Written By: Maha Waseem (Turkey)
They say there are certain sounds that take you back in time. Memories that indeed transcend time and place. “Lab pe aati hai dua ban ke tamanna meri”, an excerpt from Allama Iqbal’s famous poem; as an 8 year old in Montessori, humming this poem collectively during morning assembly was our daily ritual. I still feel the heaviness in my heart I felt back then, even though my tiny head was indeed too small to comprehend the influx of sacrifices that brought Pakistan into being, today I feel each word deeply etched in my brain. If I keep my eyes shut for too long now, my thoughts almost turn black and white, a little part of me flies back to 1940, a series of events I have pictured in my mind through all the stories and textbooks foretold and over-read. Today I stand on soil that warmly accepts me but I cannot call my own, today I long to be standing on the piece of land that brought me up and instigated in me the bright hues of the past and the future.
Pakistan Day is more than just a holiday signifying the Lahore Resolution of March 23, 1940 or the embarking of Islamic Republic of Pakistan on March 23, 1956, it is an esteemed event of collective experiences that reflect the staunch reality that we were, are and will continue to bleed green. Today, although I deeply long to witness the parade I have been witnessing every year as per tradition, I know the spirit of patriotism will forever persist.
Pakistan Day Parade by the Pakistan Armed Forces is the highlight of the celebration each year, previously held at Constitution Avenue now at Shakarparian Parade Ground in Islamabad. At dawn, special prayers are offered for peace and prosperity followed by the national anthem beautifully sung with the flow of the bright green flag commences the much awaited parade of the year. The line-up includes Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, Northern Light Infantry, Islamabad Police, female officers of the Armed Forces, nursing services, boys scouts, girl guides and Special Services Group all coming together to remind us of the values and the country we take pride in. The parade is never short of Cobra gunship helicopters and F-16 fighter jets. But most importantly, it is never short of Pakistan and patriotism. With large crowd gathered to witness the parade, there are millions more watching online, myself included this year. The roots of struggle sowed seeds of prosperity Pakistan as a nation will continue to aspire to achieve.
This, coming from the generation that seeks to shoulder and carry all the hopes of the nation and move towards a bright future envisioned, I truly pray I could give back to the country with utmost loyalty. And while I take a deep breath and long to be back home on this fine day, I can’t help but smile at the fact that no matter how much the geographical distance, I will always carry my home within my heart regardless of how far this massive whiff of nostalgia blows me away.