Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pakistan's 60th Independence Day

Civic Center Plaza was the setting for a belated Independence Day party for Pakistan on Sunday.

The sixth most populous country in the world (about 160 million) is only 60 years old, though its river valleys hosted advanced civilizations as long ago as 3000 BC.

The modern nation was born in pain in 1947 during The Partition when millions of Muslims moved from India to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved in the opposite direction amidst horrible violence on all sides (click here for a decent Wikipedia article with more about Pakistan).

The country is presently 96% Muslim (77% Sunni, 20% Shi'a) and its relations with the United States of America have always been controversial on all sides, with the U.S. supporting a succession of military dictators in exchange for Pakistan being a compliant "ally" in whatever war America is engaging in at the moment. (For an interesting and sad review of Pakistan's current political situation, click here for an account from the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission.)

Just to underscore the oddness of the relationship, there was an FBI recruiting booth between the saris and the kebabs...

...though nobody seemed to be taking them up on the offer, standing in line for delicious looking food instead.

In any case, it was a very jolly crowd who seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. Happy birthday, Pakistan.

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