The Pakistan Association of Australia organised Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day celebrations on Friday 26 August at the Bankstown Emporium in Sydney.

The program began with the recitation of the Holy Quran by Mr Raja Taseer followed by Naat (poetry) by Mr Khurram Naqvi.  Ms Mehreen, a post graduate student in music sang both the national anthems of Australia and of Pakistan. There was a very entertaining performance by Mr Adnan Gill the upcoming Pakistani singer.

Federal MP Mr Tony Burke addressed the audience mentioning that Pakistan is a nation of poets, highly qualified academia and world class cricketers. He hoped international cricket would come back to Pakistan.

He remembered the philosopher poet of Pakistan, Sir Dr Mohamed Iqbal and his contribution to the world and wished that one day schools in Australia would teach his poetry along with Shelly and other classical poets.

Mr Burke recognised the contribution of the Pakistan diaspora in Australia and wished them well.

Prime Minister Turnbull’s message was read by Mr David Coleman Member of Parliament from Banks who promised his support to the community and stated his keen interest in making the bilateral ties stronger between the two countries.

Mr Geoff Lee MP expressed his great appreciation of Pakistan and said both countries shared many things in common including the fact that both were former British colonies and had produced great sportsmen.

President of Pakistan Association of Australia Mr Rana Abbas thanked his team and the Pakistani community at large for helping make the function a great success.  He introduced the guests of honour stressing that Pakistan as a country was going through various challenges in today’s geopolitical situation and that Pakistan played a very important role in the region.

He thanked Her Excellency Ms Naela Chohan for working closely with the community and particularly commended her diligent action when two Pakistani students died recently in Australia and Papua New Guinea where the High Commissioner handled the delicate situations very well and organised the repatriation of the bodies back to the homeland.

Mr Abbas also thanked the Pakistani diaspora community and the Australian government in supporting Pakistan and hoped to expect the same in the future.

The chief guest of the evening, Her Excellency Ms Naela Chohan, the High Commissioner of Pakistan articulated the potential for future cooperation between Australia and Pakistan and appreciated Mr Rana Abbas and his team’s effort in arranging an event which brought Australian dignitaries and the Pakistani diaspora community together for celebrating Pakistan’s 70th independent day.

Consul General of Pakistan Mr Abdul Majid Yousfani introduced himself to the community and spoke of the historical background of Pakistan.  Vice Consul Ms Bushra Salam was also introduced at the event.

A number of individuals were recognised for their contributions towards the community by presentations of awards by the High Commissioner.