Impressive Flag-Hoisting Ceremony in Los Angeles on Pakistan Resolution Day
By Danya Akbar
Los Angeles, CA: On March 23 rd, 2015, members and supporters of the Pakistani community congregated at the Beverly Hills residence of Consul General of Pakistan Hamid Asghar Khan to participate in a flag-hoisting ceremony to celebrate Pakistan Resolution Day.
Pakistan Resolution Day, or Pakistan Republic Day, is a national holiday to commemorate the Lahore Resolution of 1940 and the adoption of the first constitution as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. “The Lahore Resolution was a formal political statement adopted by the All-India Muslim League on the occasion of the three-day general session in Lahore on March 22–24, 1940. It called for the creation of 'independent states' for Muslims in north-western and eastern British India , and was presented by A. K. Fazlul Huq , the Prime Minister of Bengal . It was later interpreted as a demand for a separate and single Muslim state called Pakistan .” ( "Do we know anything about Lahore Resolution?" . Alarabiya.net. 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2013-06-02)
The statement (in part) declared:
“No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary.
"That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards should be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in these units and in these regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them; and in other parts of India where Mussalmans are in a minority, adequate, effective and mandatory safeguard shall be specially provided in the constitution for them and other minorities for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them.
"That geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of (British) India should be grouped to constitute ‘independent states’ in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.”
This statement was the beginning of the movement that would create Pakistan, and its fundamental points should still be implemented today. In addition to the Lahore Resolution, March 23 rd is also celebrated in reverence to Republic Day (1956), when Pakistan became the first Islamic Republic in the world.
Zohreen Adamjee, the emcee from the Inaugural of the Consular Hall in February, started the proceedings with introductions and a welcome. The ceremony kicked off with Qamar Abbas Khokhar, Head of Chancery, relaying the messages of the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan:
“To mark this historic occasion I would like to urge all citizens of Pakistan to renew their resolve to bring their country to the forefront of the comity of nations. We are confronted with formidable threats and challenges. Women and children, civilians and soldiers alike, have been targeted by terrorists and extremists. Our schools and our places of worship have been attacked. This day brings us together to remind us of the great struggle and commitment that accomplished the state of Pakistan. Today Pakistan needs the same efforts and commitment from its citizens to unite against evil forces. We must forget our differences and reclaim our country. A country where there is harmony and tolerance, education and prosperity, and people can live in peace and continue to strive towards success.”
Following this address, a number of esteemed guests spoke at the podium, including Dr. Jannah Scott, Deputy Director of DHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Artesia Councilmember Ali Sajjad Taj, the Deputy Chiefs of Protocol of Orange County and LA County, and the honored guest for the occasion, Sherriff Lee Baca. Other esteemed guests included the Deputy Consul General of China and Deputy Consul General of Turkey. Plaques were presented to the Consul General by the LA Mayor’s office, the Deputy Chiefs of Protocol of Orange County and LA County, and the City of Artesia. In addition, the Consul General presented a plaque to Sheriff Lee Baca in recognition of his long-standing support for the Pakistani community.
After the flag-hoisting ceremony, guests gathered round to cut a large cake of the Pakistani Flag, and then to enjoy a traditional meal, catered by Karachi Tandoori Restaurant. Patriotic music, performed by Arshad Ali and his wife Shazia Ali, set the mood for the celebration.
Pakistan Resolution Day is a reminder to Pakistanis across the globe of the importance of remembering the struggle our ancestors waged in creating our country. Simply remembering and celebrating is, however, not enough. It is vital that as Pakistani-Americans, we make sustained strivings to unite against the angst currently present in our country. For some, this means going to Pakistan and fighting the battle hands-on. For most of us, however, it starts with simple steps, like educating others about the beauty of Pakistan, and all that it has to offer the world. It begins with us speaking out against the injustices that are taking place in the country against civilians, innocents, and minorities, which are in conflict with the vision of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. It means uniting together as a powerful community and rising above the negative stereotypes and perceptions that have been stacked against us. It means persevering, and succeeding.
This resolve was succinctly spelled out by Zahra Mirza, a 23-year-old graduate student in the screenwriting program at USC's School of Cinematic Arts: "As a person of Pakistani heritage living in a country where my nationality is questioned and scrutinized, I take pride in celebrating Pakistan Day. My country and its independence are part of my identity, and I will wear them just like every other American wears their freedom and rights in the United States. To me, Pakistan Day commemorates pride and persistence-- two invaluable qualities. It is imperative for every Pakistani-American to reflect these values and be proud to have Pakistani nationality in such a diverse, politically dynamic world."
Stay proud. Pakistan Zindabad.