“Dil Dil Pakistan” is probably the most used phrase on August 14th every year as millions of Pakistanis around the world celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day. The endearing phrase translates to “Pakistan, my heart.” This year, Pakistan turned 73 years old and Pakistanis across the world celebrated in their own patriotic ways. Celebrations in Pakistan fill the streets with men and women adorned in white and green—the colors of the flag, as families race to the beaches of Karachi to watch the gatherings come together. For those that avoid the city’s commotion, they celebrate at home with families by decorating their homes with lights and mini paper flags. Sweets are shared, laughter roars, and tons of selfies are taken.
A Pakistani American family loudly and proudly celebrates Pakistan’s Independence Day in Houston: see video here: Pakistan Independence Day in Houston
Across the globe in the US, however, your local Indus Arts Council board members celebrated in a much simpler way that still embodied their patriotism. Nida Qureshi celebrated “Jashn-e-Azaadi” by enjoying the things that reminded her of her time spent in Pakistan. She dressed up in traditional white and green shalwar kameez, listened to 90’s pop heartthrob Junaid Jamshed sing “Dill Dil Pakistan,” while sipping on Pakistan’s wannabe-national soda, Pakola.
Aamir Hafiz spent 14th August by reading about the historic events that lead to the country’s birth and paying homage to the brave people who sacrificed their lives for its creation. He reminisced on his childhood memories of decorating his house in Pakistan with flags while surrounded by family members who still live back home.
Gule Andrabi and her family started their day by exchanging greetings and videos in their family WhatsApp group which brought back beautiful memories. Her grandkids sent a wonderful patriotic picture that showed their love and appreciation for where their mom and grandparents came from. They also shared different songs and shayari (poetry) with one another to celebrate the day.
Sara and Shahid Iqbal, the founders of IAC, celebrated the independence day as a 2-for-1 special. They went to a five-star restaurant and celebrated with their kids, not only Pakistan’s Independence Day but also their 14th wedding anniversary. “I celebrate the “independence” of my country since I gave up my freedom a day earlier when I got married,” says Shahid Iqbal. He jokes light-heartedly as Sara gives him a snarky stare.
Gule put it best, “COVID or no COVID, it is the spirit that counts on Pakistan’s Independence Day.” How did you celebrate Pakistan’s 73rd birthday?