Pakistan Independence Day on August 14 could be considered a double day of liberation. Muslim Indians also fought to be free of British rule and later re-armed to battle for their own nation-state, present day Pakistan — once part of the Indian subcontinent. After the British put down the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Crown assumed full control during the British Raj period. This lasted until Pakistan’s independence in 1947. The Mountbatten Plan split Pakistan (comprised of West and East Pakistan) from India, creating an independent Muslim nation. In 1971, East Pakistan gained its own independence, becoming known as Bangladesh. Today, West Pakistan is known simply as Pakistan.
Pakistan Independence Day timeline
British take control of Indian subcontinent
The Government of India Act results in the British Crown assuming direct control over much of the Indian subcontinent, including the areas known today as Bangladesh and Pakistan.
- August 14, 1947
British rule ends
It's the end of the British Raj (the period of British rule of India beginning in 1858); and in the aftermath, divisions in the subcontinent resulted in Pakistan's hard-fought win for independence.
- March 23, 1956
Pakistan transitions from a dominion to a republic, officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This date also marks the split into West and East Pakistan.
How to Observe Pakistan Independence Day
Wear Pakistan's national colors
The Pakistani flag displays its national colors of green and white. Green symbolizes prosperity and good fortune and white represents peace. Together, these colors can radiate positive energy. So, if you share Pakistani heritage, hoist that flag high!
Remember those who died for freedom
Pakistani independence was a hard fought battle for sovereign rights and religious freedom. Pause for the cause and remember those who died to liberate Pakistan.
Attend a local festival
All over the world, there are those with Pakistani heritage who celebrate Pakistan Independence Day with bursts of color, great food, lively music, and warm friends. Get inspired and create your own mini-festival at home!
5 Incredible Pakistan Facts That Will Instantly Make You The Smartest Person In The Room
A Taliban gunman tried to murder this Pakistani teenager-turned-activist as she rode a bus home from school. Two years later Malala received the Nobel Peace Prize for her global efforts on behalf of girls striving to receive an education.
It's home to the Eighth Wonder of the World
As a testament to China-Pakistan friendship, the Karakoram Highway, connecting the two countries, has an altitude 4,800 meters. It's the world's highest road blessed with picturesque, natural views, including mountains, glaciers and rivers.
Even after independence, it follows this British custom
On Pakistan Independence Day, there are "changing of the guard" ceremonies at national monuments, including the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah who is considered to be the founder of Pakistan.
It's a night for light
From candles in their homes, to oil lamps on the streets, to extravagant fireworks displays, Pakistanis pay homage to the bright light of independence during the evening hours of Pakistan Independence Day.
The world's largest volunteer ambulance service is there — who knew?
Since 1997 the Edhi Foundation has carried the distinction of overseeing the world's largest, volunteer-run ambulance service — which happens to be located in Pakistan.
Why Pakistan Independence Day is Important
Independence means celebration
Countries around the world have fought hard to win freedom and status as independent nations. The Pakistanis not only fought for independent sovereignty but they also battled for religious freedom. On Pakistan Independence Day, Pakistanis celebrate their many personal, religious and national freedoms.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah led the fight for independence
Several key leaders pushed for Pakistani independence — Muhammad Ali Jinnah being key among them. Jinnah, Karachi-born and London-trained as a barrister, became an organizing voice for independence in Pakistan as part of the Indian National Congress during the early years of the last century. Later, Jinnah helped to form coalitions fighting for Pakistan to be an independent Muslim nation-state. Today Muhammad Ali Jinnah is revered as the first governor-general of Pakistan, who was instrumental in shaping the country's policies and priorities after independence.
Religious freedom is guaranteed under the constitution
Imagine being forbidden to practice your religion because it's illegal. Pakistan Independence Day marks gratitude for the nation's Muslims because their right to freely practice Islam is guaranteed under their constitution. But in Pakistan today, there are several Muslim sects, as well as other religious minorities, who face persecution and daily threats of violence or death.