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Sudburians gather to celebrate Pakistani independence


It was a day to celebrate at the James Jerome Sports Complex as Sudburians came out, dressed in green and white, to mark the 75th anniversary of Pakistani independence.

There was singing and laughing. The ceremony started with the raising of Pakistani flag.

"We are celebrating 75 years with our Pakistani community members," said organizer, Muhammad Shakar Hussain.

"We feel really happy, we are together and we are really thankful to the city and everyone that we're able to come together," said Hussain's wife, Nadia Shakar.

"We are proud Canadians as well as Pakistani, we are white and green, red and white, it's a place of love for us."

Deputy Mayor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann called the children up to help her raise the Pakistani flag. Landry-Altmann, a life-long Sudburian, told CTV seeing so much multi-culturalism is what makes Sudbury a special place to live.

"This community has added so much in terms of a cultural mosaic to Sudbury," she said.

"We're very fortunate and very grateful to them. I was born and brought up in Sudbury at a time when it was unique to see anyone who didn't look like me, to see the diversity now, I'm so happy, we're so much better. It broadens our horizons in terms of being able to attract people to our city and allows us to communicate with the outside world so much better, it's a great day."

Naeem Ahmed was asked to give a presentation on what Pakistani independence is to the crowd.

He's lived in Sudbury for twenty years now but still remembers what someone told him to Germany, on how he should always remember his roots.

"My children, they were not born in Pakistan. Two of them were born in Germany, one was born in Canada, they haven't been to Pakistan so they don't really know much about Pakistan so this Pakistan Day gives us an opportunity to tell our kids and others in the community what Pakistan is, what our roots, what our language is, what our culture is and that's why it's very, very important," he said.

"It gives us a lot of joy, My youngest son was born in Canada, so of course he's Canadian first, but he always has been interested in learning more about Pakistan and in eventually going there some time right so this morning when he was getting ready, he brought green pants and a white shirt and said he was going to wear that and it gave me a lot of joy," added Ahmed.

For community leaders like Tay Butt, he says children should know about their roots and where they come from.

"Sudbury is a welcoming community. I'm on several boards and we've played a very important role in making this city more welcoming. We're seeing people buy businesses, sit on boards, buy real estate, we're seeing ethnic places, restaurants and grocery stores so people don't have to go to Toronto anymore. This city has become as good as Toronto for us," said Butt.

Nine year old Malik Hussain is hoping he'll be able to visit Pakistan later this year.

"Pakistan means the world to me because my dad was born there and my dad said I could go to Pakistan. Independence Day of Pakistan really inspirations my heart and it's crazy that Pakistan helped me. I have so many family members, some of them have died, but they made my life safe," said Hussain.

Pakistan Independence Day comes one day ahead of Indian Independence Day.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement to mark the occasion writing in part:

"Canada and Pakistan enjoy a longstanding relationship, and this year also marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries. We remain committed to fighting climate change, advancing women's empowerment, and promoting regional peace and stability. Our countries will keep strengthening the bilateral trade relationship and promoting investments to benefit everyone in both countries and explore new opportunities for collaboration in areas ranging from clean energy to information technologies. Canada also recognizes Pakistan's efforts in supports its Afghan resettlement program and looks forward to continuing our cooperation." Top Stories

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