Aug 15, Colombo: The High Commission of Pakistan and the Pakistani community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 66th Independence Day of Pakistan with traditional fervor and resolve to make Pakistan a strong, dynamic, progressive, tolerant and democratic Islamic welfare state, the High Commission said in a release.
The High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Seema Ilahi Baloch hoisted the national flag of Pakistan in an impressive ceremony at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo.
Subsequently, the Messages of the President, Prime Minister and the High Commissioner of Pakistan were read out.
The President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari in his message said that "falling in the holy month of Ramzan, it is the most important date in our national calendar."
" On this day in 1947 our long and hard struggle for independence against foreign domination was crowned with success and a new state was born wherein we could fashion our lives and destiny in accordance with our culture, values and aspirations. On this day our heads bow in gratitude before Allah and we are beholden to our founding fathers who under the leadership of the Quaid achieved a separate homeland for us. While it is natural to rejoice today in our independence celebrations, it is also an occasion to pause and ponder over whether we have moved towards or away from the ideals for which Pakistan was created."
In his message, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Raja Pervaz Ashraf said that "Pakistan appeared on the world map through a democratic struggle and its progress and prosperity lies in continuation of the democratic system as well. The present coalition government has undertaken various historic initiatives during the last four and half years and pursued a policy of reconciliation. The passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment empowered the federating units administratively as well as politically. The consensual adoption of the 7th National Finance Commission Award increased the share of provinces in the federal divisible pool. We have also refashioned our country's foreign policy in accord with Parliamentary guidelines and national interest. Besides, Benazir Income Support Programme, a flagship programme of the government, has focused on women empowerment and welfare of the poorest segments of society.
In her message on the occasion, the High Commissioner of Pakistan Seema Ilahi Bloch said that "In a highly challenging environment and in a globalised world, robust trade and economic linkages in open economies are a key to sustainable relations. The trade and business communities of both our nations, therefore have a crucial role to forge common bonds between our two developing societies in their march towards economic prosperity and a bright future. It is the private sectors of both countries which must enhance their interaction and complement each other mutually and beneficially in the march forward. Our two nations have a promising future. As Pakistan grapples successfully with some significant challenges, its direction and course ahead is solidly defined as a progressive, moderate, tolerant and prosperous society. Following consistent economic performance over the last five years, despite the odds there is hope for the future. The people of Pakistan are committed to stay the course."
A large number of Pakistan community, High Commission officials, dignitaries, media men and others attended the ceremony.