Pakistan marked its 75th Independence Day with commemorative ceremonies across various cities. A trove of celebrities also took to their social media handles to share their hope for peace and prosperity. Saba Qamar, Shaan Shahid, Adeel Hussain, Zhalay Sarhadi were among the many public figures who wished their fellow countrymen 74 years of Independence.
However, in light of recent events, many also asked the point of celebrating a day of liberation when minorities and women had seemingly been ripped off of their freedom. Case in point, blasphemy charges against an eight-year-old Hindu boy for urinating in a local seminary, whose bail only prompted an attack on a Hindu temple by a mob in Bhong village in Rahim Yar Khan, a far-right Islamist political party workers' alleged attack on the Shia community at Martin Road, a 27-year-old woman's gruesome murder at the hands of a rich bachelor in the capital, attack on the house of Khadija Siddiqui after her attempted murderer was granted freedom, as well as the several reported accounts of rape and patriarchal violence against women and children.
Thus, taking to her Instagram Stories, Ushna Shah wrote, "I'll celebrate Independence Day when the minorities in Pakistan are given economic, physical and religious securities, as well as the civic liberties promised to them, the very promise, which laid the foundations of this country. ‘We’ means all of us and ‘we’ aren't free. Let's not kid ourselves."
In a post shared on her Insta handle, she continued: "Get rid of draconian man-made laws that target minorities. Reprimand people who harass/hurt minorities and their businesses. Share your glasses with Hindus, Sikhs, Christians etc. Protect Ahmedis even if you disagree with them. End the Shia-Sunni divide and let EVERYONE practice their faith openly and freely. Protect the Hazaras. Befriend people of different religions and learn about their customs and faiths, not to betray your own but out of respect and acceptance of them! Be the independent country you sing about. Honour the promises made by Jinnah, Let him be more than a decorative portrait. Stop using derogatory terms for Christians! Give the Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Jewish (yes, even Jewish) communities a fair chance to work in higher and respectable professional positions. BE the songs you wave your flag to. Create the Pakistan that should be Zindabad."
Actor Alizeh Shah also shared a video questioning the idea of ‘Yaum-e-Azaadi’ to ask if Pakistani women were really as ‘Azad’ (free) as their male counterparts.
“Who do I wish freedom to? The rapists who are still roaming freely because of whom so many women in Pakistan are not allowed to work, go outside without taking someone with them, or even drive around the highway with their family? Forget a regular girl; even celebrities can’t wear what they want over here. Even if you have something negative to say about someone, why take the burden of their sin on your head? Why not stay quiet? Moreover, if you’ve been granted the freedom to use social media as you please, use it wisely. Do not put the lives of other people in danger. Azadi sirf apki nahi, sabki hai (Everyone has the right to freedom).”
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