Happy Independence Day to the great nation of Pakistan!

Today is August 14th, the Independence Day of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Proudly the one and only Muslim nuclear power on the planet. The world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people, and the 33rd-largest country on the planet, spanning 881,913 square kilometers.

In search of knowledge

It was September 25, 2002 when I landed in Jinnah International Airport, Pakistan’s busiest international, and domestic airport, located in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan, and the commercial capital of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The airport is named after the founding father of Pakistan, Quaid-E-Azam: Mohamed Ali Jinnah.

I was a student in search of knowledge, especially of higher education in the Pakistani Universities, especially in Karachi. That journey successfully ended after I accomplished my higher education goals. That journey lasted almost eight years (8-years) from September 25, 2002-to-April 22, 2010. I and many other Somali students gained qualifications and experiences that changed our lives. We owe that to Pakistan. We also made life time friends, and I must say, in general, the people of Pakistan that we dealt with where generous and considerate to us.

Opportunities

The Pakistani people like, and respect other practicing Muslims, and vast majority of the Somalis who went there were practicing Muslims, and when they saw how our people were filling Mosques five times a day, and reading the Qur’an whenever possible, they accepted us wholeheartedly, as their brothers in Islam. The Pakistani government also knew that Somalis who were coming to Pakistan where mainly in four categories:

A-Students who were mainly in the major cities like:  Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, and Islamabad.

B-Refugees who came for a chance to migrate to one of the Western countries. These refugees were mainly in Islamabad where the UNHCR headquarter was located.

C-Tabliqi people who came with the Jama’at Tabliq for the sake of Allah (Khuruuj), although some stayed, and joined the Islamic universities, in order to educate themselves about Islam.

D-The last group where the Somali business community who some of them used to reside in the country, and had business dealing with the manufacturing sector, especially in the textile and pharmaceutical industry, while others used to come make some orders, and used to go back home.

Challenges

The only problem our people had was immigration issues, since we were coming from a country which was recovering from Civil war. Thankfully we weren’t like some other communities that were famous for dealing with drug trafficking, prostitution, and other underground illegal activities. That is why the Pakistani government, and its people had a soft spot for the Somali community everywhere in Pakistan.

Historic brotherhood

Pakistan and Somalis enjoyed historic brotherhood. Somalia played a leading role, and successfully negotiated in resolving the problem between East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh), and West Pakistan in 1971, on the other hand, Pakistan stood firmly with our country: Somalia,  in the 1977 war between Somalia and Ethiopia, which is to us, what India is to Pakistan, the number one strategic enemy of our nation. The countries that stood firmly with us included: Pakistan, Iraq, and Egypt, to name few. Those supported the other side: Ethiopia, included: Russia, Cuba, Libya, and Yemen, to name few.

Inconclusion, To the generous people of Pakistan, we say: Happy Independence Day!

Pakistan Zindabad!!!

By: Abdulkadir M. Osman (Abdi Boqor)
A writer, an academic, and a political analyst
abdulkadirphd@hotmail.com. Minnesota-USA