WASHINGTON, Aug 15 (APP): Thousands of Pakistani Americans braved scorching heat to celebrate Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day on Sunday in a sign of unity with their motherland, vowing to contribute their share in the country’s development and prosperity.
Between 12,000 to 15,000 people, mostly women and children, gathered at the Bull Run Park in the State of Virginia, part of the Washington DC metropolitan to celebrate the occasion organized by Pakistan Festival USA, an event which is organized every year for the last 30 years in a row.
Most of the women and children wore dresses of Pakistan’s traditional green and white color to express their love for their motherland. The huge ground wad tastefully decorated by Pakistani flags and pictures of landmarks.
“I am very pleased to extend my heartfelt greetings to the organizers of “Pakistan Festival USA” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a message to the organizing team of the event.
He said hosting of event at such a scale was an honor and proud achievement.
The Prime Minister said that as the nation celebrates its Independence Day, all Pakistanis should feel proud of the achievements made in the past three years.
“Our economy is back on track; terrorist activities have been contained to a large extent and days are not far off when we will purge our country from the menace of extremism.”
The Prime Minister acknowledged the contribution by Pakistani expatriates, to the development of the country, saying that all Americans of Pakistan origin have been contributing handsomely to the foreign exchange reserves in the shape of remittances. He also acknowledged their services in the field of education and health services.
Mr. Khizyar Khan, a Pakistan American and father of a fallen Muslim soldier who gained unprecedented fame by criticizing Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump at the convention of Democratic Party also attended the function and addressed the gathering. Trump had angered American Muslims by suggesting that all Muslims should be banned from entering the United States.
He urged people to fully respect the Constitution of their adopted country but called on them to know and understand their rights protected by the law and stand for them. Mr. Khan asked them to elect people who stood for the country and rights of all people regardless of religion, caste, creed or ethnicity.
Being held of 30 consecutive years, Pakistan Festival USA has become a forum for Americans of Pakistani-origin to celebrate the day together.
States’ governors, lawmakers and other US government officials have regularly attended the annual daylong event which draws tens of thousands of people, mainly from the states of Virginia, Maryland and the Capital Washington DC.
More than 100 stalls were set up at the event by vendors, most of them selling Pakistani dresses and artifacts. About a dozen vendors also came from Pakistan, popular among them were famous fashion designerJ Dot ( Junaid Jamshed) and House of Ittehad from Faisalabad.
In a rare gesture, the US Navy had sent a 30-member drill team to participate in the celebrations. States of Virginia and Maryland have officially declared August 14 as Pakistan’s Independence Day.