Preparations are underway to mark the Independence Day. The provincial government has also announced free Metro Bus rides on August 14, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will be the chief guest at a public meeting at Aiwan-i-Iqbal. The programme was earlier slated to be held at the Hazoori Bagh but the venue had to be changed due to a rain forecast.
Public buildings will be illuminated and decorated with flags and buntings. The district administration will also display flags and streamers in several parts of the city.
The Transport Department has issued a notification telling relevant authorities to provide free transport to Metro Bus passengers on August 14.
The provincial government will bear the cost. A Transport Department official said that security would be enhanced to avoid any damage to the buses.
Metro Bus officials said it would provide people easy access to the Minar-i-Pakistan and Iqbal’s mausoleum.
The Lahore commissioner held a meeting in his office on Monday, with senior city administration and Parks and Horticulture Authority officials to review arrangements for the day.
Various stalls selling flags, badges and streamers have propped up around the city. A large number of people flock to these stalls to buy rings, ornaments, masks, bracelets and glasses depicting the national colours. The prices of these items range from Rs5 (for rings and earrings) to Rs1,000 for a large flag.
Mian Abdul Aziz, a shopkeeper who has sold Independence Day paraphernalia for two decades, said that the stalls were more about patriotism and fun than only profits. He said that he enjoyed selling flags even though he made only around Rs1,500 a day from his stall.
Babar Ali, a potter who has set up a stall on Wahdat Road near Aabpara Market, said that business would pick up on Tuesday, a day before Independence Day.
He said that he and his relatives had set up eight stalls on Wahdat Road on August 10. “We expected more business during Eid holidays, but that did not happen,” he said, “We mostly sell to bikers and children.”
Hamza Shah, a citizen, has had his car painted green and white for August 14. He said that putting up flags, wearing badges and decorating buildings was a way to appreciate the sacrifice of those who struggled for the country.
“We should pledge to do something for the country, no matter how small the gesture,” Shah said, “I spent Rs20,000 to get my car painted.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2013.