Government buildings were adorned with lights and bunting while civilians pasted their vehicles with flags and went out to celebrate Independence Day on Tuesday.
Flag-hoisting ceremonies were held at Hazoori Bagh, the Punjab Assembly, the Lahore High Court, Wapda House, the Rescue 1122 headquarters and the Punjab University.
The Sports Department put on an air show at Minto Park where around 30 participants flew model planes and helicopters via remote control. The competition did not have any award money but attracted a large crowd. The competition was followed by performances by a band and tableaus by students.
The Punjab government had set up face-painting stalls where hundreds of children got their faces painted green. Badges, bunting and souvenirs were distributed to thousands of people at Minto Park who had come to watch the air show. Additional Information Secretary Tahir Raza Hamdani claimed that more than 10,000 people had visited Minto Park on Tuesday.
Tariq Zaman, the personal staff officer to the district coordination officer, said that 3,500 streamers had been put up around the city while 88 government buildings had been decorated with lighting and bunting. He said that the city government made special decorative arrangements on The Mall, Jail Road, Gulberg’s Main Boulevard and Canal Bank Road.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, addressing the flag-hoisting ceremony at Hazoori Bagh, said that Pakistan had progressed in some areas over the last 65 years, but it also had a long list of failures.
He said that it was a matter of concern and food for thought that the system had offered no support to Mohsin Ali, a worker at a tandoor who came first in the BA examinations. He said that Ali lived in a single room with 11 other labourers. He achieved his “miracle” through hard work and commitment. He said that there were millions of young people like Ali in the country and if given a chance they could help Pakistan progress.
Sharif said that all 180 million Pakistanis whether they live in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan or Azad Kashmir – would have to work together to strengthen the country.
The chief minister announced a cash prize of Rs50,000 thousand rupees for the boy and girl students and an equal amount for the special children who had presented national songs. He also announced a cash prize of Rs15,000 for the music director. He thanked guests at the event who had come from Turkey and Iran.
At Wapda House, Chairman Shakil Durrani unveiled a flag measuring 100 feet by 40 feet and weighing 180 kilograms that had been prepared especially for Independence Day and was hung across the building’s facade. The chairman also unveiled the model of a Wapda tunnel-boring machine, two of which are being used at the 969 MW-Neelum Jhelum hydropower project. DCO Noorul Amin Mengal visited Mian Munshi for a flag-hoisting ceremony.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2012.