LAHORE / Karachi - ARSHAD BHATTI/ FARAZ ISRAR - Preparations to celebrate the 66th Independence Day are in full swing around the country.

The sale of national flags, buntings, stickers, badges and pictures of national heroes are on the rise. People, especially youth, could be seen busy purchasing such stuff in various markets of their cities.

Printing presses are busy day and night to print the items that are in great demand. Besides, vehicles could be seen on roads painted with national flags colours, which shows the enthusiasm of the people to commemorate the country’s Independence-Day. Cities have been shadowed by green look as jumbo-size national flags are being hoisted on public and private buildings.

The sellers of the Independence day related items are hoping good as they claim that sales had hiked this year. They said last year Independence day fell before Eid and people were more interested in Eid shopping but this year the day was following Eid and people specially youth are more excited to celebrate two events back-to-back.

The city markets and streets wear a festive look, as a number of temporary stalls of national flags, buntings, stickers and badges are set up at different points.

The Independence day which is linked to the great sacrifices rendered by of the forefathers to create a homeland for the nation has a source of motivation and love for the homeland. It is the day to renew the pledges and passion to serve the country.

On August 14, the day would dawn with 21-gun salute in the provincial capital on the eve of Independence day. Various flag hoisting ceremonies, conferences and seminar would be held while special prayers would be offered in mosques for the prosperity, integrity, and sovereignty of Pakistan.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will launch an Enrolment Emergency Drive on the Independence day in a ceremony to be held at Hazoori Bagh. The educational institutions have planned various activities to mark Independence day in a befitting manner on Augusts 14 (Wednesday).

Like Lahorites, the Karachiites are warming up to celebrate the Independence Day. Citizens have started hoisting national flags at the top of their houses, apartments and building while the rows of buntings can be seen stretched along with the streets poles.

Numerous road-side stalls have been witnessed in various localities of the city, selling national flags in different sizes while a large variety of buntings, badges, souvenirs, caps, arms-bands, ribbons, portraits of the national leaders are also placed for the sale. Children of all sections of society especially school children are flocking to the stalls to buy national flags and other items for celebrations, their most attractive and favorite variety of 100 buntings at Rs 50 are available at stalls including various varieties of colorful badges starting from Rs 20 to 200.

According to the vendors the demands of the buntings, flags and other accessories placed for the sale in connection with the Independence Day celebrations has been increased and the citizen are rushing at stalls to get the items according to their choices.

Shahid Saleem, a citizen buying buntings and national flags from the road-side stalls, told The Nation that the holy month of Ramadan was ended with two great occasions i.e. Eid-ul-Fitr and the Independence Day. This is really wonderful for the nation to have two great occasions one after another. Besides this, public and private educational institutes are planning for the special functions for the day that include competitions of national songs, speeches, quiz competitions, poetry contests, games and stage plays. Similarly local, multinational restaurants and resorts have also planed to organise “Azadi Mela” with lighting their business spots for the families.

Meanwhile Students of Karachi University Chemistry Department organize rally on Monday to demonstrate their fervor by marching out from the department to the University Administration block they chanted slogans “Pakistan Zindabad” and sang national songs while at the end to rally all the students recited national anthem. Following the rally the department of chemistry was beautified with the colorful bunting, ribbons, balloons, and national flags.  

The enthusiasm of the Independence Day will reach its peak on the evening of the 14th day of August when youth comes out in large number mostly on motorbikes and cars to demonstrate their fervor by parading across the city waving national flags and playing national songs.