Pakistan Day is a commemoration of Pakistan’s declaration of independence from British rule and the adoption of a national constitution in 1956.
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The annual Pakistan Day celebration occurs on March 23 and has been designated as a national holiday by the Pakistani government. Pakistan holds the distinction of being the world’s first Islamic Republic. Pakistan Day is characterised by a demonstration of patriotic pride and national celebration.
World’s First Muslim Republic
The quest by Muslims for independence from British rule actually began in 1857. A rebellion by British East India Company soldiers spawned a freedom movement that would one day result in an independent state for British India Muslims. British company rule did not take Muslim social and political needs into consideration. Yet it wasn’t until a 1930 Muslim League session that Muslim philosopher and poet Muhammad Iqbal suggested the formation of an independent Muslim nation.
The call for Pakistani independence from the British Raj was formally proposed when the All-India Muslim League adopted a political resolution known as the Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940. The Lahore Resolution called for the independence of several Muslim provinces located in eastern and northwestern British India. The resolution ultimately led to a call for an autonomous and sovereign Pakistan to be composed of the Muslim dominated British zones.
The Muslim League was led by Muhammad Ali Jinna. The 1940 Lahore Resolution, which did not actually mention the name Pakistan, was also endorsed by many other revered founding fathers. These freedom movement leaders were committed to the formation of an independent entity comprised of autonomous and sovereign provinces in which Muslims represented a majority of the population.
Pakistan officially became a constitutional monarchy on August 14, 1947 when India gained its independence from the British Raj. George VI was declared head of state and Muhammad Ali Jinna was appointed Governor General of Pakistan.
The name Pakistan was originally proposed in a 1933 declaration by Choudhary Rahmad Ali. Although a number of political leaders endeavoured to promote an independent state composed of both Muslim and Hindu dominated zones, a number of factors ultimately prevented the formation of a religiously diverse political state. Pakistan became the first Muslim Republic on March 23, 1956 when Pakistan promulgated a national constitution and transitioned from a dominion to a republic. Pakistan Day has been celebrated as a national holiday ever since.
Pakistan Day Celebration
The capital city of Islamabad becomes the scene of a tremendous celebration on Pakistan Day. An early morning joint military and civilian parade typically winds its way through the streets of Islamabad as onlookers demonstrate their patriotic pride. The joint military parade is broadcast live throughout the nation. The Pakistan Day parade is presided over by the president of Pakistan and is attended by Pakistani and foreign dignitaries.
Following the parade, the president presents decorations and awards to selected dignitaries, and wreaths are placed on the mausoleums of Pakistani founder Muhammad Ali Jinna and Sir Muhammad Iqbal. Sir Muhammad Iqbal was a celebrated barrister, scholar and poet. Not only is he celebrated as a poet in numerous nations, he is credited with inspiring the idea of a two-state solution and the formation of an autonomous Pakistan.
Pakistan Day, also referred to as Republic or Independence Day, is celebrated in cities and towns throughout Pakistan. The Pakistani national flag is prominently displayed. A 31-gun salute thunders over Islamabad, and a 21-gun salute can be heard in every provincial capital. Most businesses and transportation facilities are closed for the Pakistan Day holiday. Much like independence day celebrations everywhere, families and friends enjoy some much deserved rest and relaxation. Local recreation facilities are popular attractions, and the aroma of holiday cuisine tempts adults and children alike. March 23 is a day of excitement, colourful decorations and national unity.