Pakistan Independence Day | |
Independence Day (Urdu: یوم آزادی; Yaum-e Āzādī), observed annually on 14 August, is a national holiday in Pakistan. It commemorates the day when Pakistan achieved independence and was declared a sovereign nation following the end of the British Raj in 1947. Pakistan came into existence as a result of the Pakistan Movement which aimed for the creation of an independent Muslim state by division of the north-western regions of South Asia. The movement was led by the All-India Muslim League under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The event was brought forth by the Indian Independence Act 1947 under which the British Raj gave independence to the Dominion of Pakistan (later the Islamic Republic of Pakistan) which comprised West Pakistan (present-day Pakistan) and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In the Islamic calendar, the day of independence coincided with Ramadan 27, the eve of which, being Laylat al-Qadr, is regarded as sacred by Muslims.
The main Independence Day ceremony takes place in Islamabad, where the national flag is hoisted at the Presidential and Parliament buildings. It is followed by the national anthem and live televised speeches by leaders. Usual celebratory events and festivities for the day include flag-raising ceremonies, parades, cultural events, and the playing of patriotic songs. A number of award ceremonies are often held on this day, and citizens often hoist the national flag atop their homes or display it prominently on their vehicles and attire.
In 1946, the Labour government in Britain, exhausted by recent events such as World War II and numerous riots, realized that it had neither the mandate at home, the support internationally, nor the reliability of the British Indian Army for continuing to control an increasingly restless British India. The reliability of the native forces for continuing their control over an increasingly rebellious India diminished, and so the government decided to end the British rule of the Indian Subcontinent.:167, 203 In 1946, the Indian National Congress, being a secular party, demanded a single state. The Muslim majorities, who disagreed with the idea of single state, stressed the idea of a separate Pakistan as an alternative.:203 The 1946 Cabinet Mission to India was sent to try and reach a compromise between Congress and the Muslim League, proposing a decentralized state with much power given to local governments, but it was rejected by both of the parties and resulted in a number of riots in South Asia.
Eventually, in February 1947, Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced that the British government would grant full self-governance to British India by June 1948 at the latest. On 3 June 1947, the British government announced that the principle of division of British India into two independent states was accepted. The successor governments would be given dominion status and would have an implicit right to secede from the British Commonwealth. Viceroy Mountbatten chose the second anniversary of Japan's surrender in the World War II as the date of power transfer. He chose 14 August as the date of the ceremony of power transfer to Pakistan because he wanted to attend the ceremonies in both India and Pakistan.
The Indian Independence Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo 6 c. 30) passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom divided British India into the two new independent dominions; the Dominion of India (later to become the Republic of India) and the Dominion of Pakistan (later to become the Islamic Republic of Pakistan). The act provided a mechanism for division of the Bengal and Punjab provinces between the two nations (see partition of India), establishment of the office of the Governor-General, conferral of complete legislative authority upon the respective Constituent Assemblies, and division of joint property between the two new countries. On 14 August 1947, the new Dominion of Pakistan became independent and Muhammad Ali Jinnah was sworn in as its first governor general in Karachi. Independence was marked with widespread celebration, but the atmosphere remained heated as communal riots marked the independence of Pakistan in 1947. The act later received royal assent on 18 July 1947.
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