New Promises Needed To Bring Meaning To Pakistan’s Independence Day

Twelve-year-old Ibtassam Shakil, a student at English Grammar school in Lahore, is the younger brother of author Amber Shakil. He is celebrating Independence Day. (Amber Shakil/YJI)
LAHORE, Pakistan – Thousands of people gave their lives so that their children could live in a separate homeland here in Pakistan.
We remember the sacrifices and unlimited hard work of the nation’s most prominent leader, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, known here as “Quaid–e-Azam”
or “great leader.” He was an Indian politician who worked to create an independent Pakistan on this date in 1947, along with our first Prime Minister Liaqat
Ali Khan, the political poet and thinker Muhammad Iqbal and Syed Ahmed Khan, who pushed for education for Muslims. 
The day means a lot to every Pakistani, so every year, the whole country celebrates it with patriotic songs. A flag hoisting ceremony is the main part.
Starting August 1, every street, home, hotel and market is decorated to pay tribute to those who gave their lives for their homeland and to thank Allah for this special gift for all Pakistanis.

For Independence Day in Pakistan, everything is green, even the cones for ice cream. (Amber Shakil/YJI)

On this holiday, Pakistanis spend it remembering our national heroes and singing patriotic songs.

People set up stalls for face paintings and selling bands, badges and flags for Independence Day.

But can celebrating this one month, or this one day can make this country a better place?
We all are living our lives happily but have we ever thought about those children who were brutally murdered in their Peshawar school last December 16?
What is our responsibility? A few days ago I was shocked to see a video of a fire in a plaza here. The video showed a man trying to save his life by hanging on to a third floor balcony. He tried to hang there for as long as he could but after several minutes his hands slipped and he died.
During that time, people stood by watching and taking video, doing nothing. NOTHING AT ALL!
This is why those people will celebrate Independence Day? Our country was achieved by the sacrifices of our ancestors so that we can live happily, but now here are fire brigade and rescue teams that cannot reach and save people in time and energy load shedding problems that impact many citizens.
But it seems people are concerned only with their own lives. So why did our ancestors gave theirs?
Let all of us make a promise to ourselves that we will do everything possible to help others, to raise our voices against cruelty, to do whatever it takes to make Pakistan the place our ancestors wanted so that our next generation can celebrate this day together and with true happiness. 
YJI Senior Reporter Arooj Khalid contributed in the editing of this article. Amber Shakil is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International                                
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