Karachi and came to Dubai in 1976. In the last 45 years, I never lost touch with my hometown and as a director of the Pakistan Business Council in Dubai, my team and myself are constantly making efforts to strengthen bilateral trade and encourage businessmen here to invest in projects in their homeland. We have great hope from the current government to address the issues of poverty, unemployment and social inequalities.”

Nadia Zafar, Professional

Nadia Zafar

“I was born in Pakistan, but was brought up in Dubai. I have very strong emotional bonds with my country and am a proud national. To me, the 75th anniversary of independence is a very emotional moment. In the last few years, Pakistan has made exceptional progress in the field of tourism. Our Northern sectors have a steady flow of international tourists.

"We have been actively participating in reforestation with the ‘billion trees project’ as part of the climate change and conservation programme. We have a very active handicraft, artisan and cottage industry. In the textile sector, our cotton is very famous and we are working towards improving health-care facilities and education. In the forthcoming years, I hope my country will step up education facilities for all, empower people with education and make health care affordable for all.”

Farzana Mansoor, Wedding Planner

Farzana Mansoor

“To me, Pakistan Independence Day means my identity, my pride. It is the day to be thankful to Allah almighty for his blessing of freedom, the day that reminds us of our heroes who sacrificed their lives for the future generations. It is the day to renew our pledge to the country and to forget our personal interests and collectively plan for our future to ensure peace, progress and prosperity.

Reverend John Qadir, Priest, New Apostolic Church International

Reverend John Qadir

Although I have been a resident of UAE for the last 40 years, I have always harboured a deep and profound love for my incredible country. The Christians played a very crucial role in voting in favour of the Punjab Province for Pakistan during independence. Our leaders worked hard and today I see a lot of progress in our country in every sector. As a middle-class man, I wish more resources and wealth for the poor, better education, a stronger voice for the minorities and hope this government delivers on its promise.”

INDIA

Seema Gupta, UAE entrepreneur

Seema Gupta

“India is not just a geographical entity, but has a deeply emotional connotation for me. It was built on the sweat, blood and struggles of our forefathers and on its 75th Independence Day, I feel we have come a long way. Our global contribution has been excellence in academics, software, cuisine, entertainment, yoga and spirituality. We are still evolving as a nation and despite the current struggles, we are poised to be the most powerful leader from the Asian continent. As an Indian expatriate in the UAE, I am proud of my nation and feel it’s my responsibility as an entrepreneur here, to showcase the dynamism of my country through my work.”

Dilip Sinha, Secretary-General of the Indian Business and Professional Council

Dilip Sinha

“I take immense pride in celebrating India’s 75th Independence Day here in the UAE. I feel immense gratitude for our patriots who struggled hard and sacrificed a lot, and achieved independence for our nation largely in a non-violent way and that was a precedent to the world. Since then, in the last 75 years, we have taken commendable strides in the area of space, nuclear research, education, industry, health care and software. Today, nearly two-thirds of the Silicon Valley has Indian-origin software engineers.

"We have many reasons to be proud of our country and as Indians, wherever we may be, we must uphold the dignity and grace of our country and give back. The current leadership is working hard and in the next few years, I hope to see India take leadership role in climate change, renewable energy and sustainability. I hope that every single Indian child gets a chance to get good education and acquire skill sets to face the modern world. In the Tokyo Olympics, we witnessed how a humble farmer’s son when given the opportunity could win a gold medal, as Neeraj Chopra did in javelin throw. We can invest our hope in every Indian and also hope that the country will become a $10 trillion economy in the near future.”

Dr Tasneem Jamil, Deputy Managing Director at a leading health-care group

Dr Tasneem Jamil

“It’s a matter of great honour and pride for all Indians to usher in our 75th Independence Day. The younger generation of Indians can rest on the laurels of those who fought hard to push away colonial suppression of 250 years, to emerge a world power — all in a matter of 75 years! The Indian diaspora in the UAE is proud of the UAE-India relationship. We, at the Prime family, always strive to give back to this society and to India.”

Ravindra Agarwal, Chief Financial Officer at a health care group

The Indian independence story is unique. We got our independence through nonviolence. There is a moral in that for the world. After that, we have steadily risen in every field and today, we are moving towards becoming a $5 trillion economy. Our progress in every field has been miraculous. In modern India today, there is transparency in bureaucracy, rapid digitisation, electricity and clean drinking water is being made available in villages, primary education is available for all and we are moving towards a cleaner, more naturally-sustainable economy. By 2030, I am hopeful we will be a superpower and I am proud to be an Indian.”

Ravindra Agarwal

The Indian independence story is unique. We got our independence through nonviolence. There is a moral in that for the world. After that, we have steadily risen in every field and today, we are moving towards becoming a $5 trillion economy. Our progress in every field has been miraculous. In modern India today, there is transparency in bureaucracy, rapid digitisation, electricity and clean drinking water is being made available in villages, primary education is available for all and we are moving towards a cleaner, more naturally-sustainable economy. By 2030, I am hopeful we will be a superpower and I am proud to be an Indian.”

PB Abdul Jebbar, Group Managing Director in a leading company in UAE

PB Abdul Jebbar

“It is amazing to see the resilience of India as a nation as it is going through a very challenging, yet exciting period. The 75th Independence Day comes at a time when our nation is growing at its fastest pace in this decade. In the recent years, India has made its mark in the international arena with significant achievements across industrial sectors. I am proud to be an Indian and congratulate every single Indian on reaching this significant milestone.”