Celebrating Independence Day — how many of us know?

Omar R Quraishi
By Omar R Quraishi August 14, 2015 09:50

Celebrating Independence Day — how many of us know?

Have we fulfilled the promises and pledges that our Founding Fathers made when the country came into being or have we fallen short? The answer may be different for every Pakistani but here is one vision — often quoted — that the Quaid had about the country he helped create.

For instance, how many of us know or have read the much-spoken-about speech that Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave on August 11, 1947, to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan? In it, among many things he said the following:

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State”

Furthermore, how many of us know that according to the India Independence Act of 1947 — which formalised the partition of the Subcontinent into two sovereign states India and Pakistan — the bifurcation was to take place at midnight between August 14 and August 15. This, technically, would make it August 15.

The first page of the India Independence Act, 1947


Furthermore, the Press Information Department of the newly-formed nation of Pakistan issued a commemorative flyer on the country’s first independence day celebrations and the date is clearly mentioned August 15, 1948.

A commemorative flyer issued by the Government run Press Information Department for Pakistan’s first anniversary


Also, the country’s first stamp carried the date August 15, 1947 and a scan of the stamp can be seen below

Pakistan’s first stamp


Furthermore, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of Pakistan in 1989 published a collection of speeches by Jinnah. In this, titled “Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah: Speeches and Statements as Governor-General of Pakistan 1947-48″ is one with the heading “Peace Within, and Peace Without” on pages 55-56. Here is an excerpt from from it:

“Inaugurating the Pakistan Broadcasting service on August 15, 1947, Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah issued following message to the nation: ‘It is with feelings of greatest happiness and emotion that I send you my greetings. August 15 is the birth day of the independent and sovereign state of Pakistan”.

Those from the older generation say that for a couple of years Independence Day was indeed celebrated as August 15 but this was soon changed to a day before, so that the country could celebrate its independence a day earlier than India and that it would be separate from its eastern neighbour. Secondly, there has always been a view that August 14 in 1947 was the 27th of Ramazan, i.e. Lailatul Qadr and hence that was a very august day for the birth of a state premised on being a homeland for the Subcontinent’s Muslims.

While there is no controversy over the date now, one wonders how many people even know about it, given that the kind of history that is taught in schools and colleges is not exactly objective and free from ideological direction.



Omar R Quraishi
By Omar R Quraishi August 14, 2015 09:50
  • Gratgy

    lol! Even the date of Independence day taught in Pakistani schools is fabricated

  • Ifzal Syed

    The writer is mostly correct, but had made a big blunder which most literate and journalist also fell for and that is stating that two countries born were Pakistan and India. It’s fabrication. India was partitioned into two soverign countries: Pakistan and Bharat. It was later that Indian Parliament adopted the name ‘India’ as Republic of India and are since trying with the help of their media including bollywood to brain wash the world that this modern india is also the ancient india. History is with the land and not with the adopted names. If you dig out the modern india or Bharat, not a single ancient civilisation is there. All ancient civilisations belong to the land of Pakistan. Just like Persian history is now owned by today’s Iran being the same land, ancient Indian history belong to the present land Pakistan.

  • Ifzal Syed

    Most of the things said in the article are correct other than a blunder where the author writes “…India Independence Act of 1947 — which formalised the partition of the Subcontinent into two sovereign states India and Pakistan”. Look into 1947 UN maps or documents and the truth will prevail that the Act divided India into two new Sovereign states Bharat and Pakistan (India was partitioned and transformed into these two new states). It was later that Bharat parliament with the blessing of Mountbatten, adopted the new name Republic of India. It is irony that due to this very act, the rightful history that only belongs to the land of Pakistan has been syphoned by Republic of India using its media, including Bollywood. Reality remains that the present Republic of India or Bharat has no civilisation of its own. History belongs to the land, not to adopted names, just as Persian history belongs to its land – now Iran.

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