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August 14, 2020

Many happy returns of the day, Pakistan!

Islamabad

August 14, 2020

While there are many negative thinking people from all walks of life who pose the question – some of them in their newspaper columns, others in conversation or while giving statements - ‘What is there to celebrate?’- there are many Pakistanis who are optimistic and want to mark the occasion in one way or another, be it by hoisting a national flag on their rooftops or vehicles; playing national songs; dressing in green and white clothes and so on. By the way, have you ever noticed that the majority of less privileged persons fly the flag – maybe it makes them happy to be kind of ‘equal’ to the VIPs they see nearly every day going to and fro with flags flying on their cars! If you notice, most of the privileged ones tend to ignore this show of patriotism that grips us once a year!

Now that the lockdown is over there are going to be a number of official functions – hopefully following SOPs. Those who do not attend these celebrations in person will watch them on television and feel a surge of pride and nationalism - maybe only for the duration of the ceremony - when national songs are sung by school children and dull speeches full of rhetoric and empty promises are made by uninspiring political figures!

Since the days are hot and clammy even when it rains – a nightmare for those organizing any type of event - the evening hours will see more social activity by all segments of society. The well to do will gather in hotels and other exclusive places or may have organized gatherings or musical evenings – that is if they are not nervous about being in a crowded place due to the COVID 19 pandemic that has haunted our lives for months! On the other hand the ‘hoi polloi’ – including hundreds of boys on motorbikes - will go out to eat at their favorite joint then go and have a look at the illuminated buildings with music and horns blaring at an equal pitch and no thought about it being safe or otherwise. The majority hold the belief that death is ordained for when your time is up and no power on earth can stop it, so why stop living? Street urchins and other naughty boys will explode fire-crackers on roads and streets but for once there will be no complaints.

Pakistan Paindabad!