Preparations to celebrate Pakistan’s 68th Independence Day are in full swing, but in the wee hours of Tuesday, low fly-pasts by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) aircraft just after midnight created panic among residents of the twin cities.
As part of the Independence Day parade, PAF aircraft will perform a fly-past over Parliament House to pay homage to the airmen who fought, and especially those who died, to protect the country.
The drill on Monday night, however, created panic among the residents of the twin cities as the booming noise from the low flying planes made some people run for their lives, fearing a plane crash.
“The fly-past made my friend wake me up at around 1am while I was asleep,” said Fahad. “He was about to run out of the room in panic when I got him to calm down and explained that it was just a military rehearsal,” he said.
Many of the residents were of the view that there should have been prior warning, even if only through a siren or other announcement.
“We had no idea that the drill was part of the Independence Day activities,” said Muhammad Ikram adding, “We thought that something had happened outside the office building.” He said that his colleagues thought that it was some kind of surveillance plane and the fact that Independence Day was around the corner did not cross their mind.
Islamabad Capital Administration Commissioner Mujahid Sherdil and Rawalpindi Commissioner Zahid Saeed were not available for comment.
According to APP, two formations of PAF fighter jets are taking part in rehearsals for the fly-past to be held during the Independence Day parade and ceremony on the night between August 13 and 14.
The two formations include four F-16s and four Mirage combat aircrafts.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2014.