Members of the Pakistani community celebrated with patriotic enthusiasm and fervor at the two diplomatic missions in the Capital and Dubai and at various social centres and schools across the UAE on Saturday.
The embassy in the Capital held a flag-hoisting ceremony attended by a large number of community members, including school children decked in colourful, traditional clothing.
The ceremony began with the National Anthem sung by school students, and the hoisting of the flag by Ambassador Jamil Ahmed Khan. After a reading from the Holy Quran, National Day messages from the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan were read out.
Speaking on the occasion, Khan said: “March 23 reminds us of the valiant struggle and firm resolve of the founder of the nation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and the Muslims of the Subcontinent in search of a separate homeland where they could fashion their lives according to their own beliefs and culture.”
He added that the day signified a truly historic milestone in the nation’s quest for independence.
The Ambassador said since its independence, Pakistan had been confronted with many challenges, but had always risen to the occasion and successfully overcome adversity by demonstrating patriotism, steadfastness, unwavering faith and resilience. He urged the members of the Pakistani community to play their role with dedication and commitment to make Pakistan a stronger and more prosperous country.
He said democracy, in its true spirit, was present in Pakistan and it was the first time the democratic government had completed its five-year term.
At a similar function in Dubai, Consul-General Tariq Iqbal Soomro unfurled the national flag in the morning in the presence of community members, consulate officials and their families.
Soomro paid tributes to the father of the nation, poet and philosopher Dr Allama Iqbal.
“This day is celebrated to remember the heroic constitutional battle fought by the people under the dynamic leadership of Jinnah and the countless sacrifices rendered in the struggle for an independent country which emerged on the world map in 1947,” he said.
Soomro added that Pakistan’s relations with the UAE were built on profound recognition of mutual benefits and understanding, rooted in history and bonded together by common social values, traditions and faith.
The late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and former Prime Minister, the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had laid the foundations for dynamic and robust relations between the two countries in the early seventies and that tradition was continued and strengthened by subsequent leaders on both sides and continues to this day, Soomro said.
Soomro pointed out that with more than 1.2 million Pakistanis in the UAE, making it the second biggest expatriate community in the country, Pakistanis have contributed significantly towards the development of the UAE with large numbers of doctors, engineers, bankers and finance managers employed in the government sector with equally big numbers in business, transport and the construction field.
The Consul-General also called upon Pakistanis living in the UAE to forge unity in their ranks and work for the development of their beloved country, as well as respect the laws and traditional costumes of their host country.