Pakistan is celebrating Independence Day today - here's how the country was formed

Friday, 14th August 2020, 1:36 pm
Updated Friday, 14th August 2020, 2:07 pm
People hold national flags as they gather during Independence Day celebrations in Karachi (Getty Images)
People hold national flags as they gather during Independence Day celebrations in Karachi (Getty Images)

Millions of Pakistanis are marking the 74th anniversary of the country’s independence from British rule and the day it was declared a sovereign state.

Celebrations will centre around the country’s capital Islamabad where the national flag will be hoisted above the presidential and parliament buildings, followed by a rendition of the national anthem and speeches from President Ariv Alvi and Prime Minister, former cricket player, Imran Khan. 

Across the country parades and celebrations will take place, while millions of residents will hoist the distinctive green and white Flag of the Crescent and Star above their homes.

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What are the origins of Independence Day in Pakistan?

During much of the 19th century, the area making up modern-day Pakistan was ruled by the British Empire.

Following the Government of India Act in 1858 the British crown assumed direct control of the Indian Subcontinent.

Throughout the early 20th century popularity grew for a Muslim state independent from the rest of India. 

Calls for independence from British rule growing through to the 1940s alongside increased Muslim nationalism and in 1940 the Lahore resolution was presented which called for the creation of an independent state for Muslims. 

Following World War Two, a Labour government conceded that Britain no longer had popular mandate for rule on the Indian subcontinent at home or abroad. 

In 1947 Clement Atlee announced that India would be divided into two separate states, India and Pakistan, a decision which would result in the displacement of millions. 

On August 14, Pakistan became independent and Muhammad Ali Jinnah was sworn in as the country’s first Governor General.

How is Pakistani independence celebrated today? 

Typically in the build up to August 14, shop stalls and shops are set up across the country selling bunting, banners and posters emblazoned with the green and white of the Pakistani national flag. 

The day itself begins with prayers at the country’s mosques. 

This is followed by celebration parades, with citizens typically dressed in green and white, and family and friends gathering to enjoy Pakistani food at home or in public places. 

Firework shows, concerts and TV addresses  also take place. 

The country’s national flag is hoisted above buildings of political significance as well as the homes of regular Pakistanis, while speeches are made by political leaders. 

Tributes are also paid to members of the Pakistani army and those who lost their lives during the turbulent partition years.