Pakistanis in New York City hold 75th anniversary Independence Day Parade

In the shadow of calamitous floods back home, hundreds of Pakistani-Americans gathered in New York City Sunday for the Pakistan Independence Day Parade marking 75th anniversary of the establishment of their homeland, with Ambassador Masood Khan saying it was a day,”we can be proud of”.

Masood Khan, who is Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, was the chief guest at the annual parade, which remained suspended for two years as the world fought the coronavirus pandemic.

The New York Mayor, Eric Adams, also joined the event at which men, women and children — mostly clad in national dresses — chanted “Pakistan Zinda Bad” and “Quaid-e-Azam Zinda Bad” slogans.

Pakistan’s Consul General in New York, Ayesha Ali, especially drew attention to the greater presence of women, saying it reflected that they were gaining leadership positions.

Ambassador Masood Khan, Mayor Adams and Consul General Ayesha Ali urged the gathering to keep in mind the plight of the victims of the devastating floods in Pakistan and donate generously to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

“I stand with you,” the mayor said, as a loud applause rang out.

Raising slogans and waving the Pakistan and US flags, Pakistani-Americans, standing along the route, warmly cheered the parade as it moved down one of New York City’s main avenues.

For the first time, a group of Pakistanis serving the New York Police Department (NYPD) marched with the parade. The group of 150 was led by Adeel Rana, the first Pakistani deputy inspector in NYPD.

Twelve decorated floats, with some depicting Pakistan’s progress in various fields, while others sponsored by local Pakistani businesses, also wound their way down the avenue.

Bands on the floats and on the ground struck up patriotic songs.

On the stage, Ambassador Masood Khan was welcomed by Assad Chaudhry, finance secretary of the parade committee, who he said has had an illustrious career after completing his studies with flying colours.

In his remarks, the ambassador said Pakistan is suffering from the adverse impacts of climate change which is affecting all countries. The situation, he said, was difficult but Pakistan was a resilient nation and would build back better.

He told the gathering that the Pakistani government has appealed for international help, and the UN and the European Union would launch flash appeals soon.

Speaking on the occasion, most community leaders, while expressing their views about the significance of the day, also praised Consul General Ayesha Ali for the yeoman services she was rendering to her compatriots to their entire satisfaction. They said that she attends all their functions and gives sympathetic hearing to their problems.

The Parade Committee presented plaques to Ambassador Masood Khan and Consul General Ayesha Ali as well as to Mayor Adams.

The proceedings were conducted by the parade committee’s Secretary-General Munir Lodhi.

The parade was rounded off with a cultural programme. Local singers Nadeem Abbas and Saeeda Malik enthralled the gathering with patriotic and other hit songs.

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