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Pakistan’s heritage extends to the wider Commonwealth and New Zealand

Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi

Homage to Pakistanis on their 75th Independence Day today (August 14, 2022)

Melissa Lee
Wellington, August 14, 2022

What greater ideal could there have been but that the people of your nation should be free of domination of all!

Free.

Begum Jahanara Shahnawaz 1947

This month as we acknowledge the 75th year of (Pakistan’s) Independence and Pakistan taking its seat as a sovereign country in the congress of nations is important to reflect on the endeavours, hopes and dreams of its people and how they have benefited our world for the better over many generations forged through a history of struggle, determination and resolve for a brighter future.

The heritage of Pakistan is global. It now transcends the borders not only of its geographical frontiers from the Himalayas to the shores of the Arabian Sea, but also now extends into the communities of the wider Commonwealth and New Zealand.

The Pakistani Community of New Zealand is valued for its contributions to our country from the sprawling suburbs of Auckland City to the Western Hills of Lower Hutt. Our Pakistani neighbours are doctors and shopkeepers, they are teachers and they are students. They all have something to contribute to New Zealand and their cultural value is fundamental, like all our 213+ ethnicities, they are vital to the Kiwi way of life.

In reading the early accounts of the Pakistani National Assembly in the days after independence a single word keeps being repeated across the many diverse representatives of the newly born Federation of Pakistan.

Shehbaz Sharif has been the Prime Minister of Pakistan on April 11, 2022

Dream.

They all spoke of Pakistan as a dream. An aspirational hope. A dream finally realised in independence for its people of all creeds and races from Lahore to Karachi, a dream that carries through to the modern year where Pakistani peoples have been able to innovate and build upon the dreams of their predecessors. The cultural infusions of Pakistani Cuisine, Cinema, Arts and Economic prowess have grown year to year internationally and here in New Zealand. Pakistani culture and communities are now offering new ideas for our own dreams and imagination across the economy.

This year, when Pakistani Independence Day is acknowledged across New Zealand I will be in Korea commemorating the heritage of my own birth nation. The Korean Independence Day that falls on August 15th, immediately after Pakistan’s own is known as The Day that the Light Returned, Gwangbokjeol. Much like Pakistan’s own story, it celebrates the liberation and triumph of a people awaiting their independence for years and achieving their future through trial and adversity. The celebrations of Gwangbokjeol, like Pakistan Independence Day, will be heard across New Zealand and around the world. Celebrating our individualities, our freedoms and our peoples is emblematic of the diverse comradery New Zealand respects and values.

As we celebrate this independence day of the Pakistani Nation, we celebrate the community, the culture and the country’s legacy on the world.

With best wishes to all people this Pakistan Independence Day.

Youm-e-Azadi!

Melissa Lee is Member of Parliament on National List and the Party’s Spokesperson for Broadcasting & Media, Digital Economy and Communications and Ethnic Communities.

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