NEW YORK: A large number of Pakistani-Americans gathered at New York City’s Madison Avenue on Sunday for the annual Pakistan Independence Day Parade marking the 68th anniversary of the establishment of their homeland.
They raised loud “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans and waved the national flag, as the parade moved along the flag-bedecked avenue from 41 streets to 23 streets on a bright sunny day, with gentle breeze blowing across the city.
Men, women and children — mostly clad in national dresses –participated in this annual event in an unwavering show of enthusiasm and liveliness as they exchanged Independence Day greetings. The crowd this time was much bigger than in the past two years.
Pakistan’s Consul General in New York, Raja Ali Ejaz was the chief guest. He underlined the significance of the day and Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s golden words to the new nation: Unity, Faith and Discipline. Olympian Manzoor junior, a hockey great, was the Grand Marshal of the Parade.
The New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was represented by the City Comptroller John Liu, who praised the contribution of the Pakistani community to the development and progress of the city.
About a dozen floats, with some depicting Pakistan’s progress in various fields, while others sponsored by local Pakistani businesses and political parties, also wound their way past the dais. Spaced out in the parade were bands which struck up patriotic songs.
The parade was rounded off with a cultural programmed in which well known singers Rahim Shah and Jawad Ahmed were among those who entertained the crowd. They received thunderous ovation. Despite some tensions in a section of the crowd, the event passed off peacefully and in good spirit.
The Pakistan Day Parade Committee organized the event in which many people were involved. But there were also some criticism of the body.