KARACHI: Pakistan achieved the world record for most people singing a national anthem simultaneously late Saturday night when 5,857 Pakistanis chanted the national anthem here at the Defence Stadium in connection with the Independence Day celebrations.
The most noteworthy part of the achievement was that the event was arranged by two jingoistic youngsters, Abid Beli and Waqas Pai with a vigorous campaign on social and digital media without any sponsorship or support from the public or private sector.
People along with their families and friends started gathering at the designated venue at about 10pm. Rangers, police and scout personnel surrounded the stadium, while volunteers organised the traffic and guided people.
The excited crowd chanted slogans as they filled the ground. Youngsters with face paint and wristbands of national colours kept waving the Pakistani flag. Distinguished in the parade of national flags, was a 40-metre national flag held by youngsters. Renowned television host, entrepreneur and intellectualist Faisal Qureshi was hosting the event.
Addressing the participants of the ceremony Beli the main organiser congratulated the people for breaking the world record of most people singing the national anthem. Later while talking to Daily Times he said that the idea was put forth by his associate Pai. He said that the objective behind organising the event was to motivate Pakistani youth to play their due role in the betterment of society. He was of the view that the bomb blasts across the country including the attack on General Headquarter (GHQ) and Abbottabad operation were the events that compelled the youth to gather up and do something for their country.
Beli further said that earlier, India held the record for most people singing the national anthem but he said, it was a flaw as the Indians had sung ‘Vande Mataram’, which is not their national anthem. He further said that they wrote to the concerned authorities in this regard and in response the title was repealed and awarded to Philippines, where 5,248 students, staff, faculty and alumni of MSU-IIT sang ‘Lupang Hinirang’ Philippines’ national anthem on Sept 1, 2009.
To a question he said that the behaviour of federal and provincial government was regrettable, as they did not permit the event to be organised at Ibn-e-Qasim Park on the pretext of security concerns. He said that political parties are provided with the permission of taking out rallies and large public meetings, but the government did not support citizens for a noble cause.
Pai said not to him but for the entire nation it was a great achievement particularly when the country is facing deteriorating situation. He applauded the fervour of people, who gathered despite of rains, strike and other hurdles. He said that the cost of the event was about Rs 0.7 million which was contributed by the organisers and their friends. Only a minor sponsorship was offered at the eleventh hour, he added.
He also appreciated the role of Defence Housing Authority (DHA), who provided them the venue without any cost. “Now we are planning to improve the record in upcoming years, beside forming other records. In this regard we would announce soon another event on Quaid-e-Azam day,” a fervent Pai said.
Renowned politician Marvi Memon was also present on the occasion. She said that in 1947 Muslims of the sub-continent had earned their freedom and now they are free but yet to gain the real liberty. She appealed the masses to unite for the betterment and progress of the country.
Captain Wasi, who was freed along with his ship crew after months-long captivity by the Somali pirates, was present on the occasion along with his daughter Laila Wasi. Addressing the ceremony, he said that disasters and tragedies have always encouraged nations, particularly Muslims to unite. In 1940s miseries of the Muslims of sub-continent encouraged them to fight for their freedom. Today, we are facing a number of problems again and the nation will unite soon as this is an opportunity to shun the differences, he added.
Laila Wasi, a student of grade 6, while talking to Daily Times said that she wanted to see the metropolis becoming the city of peace. She appealed the entire nation to stand united.
In the end, thousands of people sang the national anthem, breaking the previous records. Now the tickets’ record, photos and video evidences will be sent to the Guinness Book of World Record authorities as a formality for awarding the record to Pakistan.