Independence Day 2021: Why Pakistan celebrates freedom a day before India

Pakistan Independence Day: Two sovereign nations, India and Pakistan, both came into existence on August 15, 1947, thanks to the Indian Independence Act, 1947.
Indian and Pakistani national flags fluttering (File Photo/Reuters)
Indian and Pakistani national flags fluttering (File Photo/Reuters)
Updated on Aug 14, 2021 12:58 PM IST
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By | Written by Karan Manral, New Delhi

Pakistan is celebrating its 75th Independence Day on Saturday, a day before India, too, marks its 74th year of freedom. However, the Indian Independence Act, 1947, gave birth to two sovereign countries, India and Pakistan, on August 15 that year. Then, why is it that Pakistan observes its Independence Day on August 14, and not on August 15?

Over the years, multiple theories have been floated to answer the said question. Some of those are as follows:

(1.) Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of British India and the first Governor-General of the Dominion of India, transferred the power of governance of Pakistan to its founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in Karachi on August 14, 1947. Though Mountbatten mentioned August 15 as the date on which India and Pakistan would become independent nations, Pakistan adopted August 14 as its Independence Day as the transfer of power took place on that date.

(2.) In June 1948, at a cabinet meeting chaired by Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, it was proposed that the country celebrate its Independence Day before India. The proposal was taken to Jinnah for his approval and the date was advanced to August 14.

(3.) Religion is also cited as one of the reasons. It is argued that the intervening night of August 14 and 15, 1947, coincided with the 27th day of Ramadan, which is regarded as an auspicious day of the holy month. Hence, August 14 was taken as the day of independence.

(4.) Indian Standard Time (IST) being 30 minutes ahead of the Pakistan Standard Time (PST) is also cited as a reason. Since India became a free country at 00:00 hours on August 15, the local time in Pakistan was 11:30pm on August 14, and hence the latter celebrates its independence on this date.

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Sunday, January 23, 2022