New Year, Same Story: A Recap of Aug. 14th in Pakistan

Pakistan experienced a rare day of warmth celebrating the creation of their nation this Sunday, August 14. The people of Pakistan, who have been thirsty for a reason to celebrate as a nation due to the internal challenges that the country faces, were able to finally quench their thirst.

This Independence Day, sales of patriotic items and goods, exceeded previous sale records, reaching Rs. 50 billion. The streets were filled with both the young and the old, celebrating their nations day with great fervor and energy. Pakistani’s were able to escape, even if for a moment, the grim realities that their state faces.

The mostly ceremonial President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussein, during his speech to the Pakistani assembly focused primarily on domestic affairs and urged the nation to come together so that it can prosper for future generations. He pledged to fight corruption and illiteracy among the various challenges that the state faces. He also honored the sacrifices and competency of the military, currently engaged in a military operation known as Zarb-e-Azb, and honored those who had fallen victim to the scourge of terrorism. Additionally, President Hussein went on to comment on the civil unrest in Kashmir and reiterated his support for the region. Furthermore, he commented on the economic prosperity that will be brought within the region due to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif echoed similar sentiments as President Hussein, and dedicated Pakistan’s seventieth Independence Day celebration to the people of Kashmir, who in Islamabad’s eyes, are engaged in a struggle for self-determination.

The following day, Sharif’s counterpart in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, marking India’s Independence Day, retorted that the “people of Gilgit, Balochistan, and Pakistan occupied Kashmir have thanked me.” The rhetoric from both Islamabad and New Delhi further escalated tensions with border skirmishes occurring across the Line of Control in Kashmir, as the countries celebrated their respective independences.

In the face of these increasing tensions, a sense of decorum continued to be held by both Pakistan and India with both P.M.’s exchanging Independence Day felicitations, and the exchange of sweets, also known as “Mithai Diplomacy”, between security forces at the Wagah Border. A tradition in which soldiers of both nations trade sweets on special occasions such as Diwali and Eid.