The separate states of India and Pakistan were created at midnight on August 15, 1947. Yet while India celebrates that day as its independence day, Pakistan celebrates its independence day a day before. Why it is so?
From the British side, the Indian Independence Act 1947 clearly recognized 15 August as the birthday of both Pakistan and India and it clearly states: “As from the fifteenth day of August, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, two independent Dominions shall be set up in India, to be known respectively as India and Pakistan.”
“It is with feelings of greatest happiness and emotion that I send you my greetings. August 15 is the birthday of the independent and sovereign State of Pakistan. It marks the fulfillment of the destiny of the Muslim nation which made great sacrifices in the past few years to have its homeland.” Muhammad Ali Jinnah
This was the message Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the first Governor General of Pakistan, sent out to his fellow countrymen as the state of Pakistan was born in 1947.
In 1948, Pakistan changed the day of its independence, because it coincided with the 27th day of the Holy month of Ramadan.
In 1947, 15 August happened to be the Jummat-ul-Wida, the last Friday of the holy month of Ramzan, and Jinnah asked all Muslims across the world to come together at mosques and pray and seek His guidance to make Pakistan a great state.
Also, it cannot be ignored that Pakistan might have wanted an identity distinct from India, which could also have led to the change. Even the India Independence Act of 1947 states that 15 August was the date when the two independent dominions were formed. The postage stamps of Pakistan released in July 1948 commemorating the day also mentioned 15 August 1947 as its Independence Day.
Jinnah was however keen to maintain peace and friendly relations with India. The first broadcast also said, “Our object should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with our immediate neighbors and with the world at large. We have no aggressive designs against any one. We stand by the United Nations Charter and will gladly make our full contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world.”