New York : Madison Square Garden was packed with thousands of Pakistanis wanting to show their love and support for a ‘Naya Pakistan’. Being physically away from Pakistan and that too right after the historical elections, this was their chance to adorn their Pakistani shirts, proudly wave the Pakistani flag next to the American flag and celebrate what’s to come in true patriotic spirit. And celebrate they did!
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio inaugurated the event and welcomed everyone to the parade and event on a hot day in NYC. He emphasized the remarkable diversity that American Pakistanis bring to the United States. This diversity was on full display at the Pakistan Independence Day Parade and Fair on Madison Avenue in New York City. It was a highly anticipated event that attracted spectators from the five boroughs and beyond.
The Pakistan Independence brochure being shared had encouraging welcome messages from congressmen, NYPD police chief, the borough heads, and the Counsel General of Pakistan, to name a few dignitaries.
Throughout the day, Pakistani patriotic songs played as floats and excited happy people walked the 15 block stretch of Madison Avenue, from East 38th street to East 23rd street, culminating on Madison Square Park.
The icing on the cake was a live performance by none other than the nation’s heart throb, Atif Aslam. As always the crowd was thrilled by his live performance where he gave it his 101 per cent, mesmerizing the crowd comprising all age groups and all socio economic statuses.
Atif gave the crowd what they desired – a lot of diverse singing including his popular songs, some of the popular Bollywood songs (which became a problem), and paid tribute to Reshma Ji by requesting the crowd to give her the due respect while he sang his rendition of ‘Lambee Judai’.
Atif is a complete crowd pleaser and a great performer and put on a show and a rather long one at that – in the 95-degree heat of a New York summer afternoon. He performed for a good five hours only taking a small break in the middle. During this break the frantic crowd followed him to his van and kept waving the Pakistani flag as they chanted his name.
He joked around, stuck his face out of the van window, signed autographs, snapped selfies, and made sure staying out in the heat was worth the audience’s effort.
“I was really surprised to see how hard core Atif’s fans are and how patriotic people living in the US are! Everyone stayed out in the scorching heat open for Atif’s performance.
I loved that Atif interacted with the audience and even caught my eye a few times and smiled or made a funny face at me!” Amal Siddiqi, a 10-year-old girl living in New Jersey commented after the show.
All in all, the parade was well organized, safe, and there was no misbehavior at all. New York City had provided ample policemen to create an organized safe environment where everyone had a great day and created wonderful memories with their families and friends.