By Mnahil Khan
Whenever I hear of 14th of August, it always means more than merely a date to me. It represents home, family, culture, and most of all infinite amount of love for the country and the people that call it home. August 14th marks the Independence of Pakistan- a country where I was born and raised, a place that provided me with countless memories, laughter, and love. Independence Day itself was celebrated with such public spirit and nationalism that no one would be able to resist but get on board with all the preparation that took place; subsequently the feelings of joy and patriotism felt on the day itself.
The flag of Pakistan is a unique one. It is symmetrically perfect. Furthermore, it has been conceived in such a way that it symbolically includes all its members equally. However, in reality it is not true. The white in the flag is meant for the inclusion of minorities. Despite this symbolism, with every growing day Pakistan seems to lack religious freedom more than ever before. As a result of the close-minded ideology, minorities such as Ahmadis, Shias and Christians are increasingly being met with growing violence and bloodshed. Mosques belonging to Ahmadi Muslims have been destroyed, and every possible effort has been taken into account to silence their voices around the country. Growing up I remember trying to hide my religious affiliations from the people that I used to interact with every day, as I knew that I would be alienated, and discriminated against.
When I moved to America it felt like I stepped into fresh air- air free of oppression and adversity; air where I could be true to my identity without fearing the consequences. I could practice my faith and religion the way I wanted to, being able to go to the mosque and pray without fearing for one’s own security. I would not have to hide my roots, and try to live a life that my religion guides me to live.
However, despite its flaws and imperfections Pakistan still is, and always will remain a part of our identity no matter where we go. Hence, we should appreciate Pakistan’s accomplishments and the small steps it keeps on taking towards betterment, and keep praying that one day it will live up to the words depicted in the National Anthem- “The order of this sacred land, The might of the brotherhood of the people, May the nation, the country, and the state, Shine in glory everlasting!”
The writer is currently a student in Virginia, USA.