By Mudassir Raja
For Pakistani expatriates in Qatar, Pakistan Independence Day has never been a single day of celebration. It’s a festival that is celebrated for weeks with different get-togethers, dinners, cake cutting ceremonies and music events featuring national songs and this year was certainly no exception.
Qatar chapter of All Pakistanis Oversees Organisation International (APOOI) recently organised a get-together ‘Pakistan Zindabaad’ at Al Banush Club, Mesaieed. The attendees enjoyed a fun-filled evening with traditional music and cuisine.
The event opened with recitation of the Holy Qur’an by Syed Abdul Razzaq. Amin Motiwala, President of APOOI Qatar Chapter, welcomed the guests. Hafiz Junaid Amir Sial, Community Welfare Attache at the Embassy of Pakistan, was the chief guest at the event. The event was hosted by Furqan Ahmad Paracha, General Secretary of APOOI.
Muhammad Zahid Sheikh, APOOI Chairman, Muhammad Attique and Abdul Qahar, notable community members, presented a shield to Hafiz Junaid in recognition of his services. A delectable cake in the colours of national flag was also cut on the occasion.
Nasir Abbas, former winner of Sare Gama Pa (2008), Jamshaid Bajwa and Mohinder Jalandhary, talented expatriate singers, enthralled the gathering with national songs. In the end, a traditional cuisine dinner was served to the guests.
Speaking on the occasion, Hafiz Sial said, “I thank the organisers for inviting me to this auspicious celebration of Independence Day. We have to respect and safeguard our freedom. We as Pakistanis should play our role towards betterment and progress of the country. Oversees Pakistanis and especially in Qatar have shown great respect and love for their country. Pakistan have very good relations with Qatar and with the help of our community here, we can further improve our ties.”
Motiwala said, “I have been in Qatar for 22 years. Our organisation is non-profit group with no political affiliations. We often organise social, cultural, and business related events for the community. We organise seminars for the community to explore business opportunities in Qatar and in Pakistan. We also work in education and health sectors in Pakistan. We religiously celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day, Pakistan Day, and Qatar National Day. Such gathering also serves a social networking occasions.”
Zahid Sheikh said, “Our organisation is present in 39 countries. In all these countries we celebrate the Independence Day. We are happy to have singer Nasir Abbas to sing national songs for the community. We also organise programmes to celebrate all important events in Qatar.”
Muhammad Attique, a senior community member, said, “I appreciate APOOI has been organising very good and beneficial programmes. It is good to be together and enjoy the Independence Day celebrations. Such kind of programmes are necessary for expatriates. We miss our country and such events give an opportunity to be happy and come together. A new government is being formed in Pakistan. The expatriates expect that the new government will bring prosperity for the country. We want to see the new government to fulfil its promises for the welfare of the people.”
In another Independence Day celebration event, Pakistani Bikers in Qatar, a group of bike riders, cut a cake and enjoyed national songs at Al Waab Bevery Hills Garden. The members of the group danced on drum beats and on tunes of different national songs.
The riders also carried out a rally of their bikes and cars with Pakistani flags and stickers on their vehicles.
Omran Mughal, an active member of the group, said, “We formed the biker group in 2008. There are members from other countries but we are 99 percent Pakistanis as members. We take part in different racing events, particularly track race conducted by Qatar Racing Club. We also organise major national events of both Pakistan and Qatar as a group.”
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