On a perfect summer day, Pakistani-American community gathered from New Jersey as well as from neighbouring states like Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, to enjoy the annual New Jersey Pakistan Day Parade, in New Jersey. People from various ethnicity and all walks of life, irrespective of their back ground participated in the Pakistan Day Parade, which celebrated the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s Independence Day. The parade, festival, and concert featured some of Pakistan’s biggest names in entertainment, such as singers Ali Haider, Malaika Faisal and Zunair Khalid.
Sam Khan, the President of the Parade Committee, highlighted the team spirit behind the success. “We’ve organized this parade several years in a row now, and because of the dedication of our great team, it has grown bigger and better every year. What a great way to mark the 70th anniversary of Pakistani independence!”
“I am so proud of the work that all our volunteers and supporters did to put together an amazing event”, said Dr. M. Zubair, the Parade’s Chairman, “This event showcases not just the rich culture of our motherland, but also the many strengths and contributions of the Pakistani-American community here in our adopted homeland.”
Many elected and not elected officials from both parties turned up to help celebrate, including gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy along with his wife Tammy, and Congressman Frank Pallone. Several prominent Pakistani-American officials were there as well, such as recently appointed Passaic County Freeholder Assad Akhter and newly elected Edison Democratic Chairman Shariq Ahmad. Also in attendance were various local and state leaders including mayors, county freeholders, and state legislators.
On asked, various participants about their views on India, the message was simply that people of both countries India and Pakistan love each other and peace will prevail.
Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac helped kick off the parade, which started in Iselin, and Edison Mayor Tom Lankey greeted the procession at its end point in Edison, where he warmed the large crowd up before the start of the concert.
The parade featured 15 floats, 2 marching bands, a fleet of elaborately decorated cars, and many walking groups. Dozens of Pakistani organizations and local businesses from all over the state took part in the event. The decorated cars, trucks, and motorcycles were a fan favorite, and they were especially well received. Mian Aziz, a Trustee, was grateful for the generous support of community leaders and sponsors, “Without them, this wonderful event would never have been possible.”
A cultural show preceded the parade, but the real entertainment started afterward, when Pakistani megastars Ali Haider, Malaika Faisal and Zunair Khalid delighted the large audience with some of their biggest hits. Rows of vendors and Pakistani restaurants set up booths along one side of the festival, filling the air with the sound of music and the smell of Pakistan in spirit.
President Sam Khan, an entrepreneur, community activist and a guru, not in green but in pink, has been organizing this Pakistan Day parade successfully, since last three years, in Edison NJ.