Interfaith Celebration of Independence Day on 14th August, 2021

Peace Center and URI Pakistan jointly organized program to celebrate the Independence Day of Pakistan on 14th August, 2021 at Peace Center. The chief guest of the program was Vice Provincial of Dominicans in Pakistan Fr. Younas Shahzad OP. There were many distinguish guests joined the celebration; Fr. Patrick Peter OP, Fr. Akhtar Naveed OP, Mr. Iqbal Sani, Ms Naureen Akhtar, Mr. Nasir William, Mr. Minhas Ilyas and Dominican Brothers. URI and Peace Center staff members: Fr. Taufiq Younas OP, Sr. Sabina Rifat, Ms Neelam Nisari, Mr. Asher Nazir and Mr. Faisal Ilyas hosted the program.

A tree was planted in garden area of Peace Center and all the guests were standing in the honor of National Anthem. Along with chief guest Fr. Younas Shahzad OP, honorable guests beamed the candle of peace and hoped to bring peace in the homeland.

Celebration format was interfaith based both Christians and Muslims community representatives joined the program. Prayers offered from both faiths.

Fr. Taufiq Younas warmly welcomed all the guests and flowers presented to the honorable guests. “I’M PAKISTAN”, while giving welcome note, he said “We proudly say that we are Pakistani Christians and independent. I wish all a very happy Independence Day and thank you for joining the interfaith celebration of 74th Independence Day.”

Fr. Younas Shahzad OP vice Provincial of Dominicans in Pakistan appreciated the whole program, and congratulated everyone the 74th year of Independence of Pakistan. I also heartily congratulate to Fr. James Channan OP Director Peace Center and Regional Coordinator URI Pakistan, now in USA and joining us virtually, receive my wishes. He said “Freedom is a precious gift of God and we are thankful to God for the freedom we got after so many sacrifices; many Christians freedom fighter sacrificed their worthy lives, and we know their names. Later in the wars our Christian heroes fought for the sovereignty of Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. Now it depends on us, how to flourish in the fields of education, medicine, science, technology, literature and other fields. I’m happy that many women, children and youngsters are celebrating independence; it should be our collective effort to upgrade the national goals. May God bless you all and have a very happy independence day.”

Fr. James Channan OP shared his message virtually and said “I’m in USA now, but I would like to celebrate the Independence Day with you all. I congratulate a very happy Independence day too all Pakistanis. We are Pakistanis, and proudly we go around the globe. We own the land because there were many Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh brothers, sisters and even children who sacrificed their lives. I wish a very prosper future of Pakistan. May God bless you all, and I am very happy to see all beautiful faces of our wonderful guests. I’m very thankful to Fr. Younas Shahzad OP, Fr. Akhtar Naveed OP, Fr. Patrick Peter OP and all our brothers to join the celebration. I also congratulate and say thank you to Fr. Taufiq Younas OP, Sr. Sabina Rifat, Ms Neelam Nisari, Mr. Asher Nazir and Mr. Faisal Ilyas for arranging a blissful program. God bless you all. Thank you very much!”
Mr. Iqbal Sani principal of Zain Model School congratulated all and prayed to God that “May God bless us with prosperity and freedom from the ignorance we have in our homeland. He mentioned his interfaith practices and advised to all together we can achieve more. Furthermore he invited his school children for performance. The performance of school students was wonderful. A female student delivered very eye opening speech how we can pay our good role for the progress of Pakistan.

Fr. Akhtar Naveed OP appreciated the organizers for organizing such a beautiful program. I congratulate everyone for celebrating the independence day of Pakistan. I always admire the amazing programs of Peace Center. On this beautiful occasion, I would like to share that we should accept one another with open heart, our country is our identity and yes I’m Pakistan!

Sr. Sabina Rifat Coordinator URI Women Wing Pakistan, she shared her poetry about freedom and said “I’m very much thankful to God for freedom. I can understand the situation of Kashmiri people, they are suffering, and in curfew since 5th August, 2020. We also pray for their freedom, because freedom is the precious gift of God. Please receive my warm wishes of Independence.”

Fr. Patrick Peter OP said “I’m blessed to be Pakistani, and free to exercise my religion. We  organize huge programs, masses and other religious events, government provide security to our institutions. We are confronting some challenges as well but there are many good aspects as well. Once again congratulations and have a very happy independence day all.”

Dominican Brothers sung National Songs and audience joined them. In the end Cake cutting ceremony was done by the honorable guests.   

Prepared by:

Faisal Ilyas

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Peace Center is very important institution which is playing a significant role in spite of all the difficulties we are confronted with. A couple of Dominican Friars are active in Christian- Muslim dialogue and they are well known both nationally and internationally for promoting Christian-Muslim dialogue. It is top priority of the Dominican Order in the world and in Pakistan as well.
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