Mera Pakistan, Meri Pakistaniat

Posted on August 14, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, >Bilal Zuberi, >Darwaish, >Owais Mughal, About ATP, Society
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Owais Mughal, Adil Najam,
Bilal Zuberi and Darwaish

Giant Pakistan Flag-Story at Lahore MetroblogToday we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Pakistan’s birth.

We could talk about what was promised of Pakistan. What has become of it. Or what should be done to improve it. But we try to do that at Pakistaniat (ATP) everyday. And we do realize that ..aah ko chahiyay ik umr asar honay tak.

Today we want to talk about Pakistan and Pakistaniat in a much more personal way. We realize that different people’s Pakistaniat can be expressed in very different ways. We share the same flag, but we each wave it in our very different ways. While we may not approve of putting Mickey Mouse or missiles or even Jinnah on the flag, around this time Pakistaniat becomes a very personal expression. One wants to celebrate every expression of Pakistaniat (except, maybe, putting missiles on the flag). It is in this individual ownership of the concept that the concept will derive whatever meaning it is to ultimately have. At the end of the day our Pakistaniat will be defined not by what the government says it should be, nor even by what the founders wanted it to be, but only by what we ourselves make it out to be.

Flags on sale in Pakistan-Story at Metroblog LahoreFlags on sale in Pakistan-Story at Metroblog Lahore
Flags on sale in Pakistan-Story at Metroblog LahoreFlags on sale in Pakistan-Story at Metroblog Lahore

That, at least, has been our motivation here at This blog is named as it is named for a reason. Pakistaniat, for us, has never been an attempt to discover the one unified definition of Pakistani-ness that everyone must accept and adhere to. It is, instead, the celebration of the many many diverse ways in which different Pakistanis express their Pakistani-ness; their Pakistaniat. There is no single definition of Pakistaniat, nor a single way to express it. This is why this blog seeks to celebrate all the different dimensions of Pakistani-ness.

It is in this spirit that we offer this post. In continuation of our invitation from a year ago, we ask our readers to share the one thing – a song, an image, a verse, a thought, a quote, a person, anything – that represents their Pakistaniat for them. What is it that spells your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations for Pakistan? What is it that evokes and invokes your Pakistaniat?

Let us get the ball rolling by sharing our thoughts on this.

Adil Najam: Writing last year in a similar post, I had offered this verse from a milli naghma sung masterfully by Shahnaz Begum and written by (I think) Asad Muhammad Khan. I have, unfortunately, still not been able to find a recording of the song (but see Shahnaz Begum singing ‘Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan’ on the right hand columns). I think the sentiment is even more true this year – given the events of the last many months – than it was last year:

mauj baRhay kay aanDhi aa-aye, diya jala-aye rakhna hai
ghar ki khatir sau dukh jhailaiN, ghar tou aakir appna hai

Let me add one more thought for today. I heard this sheyr long ago on an August 14 Mushaira on PTV. I forget who the poet was (and realize that the inspiration might have been US President JFK) but the sentiment never fails to evoke my Pakistaniat. I think of this especially as I see this picture on the right; this should not have been.

jissay bhi daikhiaye gilla,
watan say yeh nahiN milla,
watan say woh nahiN milla

koee nahiN jo yeh keha,
‘watan ko tumm nay kiya diya,
watan ko meiN nay kiya diya’

Bilal Zuberi: For me – the one thing that I will always remember on 14th of August is how each year my entire family worked together to raise a large flag on our house in the evening of the 13th.

One 13th of August, many many years ago, our dad brought all of us kids together and told us a story. He told us how he was a young boy at the time of independence and how his mother stitched a Pakistani flag for him so he could go out and demonstrate with the Muslim League. He had proudly raised it at the demonstration despite being in a city that had seen its fair share of Hindu-Muslim riots. Then he continued on to teach us what the different colors and the chaand sitaara on the Pakistani flag represented. Finally my mom followed the tradition and stitched a large flag from green and white cloth for us kids to put up on our house. It was the largest flag at that time in our mohalla! and we proudly raised it on our house every year until I left for the US .

Even now we talk about it and what it meant for the entire family to raise the flag together. When I saw this picture, I felt it could almost be myself and my brother on our roof, trying to tie the flag to our TV antenna. Given what is going on in Pakistan, I almost feel I need to be back there again, to raise a giant green and white flag to show that nothing can bind us together more than our common nationality.

Darwaish: For me, the most exciting part of the 14th August is when I see little kids running around with their faces or head painted with Pakistani flag. All smiles and raising Pakistan Zindabad slogans. Kids running on the streets with flags, putting flags and ‘jhandiyaan‘ on their houses. They are our hope for better future and a prosperous Pakistan. For young and old, I think this 14th August “Great Responsibilities Lie Ahead” speech by Quaid. Listen to the speech, it has the magic formula of success. ‘Kaam Kaam aur sirf Kaam‘ is what we need today.

Owais Mughal: This song by Amanat Ali Khan (1932-1974) remains one of my favorite national songs. All that I want to say today is covered by the poetry of this song. I will let Amanat Ali Khan say it for me; he says it so much better!

Aey Merey Pyare Watan

Note: There is a wonderful richness of Pakistaniat spread across the Pakistani blogsphere – Blogistan. We feature just a sampling of this in the pictures included here. The picture of the giant flag leads to a post on the same at Metroblog Lahore. The four pictures of people selling flags are from a series of two posts, also at Metroblog Lahore. The picture of the barefoot kid selling flags is from Metroblog Islamabad. That of the two youth waving from a rooftop is of unknown origin. The sunset picture is at Flickr from Ali Khurshid, who we have featured here before. And, of course, the Amanat Ali Khan song is from YouTube.

102 responses to “Mera Pakistan, Meri Pakistaniat”

  1. Ibrahim says:


    Janab ‘Deeda-i-Beena’ sahib, you will have more information than me on the events of partition because you were there, and I was born much later. But, I disagree with you on the issue of the slogan you mentioned was a later day innovation.

    My daadi had once narrated to me a story that she was asleep and heard loud rumblings outside in the streets which woke her up in the afternoon. Apparently, there was some Muslim-Hindu unrest and Muslims were protesting. What my daadi woke up to hear was loud chanting of the slogan of ‘Pakistan ka matlab kiya….’ by men in the streets (I’ve done my best to recall the story). Of course, this was pre-partition. So, I don’t think your contention that it was a later day innovation (post-partition if this is what you meant) is correct.

    Now, this was in northern India, and you narrated events in Lahore. But, I doubt that this slogan wasn’t used in Lahore as well. Why? For one, the slogan was taken from a poem of Dr. Asghar Saudai who was from Sialkot—not too far from Lahore. If this slogan was used in northern India, I think it is safe to assume it had been used in Lahore as well.

    And, the poem of Dr. Saudai was written pre-partition. Here is a short story on Dr. Saudai and his ‘slogan’ in today’s Dawn online: Here is the relevant part of the story:

    Speaking exclusively to Dawn, the octogenarian Prof Asghar Saudai said he wrote a poem titled

  2. D_a_n says:

    …..I for one take due umbrage at being called ‘baighairat’ by Adnan Siddiqui…..
    …..I do believe that Adnan Siddiqui has no quantifiable way of knowing just how much Ghairat resides within me…so I would draw the conclusion that Adnan Siddiqui hardly ever knows what he’s talking about anymore…not that he did so in his previous litany of spewage…

    On a side note…Mullah’s message of Azadi Mubarak turned up in the form of headless corpse of a brave Pakistani Soldier in the tribal area…apparently one of 16 such jawans kidnapped….
    My dear Adnan….I do believe this was the ‘ghairatmand’ celebration that you feel fit for our sorry dominion….
    depart dear jawan on the wings of Angels…
    you will enjoy more ghairat than Adnan Siddiqui ever will…
    Rab Rakhaa..!

  3. Deeda-i-Beena says:

    THE FLAG – some memories and thoughts
    The midnight of August 13, 1947 I had my first Pakistan flag hoisted at the highest point in my house inside Lahore’s walled city. It was lovingly made by our mother under the guidance of my elder brother, five years senior to me at 16.
    Even at my young age I was not oblivious of what was happening all around as Pakistan was coming into being. The daily mixed men-women processions, had a very large representation of Muslim women led by the likes of Begum Shahnawaz, Begum Salma Tassaduq Hussain, Baji Shamim would court arrest and would be dropped outside the city to find their way home, mostly walking.
    The slogans rampant at those processions and the ensuing JALSSAS, were “Lay Keye Rahengay Pakistan” and “Ban Kay Rahegaa Pakistan.” Never did we hear the slogan: “Pakistan ka Matlab kya……………………..” I recall that it was a later day innovation. Think.
    People, mostly children would make their own flags each Independence day. Later on enterprising people started printing paper flags in all colours no just The Green, that could be strung on thin rope. It was always a painful experience to see them the next day all over the place and being trampled upon.
    In no time the flag owned by the people and representing the nation became the symbol of HAKOOMAT or the Rulers. Other than the Independence Day, it cannot be displayed by the AWAM. Government Offices, high functionaries, Ministers etc., have the right to its display.
    By the way who is/are the Awam? Am I and you who can read this language are also Awam? OR is it a class lesser than us?
    Believe me those are the people we refer to as AWAM that you see lined up for hours at the polling stations promoting the cause of Democracy that the like of us only talk about. Think.

  4. Vivek says:

    Hi guys!

    Happy Independence day to you!

    Wish you a bright and prosperous future.


  5. sheepoo says:

    “Muhabbat Amn hai or is ka hai paighaam Pakistan” sung by NFAK. Listen at

    Pakistan Zindabad

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