The nation is celebrating the 59th Independence Day on Sunday with a renewed pledge to work hard for making the country prosperous, moderate and an Islamic democratic welfare state.
The day will dawn with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and a 21-gun salute in all the provincial capitals. Special prayers will be offered after morning prayers.
Silence will be observed at 7:58am Sunday morning after the sounding of sirens to herald the flag-hoisting ceremonies throughout the country. All traffic will stop for a minute.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz who will be the chief guest, will unfurl the national flag at the flag-hoisting ceremony to be held at the Jinnah Convention Centre here at 8am.
Later, he will deliver his special message to the nation for the Day. School children will also present national songs on the occasion.
Read Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s message to the nation on independence day, 1947:
It is with feelings of greatest happiness and emotion that I send you my greetings. August 15 is the birthday of the independent and sovereign State of Pakistan. It marks the fulfillment of the destiny of the Muslim nation which made great sacrifices in the past few years to have its homeland.
At this supreme moment my thoughts are with those valiant fighters in our cause. Pakistan will remain grateful to them and cherish the memory of those who are no more.
The creation of the new State has placed a tremendous responsibility on the citizens of Pakistan. It gives them an opportunity to demonstrate to the world how can a nation, containing many elements, live in peace and amity and work for the betterment of all its citizens, irrespective of caste or creed.
Our object should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with our immediate neighbors and with the world at large. We have no aggressive designs against any one. We stand by the United Nations Charter and will gladly make our full contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world.
More here. Listen to the speech here. President Musharraf has conferred 192 civilian awards on the occasion of independence day, including a Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (Medal of Distinction) for the brilliant Pakistani artist Shahzia Sikander:
Shahzia Sikander was born in 1969 in Lahore, Pakistan. Educated as an undergraduate at the National College of Arts in Lahore, she received her MFA in 1995 from the Rhode Island School of Design. Sikander specializes in Indian and Persian miniature painting, a traditional style that is both highly stylized and disciplined. While becoming an expert in this technique-driven, often impersonal art form, she imbued it with a personal context and history, blending the Eastern focus on precision and methodology with a Western emphasis on creative, subjective expression. In doing so, Sikander transported miniature painting into the realm of contemporary art. Reared as a Muslim, Sikander is also interested in exploring both sides of the Hindu and Muslim “border,” often combining imagery from both—such as the Muslim veil and the Hindu multi-armed goddess—in a single painting. Sikander has written: “Such juxtaposing and mixing of Hindu and Muslim iconography is a parallel to the entanglement of histories of India and Pakistan.” Expanding the miniature to the wall, Sikander also creates murals and installations, using tissue paperlike materials that allow for a more free-flowing style. In what she labeled performances, Sikander experimented with wearing a veil in public, something she never did before moving to the United States. Utilizing performance and various media and formats to investigate issues of border crossing, she seeks to subvert stereotypes of the East and, in particular, the Eastern Pakistani woman. Sikander has received many awards and honors for her work, including the honorary artist award from the Pakistan Ministry of Culture and National Council of the Arts. Sikander resides in New York and Texas.
More on Shahzia here.