Impressive Independence Day Celebrations in Los Angeles
Pictures by Anwar Khawaja, Nasir Rao & YKKB

Pictures above: Glimpses of the Pakistan Independence Day celebrations at the Exposition Park in Los Angeles

Los Angeles , CA: United for Pakistan Independence Day (UFPID), Southern California-based Pakistani community organizations, and prominent community members came together once again to hold the Pakistan Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, August 7th at the Exposition Park in Los Angeles, says a press release issued by the organizers of the event. It adds:

As anticipated the 2010 Celebration was one of the biggest events of the year with an estimated twenty-six thousand people enjoying the Independence Day festivities.

The event was held for the entire family and marked the success of the painstaking and sustained efforts of the organizers - Ismail Keekeebhai, Sameer Moosani, Zubair Rawda,. Yousuf Keekeebhai and Majeed Shaikh - and members of the Advisory Committee which included Sameen Faruqi, Adnan Khan, Ashraf Ali, Arif Mansuri, Irfan Murtaza, Jamil Bhatti, Qazi Asad, Jamal Khawaja, and Waqar Khan.

In organizing the Independence Day Celebrations, UFPID worked closely with the community youth to add to the success of the program and the festivities. The Youth Coordinators included Pakiza Hira Chatha, Shazrae Mian Fawwad Memon, Umair Siddiqui, Alicia Vajid, Omar Rahman, Yusuf Anwar, Aamira Ali Mir, Abeer Qazi, Komal Qazi, Imran Lakhani and Zubair Irshad.

Annie Naqvi and Mansoor Johar were the emcees for the evening. The program started with a recitation from the Holy Qur’an and its translation by the young and beautiful duo of Iman Keekeebhai and Sara Rawda. A beautiful na’at was presented by Mr. Muhammad Anwar.

Pictures above: Glimpses of the Pakistan Independence Day celebrations at the Exposition Park in Los Angeles

To kick off the festivities, the Grand Marshall of Pakistan Independence Day 2010, Mr. Qaisar Madad and Dr. Meher Tabatabai, officially opened the Festival. The program began with a patriotic song with many young children humming to the music and holding aloft the Pakistani flag. To accord recognition to the cultural heritage of the provinces of Pakistan, youth organizers accompanied by dhol (drum) players and the tremendously hardworking volunteers dressed in colorful outfits representing Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan appeared on the stage. The crowd welcomed the colorful presentation and proudly joined in to sing the national anthems of Pakistan and the United States.

As for the recent flood catastrophe in Pakistan which has affected more than 14 million people and left many homeless, UFPID along with Edhi & Islamic Relief announced a relief program: Islamic Relief has encouraged donations of all forms from the community in an effort to rescue the flood-affected segment of the Pakistani population and provide a safe environment to the Pakistani brothers and sisters in need.

To exhibit the Pakistani culture, over 75 vendor booths were displayed that featured delicious Pakistani food, clothes, jewelry, CDs/DVDs, artifacts, handicrafts, sports goods, South Asian channels, banking establishments, healthcare products and services, along with a large list of items and products to appeal to all families. Halal and vegetarian food was also served by famous restaurants.

A music concert featuring Annie and Jawad Ahmad also generated a great deal of interest of the crowd and was thoroughly enjoyed. A special appearance by British Pakistani boxer Amir Khan, currently WBA world light welterweight champion, added to the gaiety of the occasion. Amir Khan was introduced by Yousuf and Sameer.

UFPID Organizing Committee consisting of Ismail Keekebhai, Sameer Moosani, Zubair Rawda, Yousuf Keekeebhai and Majeed Shaikh, presented an award to the reigning welterweight boxing champion.

Popular performers, singers and dancers from Pakistan and USA truly entertained the LA crowd. Among local talent Tahir Iftikhar, Faisal, Zafar Karimi and Arshad Ali preformed throughout the evening.

Pictures above: Glimpses of the Pakistan Independence Day celebrations at the Exposition Park in Los Angeles

Rides and games were available for the children. Another highlight was a fashion show arranged by Mireasma and Diamonties. A traditional, modern and Bhangra dance performance, choreographed by Alicia Vajid, Asim Munawar and a special solo appearance by Omar Rahman, added to the festivities of the evening.

The event was made special with the attendance of dignitaries such as Sheriff Lee Baca, US Congresswoman Maxine Waters, LAPD Chief Michael Downing, Dr. Pannell, FBI Assistant Director in Charge Steven Martinez and Special Agent in Charge Steve Gomez , State Controller John Chiang, Inglewood Police Chief Seabrook and Anaheim Mayor pro tem Harry Sidhu. Many prominent community members and organizations joined in with UFPID to hold such a tremendous and successful event and were appropriately thanked by Zubair Rawda in his speech. He also highlighted the fact that the Independence Day Festival is an all volunteer effort which drew applause from the crowd.

Ismail Keekeebhai, in his speech, described the months of preparation that go into making such an event possible. He also indicated that the time is ripe to bring an even younger generation of Pakistani Americans to the forefront in organizing the event. Sameen Faruqi echoed similar sentiments and was especially thankful to the Organizing Committee and the Advisory Committee.

People of all origins attended the PAK DAY LA 2010 celebration and truly enjoyed the culture, heritage and hospitality provided by the Southern-California Pakistani community. UFPID proudly states that the Pakistan Independence Day Celebration of 2010 was made possible through the support of our generous Organizing Committee Members, Advisory Committee Members, Grand Marshall of the event, our generous sponsors and last but not least, our Youth Coordinators and Volunteers who joined the past, present and the future of Pakistan on August 7, 2010 at Exposition Park, Los Angeles. This year’s Independence Day manifested our Faith, our Unity, and our Discipline as stated by our Great Leader, Quaid-i-Azam, “Our object should be peace within, and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial friendly relations with our immediate neighbors and with the world at large.”

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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