LAHORE: BARGAD, a youth-development organisation based in Gujranwala, Friday organised a festival 'Commemoration of Pakistan' at the Punjabi Complex to celebrate Pakistan's 70th Independence Day.
The festival was organised in collaboration with the Punjab Institute of Language, Art, and Culture (PILAAC), Punjab Youth Affairs Department and Punjab Chief Minister's Special Monitoring Unit (SMU). Featuring of an inauguration session, a panel discussion on 'Way forward for a peaceful Pakistan' and a musical programme, the festival was attended by 500 participants, including students, parliamentarians, civil society members and celebrities.
Minister of Education Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, while congratulating the organisers remarked, "Celebration of Pakistan's 70th Independence Day with such grandeur represents a progressive and peaceful Pakistan. We, as a nation, are developing at a rapid pace. To keep up, a message of harmony and tolerance needs to be spread time and again."
Nayyer Iqbal, Youth Affairs Department secretary, commented on the energy of the youth and encouraged their participation, "In order to celebrate the true essence of Quaid's Pakistan, active engagement of the youth is required in affairs of the society and the state. For the purpose, assist each other in every way possible to promote open-mindedness and equal opportunities for all citizens."
PILAAC Director General Dr Sughra Sadaf said, "The PILAAC would never miss an opportunity to highlight the heroic efforts of our forefathers."
BARGAD Executive Director Sabiha Shaheen briefed the participants about the 'Ten Days for Pakistan' campaign. She said that the campaign was an effort to promote togetherness, diversity and unity and to celebrate the true essence of Quaid-i-Azam's Pakistan. After her address, a panel discussion on 'Way forward for a peaceful Pakistan' was held. The panellists included: MPA Dr Nausheen Hamid, SMU Head Fatima Zaidi, Professor Dr Ghazala Irfan, Professor Shahid Gul, Hindu Sudhar Sabha Secretary General Aroon Kumar and serviceman Aziz Massih. SMU Head Fatima Zaidi added, "Pakistan is a land of diverse people with diverse backgrounds. We must celebrate this diversity in order to celebrate what makes Pakistan special." MPA Dr Nausheen Hamid contributed to the discussion by highlighting the efforts that could be made to promote equality through parliamentary forums and legislative drafts. "By doing so, we will be successful in fulfilling Quaid-i-Azam's vision of a peaceful Pakistan."
Dr Ghazala went on to speak on the importance of understanding and accepting differences of opinion. She said, "Society is a series of contradictions. To understand a societal aspect we must look at both sides of the story. Belief that only and only your perspective is right leads to an inability to understand one another. Through the dialogue we can learn to not only understand but also accept diversity." Kumar stated that involving the marginalised portion of Pakistan's population would ensure many more prosperous years to come.
In the end, a musical programme was staged in which the bands - B-square and Solar Canvas enchanted the audience. Dr Sughra Sadaf, Taranjeet Singh and Tahira Habib moderated proceedings of the festival.
The festival was part of a campaign, entitled 'Ten Days for Pakistan', which is running in the month of August to commemorate the Pakistan's 70th Independence Day. The purpose of the campaign is to celebrate inclusion, diversity and unity. Apart from holding of the festival, other features of the campaign include 'Arz-e-Pakistan March' in the city today (Sunday).
Published in Daily Times, August 13th 2017.