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Pakistani Christians in USA celebrate ‘Independent Day” on 14th August, 2006 in Philadelphia. Reported by Hector Momain, Thomas Bhatti and Samson Yaqoob

USA: August 16, 2006. Every year in USA, we celebrate 4th July, which is the independent day of USA. Just after this celebration, on 14th August Pakistani Christians also celebrated their own country independent day in Philadelphia with the feast of Assumption of Mary. The special Holy mass was offered in St. William Church for their brothers, sisters, family people, and country people and especially for the Government of Pakistan that God may always bring peace and harmony in the country.

The Sumara Shehzad is a Christian National Pakistani Singer. On this day she also joined with Pakistani Christian community in prayer. She is a national singer and it is a great joy to write about her one of her interviewer’s told the people that she was a Christian and she is proud to serve the Pakistani people. She further explained that she had studied at St. John’s High School-Rahimyar Khan-Punjab. After high school, she went to the Government Degree College for Women in Bahawalpur. She finished her graduation and was very interested in Music in her early childhood. She always was first in solo competition in her school and in college. She was much encouraged by her listeners, friends and was much encouraged by her father Mr. Javeed Akhtar and her husband Mr. Shahzad to become a professional singer. She has sung religious, nationals and film songs in Wave Studio, (Catholic Musical Ministry) and in the film industry, in Pakistan, India and America. She has sung in 12 films and 50 religious songs as a professional singer. She is still singing new songs.

Presently she came to America for a visit and she sang a lot of national and religious songs in Punjabi and Urdu language on 14th August 2006, which is the national day of Pakistan. She was really much appreciated by the Pakistani Christians because of her good voice. Beside Sumera Shahzad, there were other Pakistani Christian singers they also sang Urdu and Punjabi Songs, namely Mr. Arif Akhtar, Mr. Obeyed Emmanuel, Edwin Dass. Mr. Iqeel Bhatti and Mr. Samson played a Tabla and Mr. Shakeel played harmonium. The service was held at St. William Church Hall, under the guidance of Rev. Fr. Dr. Dominic Isaac who is the Coordinator of Catholic Pakistani Apostolate in Philadelphia. He prayed for the Pakistani people with Pakistani Christians Community and asked them to continue to pray for peace, love, harmony and unity. He further expressed that the Pakistani people must keep their own Culture, language, customs and traditions but they should also be open to learn other cultures, customs, traditions and languages. He congratulated the people the independent day and also the feast of the Assumption of Mary, which is a feast day for all Catholic people. The program was sponsored by Earnest Paul, and organized by Advisory Council of Pakistani Catholic Community. Mr.Thomas Bhatti, Irfan Bhatti, Samson Yaqoob, Hector Momaim, Arif Yaqoob and Nicholas Sigamony in which they played a very active role in keeping the discipline in the program, thus the program was well organized and people appreciated the singers and the Catholic Pakistani community.

The program began with a prayer, the Bible reading was read by Mrs. Arif Yaqoob. After the prayer and the reading National Anthem was sung by all the people and Rita Kenneth the stage secretary. Mr. Nazir Bhatti and Mr. Mani Alam expressed theirs views to promote more unity, harmony, peace and love in the Pakistani community. They also explained the role of Christians in the history of Pakistan about all their own activities and services in Pakistan as a Christian community. The people were very happy and appreciated their services and sacrifices. After the program, the dinner was served by Mr. Thomas Bhatti family who is very active member in the advisory council.