Australia observes 26 Jan each year as AUSTRALIA DAY because Captain Cook landed on Australian continent on this day. The day is declared a public holiday all over Australia. Traditionally Australia Day is celebrated by holding parades and People’s March in all major cities. These parades are normally known as Australia Day People’s March.
Various community groups, organisations, clubs, NGO’s and ethnic communities originating from various countries all over the world also participate in this March. The ethnic communities carry flags of their countries and wear traditional dresses. By and large Australia Day People’s March signifies the rich Australian heritage, great inter-community unity and the very rich multicultural society of Australia.
While all other ethnic communities regularly represent their countries of origin unfortunately Pakistan remained unrepresented on the Australia Day People’s March for a long time. Mr Asad Amin was the first Pakistani to work on this project. He liaised with Australia Day Committee and managed to reserve a time and space slot for the Pakistani community in Melbourne to be part of the Australia Day People’s March in 2007.
Pakistan Australia Association Melbourne Inc. (PAAM) followed up the initiative taken by Mr Asad Amin and participated in the March on 26 Jan 2009. It was a very colourful and energetic Pakistan squad with young Pakistanis raising and waving Australian and Pakistan flags and chanting PAKISTAN ZINDABAD. This coverage was shown on Channel 9 in its National News and word spread quickly among Pakistan community in Melbourne.
When PAAM squad reached the Saluting Base a detailed citation was read about Pakistan and PAAM by the MC. The PAAM Executive Committee decided that participation in Australia Day People’s March would be made a permanent feature with better arrangements each year.
In the meantime a historic event took place among Pakistan community organisations which changed the manner in which our community would socialise with each other in future. For a very time the Pakistan community had endured the factional rivalries of various organisations and selfish personal agendas of their leaders. In this dark era the Presidents of following three organisations held a meeting on Friday 10 April 09 and decided to create a higher unified umbrella body.
a. Australian Muslim Community Education Forum Inc. (AMCEF)
b. Pakistani Australian Christian Association (PACA.
c. Pakistan Australia Association Melbourne Inc. (PAAM)
This body was named
AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION OF PAKISTAN ORGANISTAIONS INC. (AFPO)
At a later stage these Presidents decide to admit Pakistan Students Association of Australia Inc. (PSAA) in AFPO.
These Presidents also decided that while each Organisation joining AFPO would retain its independent identity and would enjoy equal status; they all would cooperate with each other to enhance the image of Pakistan and put up a united presence whenever necessary. Other Pakistani Organisations from Melbourne and all over Australia would be welcome to join AFPO.
Australia Day Committee had reserved the time and space slot for PAAM for the March but the PAAM Executive Committee magnanimously offered this slot to AFPO. Australia Day Committee has been informed of this decision.
It is great news that on 26 Jan10 the whole Pakistan community in Melbourne would participate in Australia Day People’s March as one unified PAKISTAN CONTINGENT under the banner of AFPO. The introductions of the four organisations comprising AFPO have been forwarded to Australia Day Committee and would be read out by MC when PAKISTAN CONTINGENT approaches the saluting base.
Just imagine what great message would be conveyed to thousands of people present there about the unity, tolerance and mutual respect of Pakistan community in Melbourne when it would be announced that PAKISTAN CONTINGENT comprises of a Muslim Organisation — AMCEF;— a Christian Association —PACA; —a not so religious PAAM — and a Student Association —- PSAA.
We invite the whole Pakistan community in Melbourne to come and join PAKISTAN CONTINGENT in Australia Day People’s March on 26 Jan 10 and send out a positive and powerful message about our beloved country Pakistan.
The assembly point is corner of Swanston St and Bourke St in the city at 9.00 AM.