Little green flags are everywhere these days as the Independence Day holiday approaches. A bicycle goes by adorned in plastic green flags. Flags are being sold at all the main squares. All the historic buildings are lit up for the celebration, and security is tight. I’ve been stopped three times in the last two days by army men making sure I’m not intent on sabotage. As talks of overthrowing the president and his military government fill the airwaves, everyone is cautious.
Despite all the preparations, it doesn’t seem like anyone is doing anything special for independence day. In the U.S. it’s the day for barbecues, beach volleyball, fireworks, and celebrating with friends and family. Don’t forget the ketchup, hotdogs & hamburgers! I asked one of my friends if there was any tradition or any event that was happening for the holiday and he replied,
“Well here Independence Day is not a public holiday. It’s only celebrated in Islamabad and by the government officials. Any party is arranged and paid for by the government because the people aren’t in the habit of celebrating it.”
“That’s strange,” I commented. “In the U.S. it’s one of the biggest holidays of the year.”
“Well in your country the people fought for independence. They wanted it. Here it just came on us whether we wanted it or not. So that’s why it’s not really a public holiday.”