HUNDREDS of residents from across the Pakistani community in Reading have come together to celebrate the country’s Independence Day – alongside leading politicians and local dignitaries.

Founded in August 1947, Pakistan was formed following the Partition of British India, which saw the end of colonial rule on the Indian Subcontinent.

Scores of people turned out at the Pakistan Community Centre in London Road to mark the 76th anniversary.

There was fun for all the family with an outdoor Mela being held at the grounds of the centre.

Among those in attendance were Mian Saleem, Ahsan Gurhal and the Pakistani Community Centre team. The High Court judge Asjad Javel Ghural came to the event as did Dr Mohammad Faisal, the acting High commissioner of Pakistan to the United Kingdom, and Matt Rodda, the Labour MP for Reading East.

Mr Rodda said: “It was a pleasure to attend the Pakistan Independence Day celebration at the Pakistan Community Centre on Sunday, August 13.

“The event was a wonderful vibrant celebration for the Pakistani Community and a chance to thank them for their contribution to our town.

“The celebration included music and activities for children and it was a great day out for families.”

Reading Chronicle: Councillor Amjad Tarar with Matt Rodda, the Labour MP for Reading East and cllr Wendy Griffith  at Pakistan Independence Day in Reading. Credit: Cllr Amjad Tarar

Leading councillors were also spotted at the celebration, including  Glenn Dennis (Labour, Kentwood) the deputy mayor, council leader Jason Brock (Labour, Southcote), cllr Lizy Terry (Labour, Church) the deputy leader and cllr Naheed Ejaz (Labour, Great Hollands ) the Mayor of Bracknell Forest Council.

Councillor Pauline Jorgensen (Conservative, Hillside) Tory candidate for the Earley & Woodley constituency was also in attendance.

Reading Chronicle: Muslim prayers at the Pakistan Independence Day with councillor Pauline Jorgensen being spotted in attendance. Credit: Councillor Norman Jorgensen

Officials from the wider community were spotted at the event as well, including Superintendent Steve Radfield, the Local Policing Area Commander for Reading, and Kamran Saddiq, chairman of the Reading Private Hire Association.

During the day, Mr Saleem cut a birthday cake for Pakistan made in the green and white colours of the nation, and the national anthem was sung.

Dignitaries and politicians then held speeches commenting on the occasion and the contributions of the Pakistani community in Reading, with Sikandar Hayat, Reading Labour’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Officer being one of the speakers.

Reading Chronicle: Sikandar Hayat, Reading Labour BAME officer speaking at the Pakistan Independence Day Mela in Reading. Credit: Sikandar Hayat / Reading LabourSikandar Hayat, Reading Labour BAME officer speaking at the Pakistan Independence Day Mela in Reading. Credit: Sikandar Hayat / Reading Labour

Mr Hayat addressed the crowd to speak about freedom of speech, human rights and the ongoing dispute over Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

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On the day there was also an award ceremony in which many members of the Pakistani community were recognised for their outstanding contributions and achievements.

The evening was finished off with performances from three top singers Maz Bonafide, Shafaq Ali and Sumera Shazad.