SUKKUR: After having celebrated Eid with religious fervour, Pakistanis are now gearing up to show their patriotic zeal on Independence Day, August 14.
The sale of national flags, colourful buntings, banners and pictures of national heroes have increased sharply, despite the recent wave of inflation.
The most enthusiastic are children who are busy collecting stickers and flags to decorate their houses.
“Last year, I made a fortune by selling national flags, buntings, badges, caps, bangles and other items,” said a roadside vendor, Mohammad Perwez, while talking to The Express Tribune. This year, he said, people seem worn out after having spent much money on Ramazan and Eid, but even so they are visiting different stalls to express their love for their country.
“Inflation has gone up, but let me say that Pakistan is a brave nation and it can face such challenges,” he said.
Spending in Ramazan and for Eid is different from spending on Independence Day celebrations, said Zahooruddin, who had come to buy a national flag and other accessories with his son. “We take pride in calling ourselves Pakistani. Besides recognition, Pakistan has given us so much. We owe to the country. But, I am sorry to say that we have grown up with the habit of taking and not giving back,” he added.
Pakistan, he said, is lagging behind because of lack of sincere leadership, otherwise it has the potential to rule Asia.
Many feel burdensome when it comes to spending for August 14, said another customer, Abdul Aziz, but on other occasions they are not so stingy.
Aziz shared that since his childhood he would spend whatever he could for decorating his house on this auspicious occasion. Talking about the recent tensions on the Line of Control, the patriot was of the view that soft policies of the country encouraged India to indulge in such “cowardly acts”. There is no doubt that we are a peaceful nation, but we should not be so lenient with other nations that they start considering us a soft target, he stressed.
Naeem belongs to the poor class. He is looking for some bangles for his sisters. He said that his father earned too little to spend on such “luxuries”, but his sisters had saved their pocket money for spending on Eid and Independence Day.
We have been using the same national flag for last six years to observe the day of freedom. His mother, he said, on the other hand, was not in favour of spending on such occasions because she believed Pakistan was meant for the elite class and not the poor.
Shopkeeper Zubair is sitting idle on his stall. He says he has made only Rs200 since morning. People want to celebrate this occasion like Eid, but rising inflation has marred its joys, he lamented.
Many people blame the past PPP government for skyrocketing inflation, but are optimistic about the current PML-N government, which has broken all records in just three months, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2013.