Citizens plan to celebrate Independence Day on the streets and roads of the city today, while official ceremonies to mark the day will be held at various places.
The Express Tribune spoke to a variety of people about their plans for the day. Motorcyclists and car drivers said that they planned to go for drives, particularly on The Mall, to celebrate. Some poor vendors and donkey cart owners said they would not be celebrating because they were too busy with trying to survive.
Ali Dogar, a car driver, said that he had bought a Rs5,000 flag for his car and he planned to travel on The Mall with his friends in a group of 10 cars on Independence Day.
Motorcyclists Mian Usman and Muhammad Imran also said that they had bought flags for their bikes and they would travel in a convoy of 30 motorcycles to Liberty and then The Mall. “Everyone should forget their routines and just come out on the roads to show the people of other countries that we love Pakistan,” said Usman.
Rana Arslan, 12, Arisha, 3, Mishal, 4, and Muhammad Awais, 9, said that they had bought buntings, badges, stickers and flags and they would decorate their houses with them because they loved their country. They said they planned to celebrate the event with a special meal at home with relatives.
On the other hand, some poor vendors and donkey cart owners said they would not be celebrating Independence Day this year. “I don’t have enough money to feed my children. How can we celebrate?” said one cart owner. Another said that he would put up a flag on his cart.
Vendors sellling colorful buntings, flags, banners and picture of national heroes from roadside stalls said business was good but not great. Kamran, a vendor at Liberty Market, said that he was happy that he had sold a flag for Rs4,000, but he was getting fewer customers than in previous years.
The city district government has organised a flag-raising ceremony at Hazoori Bagh at 9am (today) where Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will be chief guest. Rangers personnel will host a flag at the border check post at Wagha in a ceremony at 8am and lower it at 5pm. Rangers Punjab Director General Major General Hilal Hussain will be the chief guest.
The Punjab Assembly will also hold a ceremony, at 8:58am, with Speaker Rana Iqbal Khan hoisting the national flag. Rescue 1122 has also organised a flag-hoisting ceremony at the Emergency Services Academy, Shama Chowk, Ferozpur Road at 9:00am.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2011.