Pak community celebrates Independence Day

Illinois Secretary of State addressing the gathering.

CHICAGO: Celebration of Pakistan’s official Independence Day on Sunday August 14 was postponed to Saturday, Aug 25 due to Ramadan. It was the 24th annual Parade which was also dubbed as Taste of Pakistan festival.
The parade stepped off from Devon and Damen Saturday 12:30 noon, and ended at 2 pm. Weather God smiled on the Parade participants who flocked in large numbers. The streets of Devon were crowded with families screaming in pride “Pakistan Zindabad!” and “Happy Independence Day!” Men, women, and children all were dressed in their traditional white outfits with a green shawl.
Among the first line of people to walk in the parade were Grand Marshall Akhter Ali (Business leader and community activist) Chief Guest Congresswoman 9th Dist Jan Schakowsky, Guest of Honor: IL Sec. of State Jesse White, Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, Appelete Court Judge Jesse Reyes, First elected Pakistani American Judge Pamela Leeming, First elected Arab American Judge Bill Haddad, MWRD Commissioners Frank Avila, Mariyana Spropolous, Chicago Park dist Comm Rouhy Shalabi, City of Chicago Human Relations Comm Mona Noreaga, Parade Chairman Raja Yaqub. Twenty colorful floats rolled down the streets of Devon Ave while children and youth performed dances.
The program on stage began with prayer, the American national anthem and then the Pakistan national anthem. After the national anthems ceremony the floats slowly sailed thru.
Raja M. Yaqub Chairperson for Independence Day Parade said that despite corrupt politicians and military dictators having ruled Pakistan, we must have hopes and will never be disheartened. “Pakistan stands for unity and love of humanity, pluralism, and equality. Pakistan is a nation of people who resolutely persevere, no matter what obstacles come in the way,” he said.

Consul General of Pakistan, St Louis USA Azfar Malik and Zaheer Pervaiz Khan, Consul General of Pakistan, Chicago, had their messages read out to the public.
The upshot of the message was that Pakistani community members must continue to improve Pakistan’s image as truly modern, dynamic, progressive and democratic Islamic state that is open to have close friendly relations with all nations of the world on the basis of equality, sovereign integrity, principles of justice and mutual respect for each other. Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Senator Mark Kirk couldn’t make it to the celebration; however they sent letters to congratulate the Pakistani community.
About 2,000 people attended the Mela. Delicious assortment of Pakistani food was served. Also present were many different varieties of stalls of shops to browse from.

Asian Media USA

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