Pakistan celebrated its 70th Independence Day on Sunday with commemorative ceremonies held in Islamabad, as well as at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and the Pakistani embassy in Kabul.
The day began with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital along with a 21-gun salute in each provincial capital. Flag hoisting ceremonies were held in the provincial capitals and district headquarters, Radio Pakistan reported, and change of guard ceremonies were held at Mazar-e-Quaid and Mazar-e-Iqbal.
The main ceremony of the day was held at Islamabad’s Convention Centre, where President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hoisted the national flag.
In his address, the president urged the nation to work selflessly in order to confront the challenges that lie ahead, adding that every visible and invisible enemy will be chased and defeated in order to establish durable peace in Pakistan.
As the Pakistan Army carries out combing operations against suspected terrorists in various parts of the country days after a deadly attack in Quetta, the president assured the nation that the menace of terrorism would be eliminated from the country through decisive action and renewed determination.
President Mamnoon Hussain said Operation Zarb-e-Azb and the National Action Plan (NAP) have produced encouraging results and would continue until their logical conclusion.
Pakistan cannot forget the Kashmiris on this occasion, he said, as anti-government protests persist in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) despite a curfew after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani earlier in July.
Pakistan will continue supporting the Kashmiris in their struggle for self-determination in accordance with United Nations resolutions, the president said.
Both the president and prime minister emphasised sacrificing individual interests for the security, stability and survival of Pakistan.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif remembered those who gave up their lives for the country and said the nation stands united against terrorists.
The prime minister said it was a memorable day as the spirit of independence in IHK is at its peak, Radio Pakistan reported. He dedicated Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day to the freedom of Kashmir.
INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS:
The celebrations of Independence Day officially began with fireworks at parade ground Shakarparian in Islamabad at midnight.
The ground and surrounding areas were lit with thousands of colourful fireworks and lights. Thousands of citizens from Rawalpindi and Islamabad witnessed the great firework.
Special prayers were offered for the prosperity, integrity and solidarity of the country, unity of the Muslim Ummah and success of the long standing struggle of the Kashmiris after Fajr prayers.
Meanwhile, all major public and private buildings, roads and avenues had been decorated with illuminations, national flags, portraits of the national leaders, banners and buntings giving a festive look.
CHANGE OF GUARD CEREMONIES:
In Karachi, a change of guard ceremony was held in which a contingent of the Pakistan Navy took command of the Quaid’s mausoleum.
Pakistan Naval Academy Commandant Commodore Adnan Ahmad was the chief guest of the change of guard ceremony. He also laid a flower wreath on Quaid’s sepulcher.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, along with his cabinet, went to the Quaid’s mausoleum to pay his respect. They laid floral wreaths and offered Fatiha Khawani and penned down tribute to the Quaid in the Guest Book.
A change of guard ceremony was also held at the Mausoleum of Allama Iqbal in Lahore where an army unit took up guard duties from the Rangers.
GOC Major General Tariq Aman was the chief guest of the change of guard ceremony.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif laid floral wreath at Iqbal’s masouleum. Top political figures and others hailing from all other walks of life paid visits to Iqbal’s mausoleum after the change of guard. Fool-proof security arrangements were made on the occasion.
Khyber Pakhtwankhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak performed the national flag hoisting ceremony in Peshawar. A cultural dance was presented on the occasion.
During his speech on the occasion, he said Pakistan is a great blessing of Allah on us and that our forefathers rendered great sacrifices for it.
The chief minister said we should promote democratic values, justice and equality in the society. A collective prayer was also offered on the occasion for the development and prosperity of the nation.
Rescue 1122 took out a Float in Faisalabad and there was also national flag hoisting ceremony.
In Muzaffarabad, the main flag hoisting ceremony was held at the Azad Kashmir President’s House.
AJK President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan hoisted the national flag.
The ceremony was attended by AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Legislative Assembly, high ranking civil and military officials and notables of the city.
CEREMONIES IN DELHI, KABUL:
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit unfurled the national flag at a ceremony held at the Pakistan High Commission.
Addressing the ceremony, Abdul Basit said Pakistan will continue extending political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of IHK for their right to self-determination. He said Pakistan has dedicated this day to the Kashmiris, Radio Pakistan reported.
An Independence Day ceremony was also held at the Pakistani embassy in Kabul, where Ambassador Ibrar Hussain hoisted the national flag.