QUETTA/ PESHAWAR/ ISLAMABAD/ LAHORE/ KARACHI: Everything had turned green – the clothes, the hats, the cars and the buildings, and why not. It’s not every day your country turns 70. The sky was lit up with fireworks all night before the sun came in to take over, and citizens young and old took a break before returning to celebrating the motherland’s 70th. But amid the countless informal celebrations, formal events were also held in most cities including the federal and all provincial capitals.
In Islamabad, President Mamnoon Hussain urged the nation to bury their differences and unite for the stability and development of the country.
He said that only those nations of the world that cast away despondency in favour of determination to achieve their national objectives are the ones that tread on the path of development and progress.
Speaking at a ceremony at Jinnah Convention Centre, the president said they were hoisting the national flag to pay tribute to the historic struggle of the leaders of the Independence Movement.
He said it was a time for introspection over the long history of construction, development and stability of Pakistan. Amid huge applause, the president said certain issues confronted by the country also required review by all and sundry.
"While we happily hoist the national flag today, we need to reiterate our strong resolve to always uphold the values of determination and dedication for the objective of the development of Pakistan," he added.
The president said he believed that universal ideals, the teachings of the freedom movement leaders, and our glorious history could provide answers to all the burning questions of our era, and in their light, we could improve the present and the future.
"It is good to think and be concerned about the future of the country, but it is not right to be dejected, because nations which tread the path with great determination are always successful in overcoming their challenges," he added.
He noted that a democratic and parliamentary system reflected the desire of the whole nation and urged citizens to rise above minor divisions and work for solidarity and stability in the country.
He said that since the creation of Pakistan, the country experimented with different systems of government, and asked why continuity has not been attained in these matters.
“One reason could be that instead of giving due time to these systems for proper development, they became restless, due to which these systems could not fully develop according to their natural pace,” President Mamnoon said.
"That is why it is imperative that before treading a new path, experiences of the past should be thoroughly reviewed,” he added.
He urged the whole nation, especially all stakeholders, to unite under the Constitution of Pakistan in the national interest by setting aside their differences and ensure its supremacy.
Welcoming the presence of Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, the president said it reflected the deep ties between Pakistan and China as both countries had shared views on various global issues.
Bilateral ties are significant in the context of bilateral progress, prosperity and regional cooperation and stability.
Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Wang Yang highlighted the significance of Pak-China ties, saying they were higher than the mountains, stronger than steel, and sweeter than honey.
Wang felicitated the Pakistani nation on its 70th Independence Day and expressed his government's determination to support Pakistan in its efforts for development, regional stability and securing its national interests and sovereignty.
“Pakistan is a hard-working, peace-loving nation. Its sacrifices against terrorism are unmatched and unforgettable.
With self-reliance and hard work, the nation is excelling in different fields of life, he added.
The vice premier said China and Pakistan stood as closely as ever on different world issues after establishment of their bilateral ties.
He recounted Pakistan's support for China in difficult situations and said the all-weather friendship has stood the test of time.
“Under the vision of President Xi Jinping, China wants to further take this strategic partnership to new heights,” the vice premier stated.
Wang said the Chinese government desired to accelerate and accomplish the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for greater economic prosperity of the Pakistani nation.
“China always considered Pakistan a good neighbour and will remain its friend and brother,” he said.
In his Independence Day message, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Quaid-e-Azam envisioned Pakistan as a modern democratic entity, but this vision “faced myriad challenges.”
Abbasi said the PML-N government has made the realisation of Quaid’s dream its abiding mission.
“Today we are treading the path of prosperity and progress in a peaceful and dignified country because of the sacrifices [of our forefathers]. We are greatly indebted to our ancestors for their sacrifices and we can repay that debt only by making Pakistan a free and independent country,” the prime minister said.
“We may belong to different tribes, fraternities and ethnicities. We may be working in different spheres of national life. Our political vision and thinking can be different and our economic vision may have different perspectives, but ascendancy of national interests and invincible defence are common objectives of the entire nation, for which we have to make collective endeavours,” Abbasi said.
Celebrations began at the stroke of midnight with fireworks shows in major cities.
An impressive Independence Day Parade was also held at Bugti Stadium, Quetta.
The parade started with prayers for the martyrs of the recent Quetta attack and one minute of silence was also observed to pay respect and homage to them.
The civil and military leadership pledged to fight against terrorism and will not let the sacrifices made by the martyrs go in vain.
Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, and Southern Command head Lieutenant General Amir Riaz jointly administered the flag hoisting at the parade ground as smartly turned out contingents of all the security forces of Balochistan saluted it.
Independence Day celebrations across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and tribal areas were also quite lively.
The K-P government’s official ceremony was held in the morning at Civil Secretariat, Peshawar, where the K-P chief minister hoisted the national flag and wished a happy Independence Day to the nation.
“We are very lucky to have a free and independent country,” Khattak said in his speech, adding that his government has put all institutions of the province on the right track during his four-year term.
Khattak said that the rest of the world has progressed in these 70 years, while Pakistan was left behind.
Attending the air show in Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that August 14 reminds us of the sacrifices made by millions of Muslims of the subcontinent for a separate homeland.
“This day demands that we pledge to make all efforts to build Pakistan into a more prosperous and strong country, even if we have to sacrifice our lives,” Shah said.
The concluding ceremony of various ongoing activities organised by the Rangers since the beginning of August was held at Moin Khan Academy.
Karachi Corps Commander Lt General Shahid Mirza Baig was the guest of honour. Sindh Rangers Director-General Major General Muhammad Saeed was also present, along with a large number of musicians, artists and local residents.
Lahorites came out in full force to celebrate Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day as the city strummed a symphony of green on Monday.
Dawn broke to a 21-gun salute by the Pakistan Army near Lahore Cantonment.
The main national flag hoisting ceremony was held at Hazuri Bagh. Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif raised the flag in the presence of Lahore Mayor Colonel (retd) Mubashir Javed, political leaders, and senior government officials.
After the event, Shehbaz visited Allama Iqbal’s mausoleum and offered prayers. Shehbaz later spoke to the media and said the annual balance sheet should be reviewed to see what the nation had lost and achieved.
He urged countrymen to follow the teachings of Quaid-e-Azam and highlighted that Jinnah termed corruption as a poison in 1947. “On the 70th Independence Day of Pakistan, all citizens should vow to apply his words to their daily life,” he maintained.
Later in the day, an impressive flag lowering ceremony was held at the Wagah Border. People from all walks of life visited the border post to attend the ceremony and express their patriotism. APP
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AGENCIES)
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