Sada-e-Watan Sydney ™


President PAA, Mr. Shahid Iqbal

Pakistan Association of Australia celebrates 67th Independence Day of Pakistan in Campsie, Sydney

(Photos by S. Abbas Naqvi)

Pakistan Association of Australia celebrated 67th Independence Day of Pakistan on Saturday, 31 August 2013 at Orion Function Centre Campsie.  The Hall was theme decorated by Taj Mahal events.  His Excellency Mr. Abdul Malik Abdullah was the Chief Guest for the program that was also attended by the Consul General Abdul Aziz Uqaili, Community Welfare Attaché Sardar Balakh Sher Khosa and Consul Shifaat Ahmad Kaleem.  A large number of Federal, State and Council representatives joined 400 plus strong crowd from the local Pakistani community.  Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Hon Tony Burke represented the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Australian Labor Party while Mr. Ron Delezio, Coalition candidate for Watson represented Hon Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition. Mr. Delezio read out a message from the Hon Leader of the Opposition.  NSW State Opposition Leader Hon John Robertson was represented by Hon Guy Zangari, MP for Fairfield whereas Hon Charles Casuscelli, Member for Strathfield represented Hon Victor Dominello, State Minister for Citizenship and Communities.  First Pakistan Origin Australian Member Legislative Council NSW Dr. Mehreen Faruqi, represented the Australian Greens.  The other dignitaries included long-term friends of local Pakistani Community Hon Shaoquett Moselmane MLC, Hon Amanda Fazio MLC, Hon Paul Lynch MP from Liverpool and Mr. Craig Laundy, Liberal Candidate for Reid NSW.  The event was also attended by Lord Mayor of Canterbury Mr. Brian Robson, Deputy Mayor Karl Saleh and Councillor Michael Hawatt from the City of Canterbury.  All prominent members of the Pakistani community in Sydney also attended this biggest event of the Pakistan Calendar, which included past Presidents and office bearers of the Pakistan Association of Australia like Mr. Iftikhar Rana, Dr. Shabbir Haider, Mr. Ejaz Khan, Qalbe Abbas Rana and Dr. Akram Hassan.

Cultural Secretary of the Pakistan Association of Australia, Raja Taseer requested eminent Scholar Molana Nazeer ul Hassan Thanvi for recitation of Holy Quran to start the event.  It was followed by a Na’at e Rasool Maqbool (SAWAW).  National anthems of Australia and Pakistan were played live by Mehreen with the entire audience joining her unequivocally in loud voice.  Raja Taseer then invited Dr. Abbas Rizvi, Secretary of the Pakistan Association to speak about Pakistan along with a brief presentation.  Dr. Rizvi presented Pakistan in a positive and inspirational manner and concluded his presentation on a positive note about Pakistan.  He referred to ‘Half-empty, half-full’ phrase and Malala. In his words “Malala was shot from close range but thankfully she survived.  Malala is a Pakistani, surely, certainly and beyond doubt – those who shot at Malala may be or may not be the Pakistanis.  Do not look at Pakistan from the uncertain and unsure view of those who shot at her but look at Pakistan from sure, certain view of Malala – View from Malala is Pakistan, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Pakistan”.  This set the tone for the rest of the program and when Dr. Rizvi invited eminent singer Shagufta Zia for a national song, her beautifully written and composed song carried this message too. 

Raja Taseer then invited the President of the Pakistan Association, Mr. Shahid Iqbal who continued with the same positive image of Pakistan message.  Mr. Shahid Iqbal also formally welcomed and thanked the distinguished guests from the High Commission of Pakistan, Consulate Office, Federal and State Parliaments, City of Canterbury Council and the community.  He strongly emphasized on the contribution of the local Pakistanis towards the nation building of Australia while at the same time making stronger than ever contributions towards the development of Pakistan.  The President presented the Special Award to Mr. Javed Choudhry for his great voluntary community work with special reference to free funeral service that he has been offering for many years now.

Dr. Abbas Rizvi then informed the audience about a changed format of the program.  Our next generation is the hope for Pakistan, he said and invited young Nabeel Hassan Rana to speak about the Independence of Pakistan. Representing our young children, Nabeel spoke very well and received a rousing applause from the audience.  This followed the film “Hum Zinda Qaum Hein” specially made by Such News TV Channel, Pakistan for this event.  The film was followed by a special performance by the kids.  The inspirational performance by the kids received an unprecedented admiration by the audience as it carried the message of hope as its theme.  It was written, produced and choreographed by Mrs. Shafaq Arif.  Khurram Naqvi won the hearts of all those present with the live national song “Aih Watan, Payare Watan, Pak Watan, Pak Watan”. 

Hon. Minister Tony Burke was invited by Dr. Abbas Rizvi and he picked the message of hope from kids performance.  He specifically mentioned Pak-Australia collaboration in fight against terrorism and said that hope is what will continue to strengthen our relationship. Hon. Tony Burke mentioned his 15 year friendship with Zafar Hussain Shah of Sada-e-Watan Sydney. After his speech, he presented Pakistan Association of Australia Community Service Awards to eminent Pakistanis Molana Nazeer ul Hassan Thanvi and Dr. Shabbir Haider with President Shahid Iqbal also present on stage.  Mr. Ron Delezio representing Leader of the Opposition Hon Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party of Australia spoke about the positive role of the local Pakistani community.  He also read a greetings message from Hon Tony Abbott.  In his message Mr. Abbott while congratulating the community on the 67th Independence Day also assured that he will continue to work closely with the community.  Mr. Delezio with the President Mr. Shahid Iqbal then presented Pakistan Association of Australia Special Award to Mr. Iftikhar Rana and Haji Mahmood Yousaf for their contributions towards Pakistani community. Mr. Iftikhar Rana worked tirelessly in lifting the profile of Pakistan Association of Australia and this was duly and deservingly acknowledged.

Raja Taseer introduced Hon Mehreen Faruqi MLC to speak on behalf of the Australian Greens but being an Australian of Pakistan Origin, she was also requested to speak on behalf of local community.  Dr. Faruqi spoke about the role of her family in the Independence movement and congratulated the audience on this auspicious occasion.  Along with the President Shahid Iqbal, Dr. Faruqi presented Pakistan Association of Australia Special Award to Mr. Shabbir Iqbal and Ms. Shashi Lal for their contribution and support to local Pakistani community. 

Dr. Abbas Rizvi then invited Hon Amanda Fazio to present awards for the Young Pakistan Association Cricket Tournament, Hasnain Jaffrey and Talal Shah were called to the stage.  It was announced that the tournament will become a regular program of the Pakistan Association of Australia Calendar.

At this stage, he invited the Chief Guest HE Mr. Abdul Malik Abdullah to speak on this occasion.  Before his speech though, he requested the Chief Guest to present the Pakistan Association of Australia Inaugural “Lifetime Achievement Award” to Mr. Arif Rana.  Mr. Rana was one of the senior most producers of Pakistan Television.  While he is famous for “Neelam Ghar”, an idea that he conceived, produced and presented in 1970’s, it is his work in numerous TV Dramas, Tele-films and most significantly the best of the music shows that Pakistan Television has televised in its history to-date that was acknowledged.  He spent a lifetime on such beautiful work, his efforts were duly acknowledged with lifetime achievement award and it was not a surprise view to see the entire audience standing and applauding while Mr. Rana was receiving this award.

The Chief Guest HE Mr. Abdul Malik Abdullah spoke about the strong Pak-Australia ties history, the situation today, the courage and resolve Pakistan has shown in its fight against terrorism and added confidence to the message of hope, as he firmly believed that success is the only result we will achieve.  He appealed to the Australian Government to review its travel advisory level for Pakistan as Pakistan is what is presented today.  He also stressed the need to increase the trade between the two countries.  His speech was a beautiful end to the first half of the program and received a thunderous applause from the audience when he finished with reiterating hope and confidence message for our community and our nation.  Two beautiful kids Hiba and Sodes presented flowers to the Chief Guest and Hon Guy Zangari MP on stage.

Raja Taseer then announced proceedings would come to a break for dinner. This was followed by Independence Day cake-cutting ceremony lead by Chief Guest HE Mr. Abdul Malik Abdullah, Shahid Iqbal, Dr. Abbas Rizvi and the entire Executive Committee of the Pakistan Association with all guests joining too. The program post-dinner started with an English song by two young girls and was followed by the performance of guest singer, Ustad Shaukat Manzoor from Pakistan.  World famous Ustad Shaukat Manzoor needs no introduction, but Raja Taseer still spoke and introduced him to the best of his capabilities as it is a difficult job to introduce the Sufi singer of his stature. He sung his world famous Sufi songs and created an atmosphere hardly witnessed before.  He performed for more than an hour and when Raja Taseer announced the closure of the program, people were still requesting Ustad Shaukat Manzoor to continue. Pakistan Association of Australia thanked all the dignitaries and guests for attending before proceedings were closed.


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