OF PAKISTANI ORIGIN ARE
GREAT, SAYS MIKE COLLE
Thousands of Pakistan and Bhangra Lovers joined the Pakistan Independence
Day Celebrations at the Nathan Philip Square (Toronto City Hall) on
Sunday, August 13, 2006. It was decided to celebrate on Sunday instead of
Monday, August 14, to enable large number of people to take part in the
celebrations. The idea clicked and the people, of various other
communities as well, fully enjoyed the occasion, fun and entertainment.
lively and impressive Independence Day Celebrations has become one of the
major events of Toronto, the heart and soul of Canada. It helps connect
people and communities and build bridges between them. This is one of the
major achievements of the Pakistani community and the credit goes to the
true and charismatic leadership of Ghalib Iqbal, Consul General of
Pakistan in Toronto, his Consulate team and the Pakistan Independence Day
Parade Committee members. Congratulations for this achievement and great
distinguished guests present on the occasion were mostly leading officials
and personalities of the country, province and city including Wajid Khan,
MP, Mike Colle, MPP and Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration, Armand Laparge, Police Chief, Khalid Usman, Councillor for
Markham, and many others.
Independence Day Celebrations function was organized at the Maple Banquet
Hall on August 14, 2006, which too was largely attended.
COLLE: Mike Colle, Ontario’s Minister for Citizenship and
Immigration, in his impressive address at the Maple Banquet Hall, said:”
The Canadians of Pakistani origin are really great friends. We all can
play a great role. In Canada, none of us is a minority. Respect and unity
are critically important. In the matter of principle, it is critically
important to stand together.”
said: “Canada has incredible potential. The Canadians of Pakistani
Origin too have great potential and intelligence and can do a lot for
Canada. They have strong family fabric, culture and values.”
Colle said: “We must promote exchanges because exchanges in a positive
way can help in the enrichment process. We need to focus on stronger ties
and building of bridges. For this we should know more about Pakistan and
Canada. By joining this celebration, we are celebrating the great
partnership between the two countries.”
said: “We must learn from Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He looked towards the way
for building instead of criticizing. People must follow Jinnah and Ghalib
Iqbal. Both of them have vision.”
Colle highly praised Ghalib Iqbal and said: “ I have seen and met many
consul generals but have found Ghalib Iqbal as one of the best and
excellent consul generals. I am greatly impressed by his character,
messages and tremendous contributions. He has done a lot for the people.
Ghalib is spreading the message of Unity, Faith and Discipline in a true
manner. The people must follow his leadership. This message should reach
the government and people of Pakistan.”
praised the leadership role of Armand Laparge, Police Chief. He also
praised all the Canadian officials present on the occasion.
defended and praised the role of DART in the earthquake region of Pakistan
and said: “We should not forget the great tragedy and do our best to
help the people”
praised the owner of Maple Banquet Hall and said: “This man struggled
hard with determination to become what he is today. He is an example of
IQBAL: Ghalib Iqbal, in his message and addresses on the two
occasions, said: “In 1947, under the leadership of our great leader
Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Muslims of the Sub-Continent
achieved a separate homeland in which they could lead their lives in
accordance with their values. In addition, all those who belonged to other
faiths, also became a part of Pakistan and have since then worked
tirelessly towards the betterment of our beautiful homeland.
Canadians of Pakistani Origin have always been in the forefront to
strengthen the relations between Pakistan and Canada. It is imperative
that they continue to work with the same zeal and enthusiasm so that the
relationship between their country of origin and country of adoption could
further strengthen in the years ahead.
is also important that the Canadians of Pakistani Origin actively
participate in the mainstream activities in Canada to become an important
segment of the society. Events like Independence Day at Toronto City Hall
always provide an opportunity to the community to get together and also
encourage the younger generation to get to know their roots.”
Iqbal said: “We must love both Pakistan and Canada and celebrate
Independence Days of both the country of origin and the country of
adoption in a befitting manner. The Canadians always show their love by
joining our celebrations and we must reciprocate by joining their
celebrations as well. This is extremely important for the Pakistani
community in Canada, for bringing Pakistan and Canada closer and for a
very strong and friendly relationship. We must always remember this.”
said: “My message to the people is Stick Together, Live Together and
Work Together. Struggle tirelessly and aim for the mainstream and the top.
That is our goal and place. If we stick to Unity, Faith and Discipline,
nobody can harm us or stop us from moving forward.”
stated: “It’s really not the Independence Day but the passion and
feeling which bring and join us together. This is why the day assumes
added importance for the Canadians of Pakistani Origin.”
Iqbal said: “It is important that people integrate. Luckily, the rate of
integration in Canada is really impressive. Those who failed to integrate
did not become a part of the society and the country. People belonging to
this category are frustrated ones and get arrested. They bring bad name to
the country of origin.”
said: “Unfortunately, the media people start looking for links with
Pakistan, when anything happens or anyone is arrested. When we do wrong,
the country of origin is blamed. When we do right, the country of adoption
is proudly praised. We must understand this fact and always try to protect
our integrity and identity.”
said: “Canada is the only country which gives such love, equality and
opportunity. We all know, understand and acknowledge this. We have to be
proactive and positive. By putting our children in separate schools we cut
them off from the system. They are isolated. Ultimately, the children will
suffer and will not forget and forgive those responsible. So let’s be
part of the generation which is engaged in positive and constructive
COLLE PRAISED: Ghalib Iqbal highly praised Mike Colle and his
tremendous contributions for Pakistan and the Pakistani community. He
said: Mike Colle always remained in the forefront to help us, whenever
needed. He did a lot for the earthquake
hit region. We must respect and remain close to people like Mike Colle.
thanked Mike Colle for this generosity and love and for bringing Pakistan
and Canada closer. He also thanked other Canadians who joined the
celebrations and are always parts of our social, cultural and religious
events. All these people are contributing tremendously in promotion of our
community and strong ties between the two countries.
Chief Armand Laparge is particularly very popular and seen in most of the
major events. He along with his team of police officers mixes and moves
with the people as if a part of the Pakistani community. His presence has
helped remove doubts and fears from the minds of the people and has
inspired many youngsters to come forward and apply for the police force.
This itself is a great positive achievement.
thanked members of the Pakistan Independence Day Parade Committee for
their tireless efforts to make this event a real success. He congratulated
the members for organizing this successful event.
ALGHABRA: Omar Alghabra, in his very brief address at the Maple
Banquet Hall, said: “Canada owes the people of Pakistani origin a lot.
They have contributed tremendously. We must all work together for making
LAPARGE: Armand Laparge, Police Chief, said: “We are proud of
freedom and democracy in Canada. I consider it important to share the
happiness with the people of Pakistani origin. Muhammad Ali Jinnah is a
great personality and I consider him as one of the world’s greatest
PHILIP SQUARE: Despite the scorching heat, visitors went round
various stalls and collected the goods displayed and offered by them. It
was a good picnic and get together for them. From morning till night, they
enjoyed every moment.
the heat and great rush, the Bhangra Lovers occupied the seats over four
hours before the speeches and musical part of the celebrations. It became
extremely difficult to handle the electrified and enthusiastic Bhangra
Lovers, who made the security officials totally crazy and helpless. Even
scuffles took place between the security officials and the people.
person wanted to reach the stage to hear the speeches of dignitaries and
the songs of Shahzad Roy, Jawwad Ahmed and Humaira Arshad. Many special
invitees could not and dare enter the designated area because of the great
rush of people at the entrance and aggressive mood of the security
The organizers must focus on this segment of arrangements to enable the
VIPs and Special Invitees attend the ceremonies and celebrations
respectfully, instead of being roughly tackled, pushed and pulled by the
security officials and the uncontrollable crowd. The fact is that the
great rush of Bhangra Lovers at the entrance renders the security
officials and organizers helpless. This happens almost every year. We know
our charged crowd, their nature, interest and enthusiasm and must make
preparations accordingly so that everybody can enjoy in the best manner.
stood outside for about an hour before Bilal, one of the main organizers,
helped me and my family reach near the stage. He was seen running here and
there madly along with others to help the people and manage the affairs.
name of my son-in-law, Irshad Haroon, was on the invitees list but he was
denied entry and pushed back by the angry security officials. I told him
to protect himself from the highly charged crowd and security officials.
Any attempt to enter would have landed him in the hospital. Wow! What a
great crowd and Lovers of Pakistan and Bhangra.
The Punjabi songs mesmerized the crowd and kept all of them dancing,
jumping, shouting and clapping. It looked like they were let loose after a
long time to enjoy such free entertainment. This showed that we need many
such shows in a year on special occasions to provide the Bangra lovers
good and free entertainment.
Bhangra Lovers almost went berserk and were uncontrollable. Their feelings
and joy were worth seeing and recording. Many climbed the stage and
started dancing. They kept dodging the security officials and jumping over
the fence to reach the area designated for the VIPs and Special Invitees.
The security arrangements proved a failure.
COUPLE: Urooj Waqar, the popular beautiful lady and a talented
artist, was the MC on the occasion. She handled the crowd skillfully and
smilingly. Her husband Jasir (Abul Hasan) Waqar was General Secretary and
Chief Organizer of the Pakistan Independence Day Celebrations 2006. The
couple is very popular in the community for their social, humanitarian and
Pakistan Independence Day Parade Committee is a non-profit organization.
It was formed in 2005 to celebrate Pakistan’s Independence Day in
Canada. It is held in the true spirit of Unity, Faith and Discipline.
is the third consecutive year of flag hoisting ceremony at the Toronto
City Hall. All of them proved tremendously successful. Due to the
popularity and entertainment, every year the number of crowd increases
greatly and more charged and electrified. The organizers must think
seriously to manage it properly and respectfully. It is the crowd, which
makes the organizers crazy and proud as well and the show successful.
A souvenir was also published on the occasion, which included messages of
President of Pakistan Gen Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister of Canada
Stephen Harper, Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty, Mayor of Toronto David
Miller, Consul General of Pakistan in Toronto Ghalib Iqbal, Chairman of
Pakistan Independence Day Parade Committee Rear Admiral ® Sohail A. Khan,
General Secretary and Chief Organizer Jasir (Abul Hassan) Waqar,
introduction of Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah,
profile of Pakistan, introduction of Master of Ceremony S. Urooj Waqar and
Nauman Khan, a reporter/co-anchor of OMNI News, South Asian Edition, and
National Anthems of Pakistan and Canada.
BANQUET HALL: Jasir (Abul Hassan) Waqar and Urooj Waqar of
Pakistan Independence Day Parade Committee organized the Pakistan
Independence Day Celebrations on August 14, 2006, at the Maple Banquet
Hall. It was attended by a large number of dignitaries including Ghalib
Iqbal, Consul General of Pakistan in Toronto, Omar Alghabra, MP, Mike
Colle, MPP and Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and
Armand Laparge, Police Chief.
The function was scheduled to start at 7.30 PM but was delayed and started
after 9 PM. Some of the Canadian dignitaries were observed feeling bad and
uneasy. They were punctual and had arrived on time. Some had other
appointments and wanted to leave. Omar Alghabra left immediately after his
of the guests of Pakistani origin, as usual and habitual, followed the
Pakistani pattern and came very late. The organizers were quite disturbed
and the changing expressions on their faces could easily be read. They
this pace and attitude, they can never join the race with Canadians and
become a responsible, effective and important part of the society, system
and mainstream. It is time they change their attitude, habits and
lifestyles. We must learn to respect others and understand the worth and
value of their time and the principle of punctuality. We dream of success
but act irresponsibly and expect good results.
function here started with recitation of the Holy Quran by Raza Jamal, a
Grade 9 student, who is memorizing the holy book. National anthems of both
Pakistan and Canada were played. A documentary on Pakistan, prepared by
Urooj Waqar, was shown. Urooj
Waqar was the MC.
Jasir (Abul Hassan) Waqar and Urooj Waqar presented a book on
Islamic Architecture to Mike Colle. Mike said: “We need to teach the
fellow Canadians about the Islamic Architecture. This way we can make the
people understand the importance of Islamic Architecture and
Waqar presented a shield to Police Chief Armand Laparge.
Iqbal gave awards to Irfan, owner of Maple Banquet Hall, Badar Munir of
Akhbaar-e-Pakistan, Arshad Bhatti of Radio Pakistan, Arifa Muzaffar of
Saz-o-Awaz (received by her husband), Nauman Khan, reporter/co-anchor of
OMNI News-South Asian Edition, Captain Gabriel, Staff Sargeant Sandra, PC
Mansoor Ahmed, PC Anoop Sharma, PC Sajid Meer, PC Curtis, PC Dan and other
Canadian officials. He also gave awards to volunteers: Aamir Qureshi,
Hassan Qureshi, Sheikh and Roshni.
(Abul Hassan) Waqar and Urooj Waqar gave a set of books to Ghalib Iqbal.
Shahid Ali Khan, the famous Qawwali, Naat and Ghazal artist, performed on
the occasion. The Canadian VIPs and dignitaries fully enjoyed the
performance. As usual and habitual, some of the guests of Pakistani
origin, after the delicious dinner and when the Qawwali started, began
leaving quietly. Perhaps, they could not digest anymore.
It was announced on the occasion by the Canadian Forces representative
that the two volunteers---Aamir Qureshi and Hassan Qureshi---would join
the Canadian forces. The participation of Canadian Forces officials in the
celebrations inspired the youngsters and produced instant result.
(Masters in International Relations), Canadian of Pakistani Origin (CPO),
Professional Freelance Journalist, Veteran Active Member
(VAM) of Toronto Press Club, Member of The Ontario Club, Member of
National Ethnic Press & Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC), Council
Member of Karachi Press Club (Pakistan), served as Senior Sub-Editor of
Pakistan’s leading English Daily DAWN (1986-1999).
Associated with Journalism Profession since 1974 and believes in
fierce and free expression.
1709-35 Thorncliffe Park Drive, Toronto, Ontario, M4H 1J3, Canada.
Tel # (416) 696-0981.