KARACHI: Independence Day preparations across Karachi were seen to be coming along with unusual enthusiasm on Thursday that included a number of activities such as rallies, fireworks and other functions organised by several organisations and institutions amid improving law and order that has buoyed the confidence of the public to a large extent in the violence-prone metropolis.
Hundreds of stalls of flags and other Independence Day-related souvenirs in all districts of the city emerged as another feature as traders said that unlike in the past, the situation had improved significantly this year that allowed such brisk activity.
“The change in this year’s August 14 compared to the past years is quite obvious,” said Atiq Meer of the Karachi Tajir Ittehad, an association of 300 market and traders’ associations. “We have witnessed tremendous sale of national flags and other products. The people of Karachi celebrate Independence Day every year with national zeal but this year with better law and order and a secure environment has multiplied their celebrations.”
Much of this is because of the prominent involvement of the armed forces, who have been carrying out an operation in the city vowing to cleanse the city of its corrupt and criminal elements. “My apartment is nearby the Corps Commanders, Karachi, office in Napier Barracks and I saw army personnel displaying an extraordinary number of flags. I will not be surprised if tomorrow morning there is a 21-gun salute,” said a Saddar resident.
|Illumination at Wazir Mansion.—White Star|
“Nearly everyone in my building was installing flags in their balconies, something that I haven’t seen in a long time. The Lucky Star roundabout in Saddar is covered with green and white lighting. The run-up to August 14 seems more than Eid celebrations in the city,” he added.
According to him, the message being sent out is that with the improvement in law and order, the city is thriving economically. “It is more about Pakistan and hence projecting more patriotism.”
At Karachi University hundreds of students marched from the Arts Lobby to the main Silver Jubilee Gate with a huge national flag while the neighbouring NED University of Engineering and Technology organised a cake-cutting ceremony attended by students and faculty members.
At key traffic intersections, including Numaish, Ayesha Manzil, Karsaz, Qayyumabad, Quaidabad, Tower, Do Talwar, Landhi No 6, fireworks were organised by different organisations. Though most of the events are scheduled for Friday, a few organisations couldn’t contain their enthusiasm and came out with plans for Thursday.
Beggars too were not far behind and also tried to capitalise on the celebratory mood. They were seen sticking tiny flags on car windshields and demanding Rs20 for their service.
Moreover, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) organised a rally from Karsaz to Numaish where Majlis-i-Wahdat-i-Muslimeen staged fireworks in the early hours of Independence Day. A rally of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Youth Wing from Lasbela concluded at the Mazar-i-Quaid and the PML-Q announced fireworks outside the Karachi Press Club in the small hours of Friday.
Fashion designers had created special Azadi wardrobes, offering big discounts. Mobile phone companies were also offering Independence Day discounts.
Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2015