ISLAMABAD: The nation is celebrating the 76th Pakistan Day on Wednesday with a renewed pledge to make the country stronger by eliminating terrorism and achieving sustainable economic growth and greater political stability.
A joint military parade was held at the Parade Ground near the landmark Shakarparian hills in Islamabad. Personnel from all three services, Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force participated.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif were in attendance along with Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah, and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.
March-past by armed forces
Contingents of the Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy, as well as the Frontier Corps and Pakistan Rangers, each held an individual march-past, followed by a salute to President Mamnoon Hussain.
The day, which marks the historic event in 1940 when the Lahore Resolution was passed demanding a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent, dawned with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salutes in provincial capitals.
Special prayers were offered in mosques for the integrity and solidarity of the country.
The ceremony began with the singing of the national anthem, followed by an address by the president, chief guest of the event.
Addressing the ceremony, President Mamnoon lauded Pakistan Army’s stance on fighting terrorism and their sacrifices in the ongoing Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
“The operation will not end till terrorism has been eradicated completely from Pakistan’s soil,” he said.
He said the country’s nuclear stockpile and weapons are only for the country’s defense.
“We are a peaceful nation. Pakistan never has and never will participate in any arms race.”
“Pakistan’s wish to be on friendly terms with its neighbours should not be considered as its weakness,” he said, adding “peace in Kashmir is essential and Pakistan will continue supporting its Kashmiri brethren.”
Officers of the three armed forces jumped from a helicopter with the national flag and the flags of the three services, which was then carried by General Officer Commanding (GOC) SSG Major General Tahir Hussain Bhutta and presented to the president.
Various political, social, religious, and literary organisations arranged functions to highlight the importance of the Pakistan Resolution that paved the way for the creation of an independent homeland for the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent.
Photo exhibitions were also arranged at the arts galleries in different cities depicting different aspects of the independence movement and photographs of the founding fathers.
While programmes were scheduled in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir as well, Pakistan Day functions will also be held at Pakistani missions abroad where ambassadors and high commissioners will unfurl the national flag and read out the messages of the president and prime minister.
Foolproof security arrangements have been made to avoid any untoward incident, besides a special traffic plan for the day in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Cellular services suspended in Islamabad
Cellular services were suspended in the capital as Pakistan Day celebrations kicked off.
Mobile phone networks went offline early morning and will remain suspended through out the day, Express News reported.
President, governors to confer civilian awards
President Mamnoon Hussain will decorate 84 recipients of civil awards – including eight foreign nationals and Pakistanis living abroad – during an investiture ceremony that will be held at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Governors of all the four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) as well as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee will bestow civilian awards on behalf of the president upon prominent personalities for their contributions in different fields.
The president had approved conferment of 159 civil awards on August 14, 2015 – the independence day of the country. Four additional awards were also approved after 14th August, 2015 as special cases.
Bilawal Bhutto, CM Sindh at Mazar-e-Quaid
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, along with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah arrived at Mazar-e-Quaid, Karachi to pay respects to the father of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Bilawal and the chief minister arrived at the mausoleum where they placed a wreath and offered Fateha and witnessed a change of guard ceremony on the occasion of Pakistan Day.