By Beena Inam Shamsi, MMNS
March 23rd has a great significance in the history of Pakistan. The historic Lahore resolution, commonly known as the Pakistan resolution, was passed on that day in 1940. Muslims in India demanded the separate homeland that would eventually come to be Pakistan.
The people of Pakistan commemorate this day each year with great fervor and enthusiasm.
The Pakistan Association of America (PAA), a Non-profit social organization serving the Pakistani community in America, celebrated the Pakistan republic day on Saturday March 22 at the Bella Banquet, located in Warren at E 14 Mile Road.
The former president of PAA, Naveed Ashraf, currently serving as the board director, helped revolutionize PAA by bringing a lot of members and initiating the annual event and the Pakistan Festival.
â€œPeople come here regardless of what they do for living and regardless of what part of Pakistan they are from. It is for everyone. People are from all background, all languages of Pakistan. And they are here only for one reason only, for Pakistan,â€ Ashraf said.
Turnout for the event was around 500 people, who came dressed in colorful ethnic dresses. The highlight of the function was the comedian Ayaz Khan, from Pakistan.
Ayaz Khan, an engineer by profession, misses Pakistan every time he leaves it.
He felt something was missing in the Pakistani people at the function, he said.
â€œWhen people are away from their country, they miss it further and this feeling always remains with them. I see this in them.â€
Another performer was a well-known singer, Alamgir, who took the stage at midnight.
Saima Salim, a doctor attending the function with her family, felt the function was a bit disorganized.
â€œIt is a very big community we are not organized but we are getting there,â€ Salim said.
For her two daughters, she wished there was something like a clown show or some sort of activity where kids could sit down.
Hafiz Amin Anjum, another board director for PAA, wants to build a relationship amongst various Muslims as well as Pakistani community that can go on to generations, he said.
â€œThe whole purpose is to let people come together so that people can socialize with each other and develop a Pakistani culture within the community,â€ Anjum said.
The number of people attending these functions varies, Anjum said, depending on the advertisement.
â€œThese functions are pretty much funded by our community. People like you and people like me that are middle class people. Those are the people who attend them and this organization is funded by these people,â€ Ashraf said.
During their first meeting in January, PAA scheduled the events for whole year in advance.
On Sunday March 30, they have a women only event on Seerat-ul-Nabi (s). They will have an outdoor picnic in July and a Pakistan Independence Day function in August.
â€œThat one event in August is free of cost. That is the reason we have two major events in the year and small ones throughout,â€ Ashraf said.