Pakistan's Green & White flag Flutters Over Bolingbrook Village Hall for the past 21 Years

Chicago IL: Pakistan Independence Day Celebration with Jawad Ahmed was organized by Association of Pakistani Americans in Bolingbrook from Noon to 11pm, Saturday, August 25, 2012 at Bolingbrook Village Clerk, 375 W Briarcliff Rd, Bolingbrook, IL. Admission was free to all. Bolingbrook residents celebrated entire event Pakistani style. 21st Flag Hoisting Ceremony was also part of “The Taste of Pakistan”. It was A fun filled Day for the whole family with Live Music, Food, Booths and Merchandise of Middle Eastern origin. It was a record breaking event, People came all the way from Ohio and Iowa. According to village official it was around 12,000 to 14,000 people which broke all previous records.

Pakistan’s independence day which is also known as Yom-e-Azaadi is celebrated on 14 August every year. Pakistan gained its independence on 14 August 1947 from its British colonizers. The festivity began at noon, but around 3:30 p.m. when things really get rolling. Evening event start at 6:30 pm opening with Islamic prayer. Before Flag Hoisting there was Quiz conducted by Jibran Illyas and winners were given prizes. Traditional flag hoisting which was conducted at 7:00 p.m. National Anthem of America and Pakistan were sung. All local political officers, Businessman, Political and community leaders, Dignitaries included Zaheer Pervaiz Consul General of Pakistan, raised the Pakistani flag above Village Hall to fly with the United States and Bolingbrook village flags. Spectator applauded as the flag rose to the sky. “People, even though they are migrated here, still have roots there,” he said in reference to Pakistan. “This is one of the best villages where people feel welcome and the city encourages diversity.” Rashid said.

The Bolingbrook Village officials, Businessman, Political and community leaders, Dignitaries included Zaheer Pervaiz Consul General of Pakistan, Leroy Brown Deputy Mayor Bolingbrook, Pat Mcguire Illinois State Senator, John Noak Mayor of Romeoville, Bill Mayer Du page Township Supervisor, Steve Quigly School board President, Mike Lawler Village Trustee, Judy Biggert Congress women, Matt Abbot Senator Mark Kirk’s office, Representative for State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Representative from Dave Carlson running for Will County State Attorney, Tom Wolf running for Congress near Devon area, Denise Allen, Park District Board, Sheldon Watts, DuPage Township Trustee, Victor Zack, Candidate for Will County Board and President of Pilipino Friendship society Mr. Antonio Amante were present at event. Unfortunately, few other key figures such as Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor Roger Claar, Senator Mark Kirk and State of IL. Treasurer Dan Rutherford couldn’t make it to the celebration, however they sent letters to the congratulate the Pakistani community.

Mir Ali was the MC of the program and the back bone of this event.

Mayor Roger Claar was in Florida for Republican convention Mr. Leroy Brown Deputy Mayor presented the proclamation to Talat Rashid founder of the Association of Pakistani Americans in Bolingbrook

Advance Pediatric Insurance – Awards for Major Sponsors
Mr. Ali Akhtar JF Labs – Awards for Major Sponsors
Mr. Zafar Chaudhry APA Member – Community Service

“Pakistan is currently passing through a difficult phase of history and is facing uncomfortable situation on security that has impinged our economic growth and social life. This is the price our nation is paying to fight extremism and terrorism from the country. But our government, valiant law enforcement agencies and the nation stand united to eradicate this menace that is against our social and cultural ethos and religious believes. Pakistani community abroad is a great asset for the country. All community members must continue to improve Pakistan’s image as truly modem, dynamic, progressive and democratic Islamic state that is open to have close friendly relations with all nations of the world on the basis of equality, sovereign integrity, principles of justice & international law and mutual respect for each other. I must compliment all members of the Association of Pakistani Americans of Bolingbrook; especially it’s President Mr. Talat Rasheed who has been the actual driving force to start holding Pakistan Independence Day and flag hoisting ceremony at the City Hall of Bolingbrook. This is certainly an unprecedented tradition in the US that continues without interruption for the last twenty years. I would also express my deepest appreciation and thanks to Mayor of Bolingbrook Mr. Roger C. Claar, who has always facilitated this initiative wholeheartedly and nurtured it all the way from a modest start to full blown present level. Mayor Claar is an inspirational leader for all communities living in the Bolingbrook particularly the Pakistani-American community” said Zaheer Pervaiz Khan Consulate General of Pakistan Chicago

Talat Rashid founder of the Association of Pakistani Americans in Bolingbrook began the ceremony 21 years ago, with just 20 families in attendance. Rashid began the event as a traditional flag hoisting ceremony, signed for the Pakistani families living in the area. “I used to live in Chicago and was a president of Pakistani Federation of America, a large community organization that existed in 1980s,” Rashid explained. “When I moved here, I decided to have a token event in Bolingbrook since we had only 20 families then.“ I remembers 18 years ago when the annual Pakistani celebration he organized each year in Bolingbrook brought out about dozen people to raise the Pakistani flag at Village Hall. Now, the ceremony is part of a festival, Taste of Pakistan that regularly draws more than 6,000 people, curious to try Pakistani tea or chicken. “They come here to try the food and enjoy the entertainment and the music. For others, it’s the only place in the Chicago land area to mark the day Pakistan became an independent country in 1947. Bolingbrook’s Indian and Pakistani community has swelled to between 5,000 and 6,000 with local estimates of about 2,500 Pakistani families and has in recent years become a well-organized and politically minded force in the village of 72,000.” Rashid said
16 years ago Rashid took his request to the Village Hall, where he said Mayor Roger Claar encouraged the celebration. “The Mayor not only supported us, but encouraged us whenever we had any kind of cultural event,” Rashid said.

The APA Bolingbrook Pakistan Day Celebration was a resounding success. The smell of the tandoori BBQ chicken wafted pleasantly over the ethnically transformed Bolingbrook City Center Park on August 25th in a packed outdoor concert/gala celebrating the 65th Independence Day ceremony of Pakistan. The Pakistani community came cheerfully to celebrate the occasion in a true family-oriented atmosphere with Pakistani food vendors, clothes stalls and handicrafts making the attendees reminiscent and nostalgic about the country they left behind. The Pakistani APA was grateful to the city of Bolingbrook and the mayor Roger C. Claar for sponsoring and kindly hosting such a successful event.

The grand finale of event was the much anticipated concert by Pakistani singer Jawad Ahmad who came from Pakistan sang in Urdu, the National language of Pakistan and Hindi. He is able to enunciate the words in a phonologically ideal way without comprehending the language itself. Special Performances By Faisy Lucky (Rising Pakistani Star).

Jawad Ahmed (Leading Pakistani Pop Singer), The weather was greatly cooperative as a gentle breeze assisted the harmonious Pakistani folk and Patriotic tunes that Javed sang. The crowd went wild when she launched into racier and lively music and several young men and little kids hopped onto the stage with Pakistani flags and ethnic dance movements, aiding to culminate the day’s events in high spirits. There are also 2 teenage Mr. Zohaib and Basit they extended their vacation just to see Jawad Ahmed and flag hoisting ceremony.

Won Great Prizes With The $5 Raffle.
Grand Prize: Airline Ticket To Pakistan
Other Prizes Included: Laptops, TV’s, Ipods Etc….

Association of Pakistani Americans along with Indian Association are part of Bolingbrook Pathway Parade every year with combined float thus showing harmony amongst both Indian and Pakistani communities. Bolingbrook has 2 cricket fields, Besides running BPL Bolingbrook Cricket league. It also has a Youth Cricket club which trains young kids about Cricket. BPL is lead by Mir Ali who was instrumental in introducing the cricket to the youths

There were number of Food and Non-Food Booths to entertain all. Such as Cell 4you, ICIRR-Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights, Kolurs, Ermas Exclusive collection, Design Boutique; Lola’s Bridal & Boutique Sumera’s Boutique, Kaneez, Elegant Peddler, Advance Insurance Consultants, Advanced Pediatric Care, Saki Naas, PNC Bank, Vonage etc.

Sponsors: Village of Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar, Dr. Nadeem and Dr. Longi the EVENT sponsor, American Family Insurance, Munir Chaudhry RNA Corp., Ali Akhtar JF Labs., Dr. M Arain, Chamber of Commerce, Advance Pediatric, Bolingbrook Chamber, Bolingbrook Golf club, Rainbow Recovery, Etihad Airways, Asian Media, Menu Frozen Products (he gave $1100 for just food booth), H2O – Heart Haven Outreach, World Class Motors of Downers Grove, Meineke Car Care, Zabiha Halal KFC – Lisle and Glen Ellyn, Bismillah Market, Kamyab Mart, Wayne Kwiat, Pakistan News. Others present were: Charandeep Sing Desi Junction, Krishan Sant Indian Community, President of Philipino community.

Members of the Association of Pakistani Americans of Bolingbrook: Talat Rashid, Mir Ali, Ajaz Gill, Hamid Bhatti, Aziz Vayani, Kamran Rashid, Faheem Shazad, Zulfi Ahmed,Zafar Choudhry

Photographs and Press release by: Asian Media USA

Suresh Bodiwala
Asian Media USA
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