Faizan Javed  - Pakistan’s Independence Day, which is annually held on August 14, celebrates the country’s independence from the British rule on that date in 1947. This day is an occasion to promote patriotism and national unity.

People all over Pakistan celebrate Independence Day with patriotic zest. Many people who attend the Independence Day parades dress up in green and white, which are the Pakistani flag’s colours. People visit national monuments and places of national significance to celebrate Independence Day.

Lahore city markets are flooded around Pakistan’s Independence Day with a variety of Pakistani flags bearing images of cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Superman, or Hollywood personalities on one side, and historic figures, including Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal, on the other.

The sale and purchase of national flag, in all sizes and shapes, is gaining momentum with every passing day but at the same time the trend of variations in making and printing of flags is not less than a surprise where different techniques have surprised the citizens.

The flags with pictures of national leaders, missiles and even printing of different cartoon characters are available in the markets and people are buying them without knowing what message being conveyed through these variations.

Around the world no one can see such mockery of the national flag, whereas the practice is being followed for last few years and no one has taken any notice. People, especially the youngsters, love to hoist flags on their vehicles.

People have lack of knowledge and awareness and most of the people do not know the history and importance of the national flag that is why printers print different cartoons on the national flag by their own choice. The national flag of Pakistan was adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, three-day before the country's independence, when it became the official flag of the Dominion of Pakistan. It was afterwards retained by the current-day Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The flag is a green field with a white crescent moon and five-rayed star at its center, and a vertical white stripe at the hoist side. Though the green colour is mandated only as 'dark green,' its official and most consistent representation is Pakistan green, which is shaded distinctively darker.

The green colour represents Islam and the majority Muslims in Pakistan and the white stripe represents the minorities. In the center, the crescent and star symbolizes progress and light respectively.

White and green is our identity, the symbol of peace and freedom, representing green majority and white minority and changing its colour is akin to changing our identity. The Pakistani flag with crescent and star is sometimes made with unwanted additions in it e.g. Quaid’s portrait, face of political leaders, etc. Worst is adding up of pictures of cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse, which is disrespectful. Slogans are written on it along with greetings or other words or phrases. Adding to it, sometime children and even elders forget to take care of the national flags and buntings after the 14 August. They must take care about the dignity of the flag. 

This distortion of our graceful flag is an irresponsible attitude and affects the dignity of our beloved flag. Our National flag should only fly high. I hope people will play their part by buying the real flag of Pakistan and the authorities will soon take notice of this issue and will ban such flags. n