Two Flag-Raising Ceremonies in Silicon Valley Mark Pakistan’s Independence Day
A Pakistan Link Report

Pictures courtesy of Abdus Sattar Ghazali and Guli Nasreen

The 68 th Independence Day of Pakistan (counting the first one in 1947) was celebrated with flag-raisings at two venues in California’s Silicon Valley on Thursday, August 14 th with a great deal of enthusiasm by diehard groups of Pakistani-Americans and their friends with support from local officials in Santa Clara County. The first flag-raising was held at Santa Clara County Headquarters located at 70 West Hedding Street in San Jose, and the second in nearby Milpitas, at City Hall located at 455 East Calaveras Boulevard. And it needs to be mentioned here that it was great to see the American flag, our very own Stars and Stripes or Old Glory flying side by side with the Crescent Moon and the Star or the Green and White of Pakistan on this day.

The first event was sponsored by the American Muslim Voice Foundation (AMV) and Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese and co-sponsored by Silicon Valley organizations including the Human Development Foundation and OPEN Silicon Valley. Other co-sponsors included Chandni Restaurant, The Ellahie & Farooqui Law Firm, Dr Waheed & Sabiha Siddiqee, PACAC Sacramento, Urdu News, M. Akhter Sheikh, Taj & Qamar Noori, WBT Productions and Javaid Akhter (Nationwide).

The American Muslim Voice Foundation and Samina Sundas have to be credited for initiating the first-ever Pakistani Flag Raising event in Silicon Valley last year and for continuing this effort in 2014. In an announcement on this occasion AMV stated that it is grateful for the continued support of Supervisor Dave Cortese, his staff, and Pakistani, Muslim and mainstream communities for their support in furthering its mission of community and peace building. “We wish to thank our performers/singers, volunteers and co-sponsors for their support. We also want to thank all of the attendees for being a part of our program. It would not be fun without you. We hope you have sown seeds of new friendships today.”

This afternoon event slated for 4:15 to 6:30 pm started off with snacks and socializing followed by a 5:00 pm flag-hoisting ceremony. The singing of The Star Spangled Banner by Machelle Ahmed and of the Pakistani National Anthem led by Babar Khan, accompanied by a group of children, followed. Next, words of welcome and a presentation of a resolution for the occasion by Supervisor Dave Cortese ended the outdoor formalities, as everyone proceeded to the Pakistani cultural program segment indoors. Sitar melodies by Dr Waheed Siddiqee started things off as various speeches, presentations and performances contributed to a very festive and fun time. Omar Raza, Shahzad Basir, Khalid Saeed, Moazzam Chaudry, Aifra Ahmed and Shahab Riazi made important presentations and the kids won the audience over with Umaima and Ibrahim Khan and Naiel Chaudry in the lead.

The second event started at 7 pm in Milpitas. It was organized by the Pakistani American Culture Center (PACC) during which Asma Khan emceed the proceedings. Two members of the Boy Scouts of America, namely Faz Rana and Zain Saeed, did the honors of bringing in the American and Pakistani flags there. The nation anthem of the United States was played and sung first, followed by the Pakistani “Pak Sar Zameen ...” in which all the participants enthusiastically participated.

Asghar Aboobaker the main force behind the PACC next addressed the gathering. He highlighted the history of Pakistan’s independence and shared information on the migration of Pakistanis to the US. He also thanked local officials for helping to make this event possible. Following Asghar, Iftikhar Ahmed, a representative of the Ahmadiya community in Milpitas, spoke eloquently about Pakistan and the City of Milpitas. He was followed by Arif Maskatia, a long-time Milpitas resident, who spoke about the development history of this city over the past 40 years.

Milpitas Mayor Joe Estevez offered his words of encouragement to the Pakistani community on this day and presented a proclamation from the city recognizing the occasion. Proclamations were also received from County Supervisor Dave Cortese and California Assemblyman Bob Wiekowski.

And since no Pakistani cultural gathering should be without an entertainment segment, Javed Ejaz and Muneeba Zeeshan sang patriotic Pakistani songs and Zeeshan Abbasi recited a poem. Asma Khan ended the formalities by recognizing all the officials present. PACC would like to add a word or two of thanks to Rabia and Noreen for the food and Pakistani art display arrangements and to Farrukh for setting up and managing the sound system.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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