August 14, 2014: Region marks nation’s 68th day of independence with low-key celebrations

Divided between marches and march pasts, province puts up lacklustre events.



PESHAWAR/GILGIT: As Pakistan turned 67 on Thursday, most remained glued to their television sets to see if the two political rallies would make it to Islamabad’s cordoned off D-Chowk. With so much going on, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) put up a smattering of events and flags to honour the country’s 68th Independence Day.

In the provincial capital, the main event kicked off before the clock struck nine at Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines where Chief Minister Pervez Khattak hoisted the flag.

“Sacrifices rendered by our elders for independence have not been honoured,” said Khattak. “Feudal and rulers with vested interests [exploited] the poor.”

At the Peshawar High Court, Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel did the same while the Jamaat-e-Islami held a similar event at Markaz-e-Islami.

There, provincial leader Dr Muhammad Iqbal Khalil said the two-nation theory empowered Muslims in the subcontinent and gave them an identity. He urged the people of the country to unite in these difficult times.

Hazara division

Commemorative events were held in Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Kohistan and Haripur, organised by the district administration and education department. At Hazara University, speakers stressed on the need for unity in the country to better meet the challenges of poverty, terrorism and sectarianism.

Swabi

A simple ceremony was also held at the University of Swabi. “Education is key for any nation in the world to attain success,” said Vice chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Noor. “The youth need to work round the clock to strengthen the fields of education and research.”

Similar flag hoisting events were held at Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute, Government High School and Swabi Stand Chowk.

Shangla

In the spirit of the day, Besham, Chakisar, Martong, Karora, and Bailay Baba were decked out in green and white. In Alpuri, Shangla Deputy Commissioner Zafarul Islam and other officials participated in the day’s festivities.

Mardan

“Pakistan is our identity,” said Abdul Wali Khan University VC Ihsan Ali at the varsity’s event which was open to staff, students and the public at large. Students performed patriotic anthems and the day came to a close with prayers for solidarity.

DI Khan

In DI Khan, Commissioner Muhammad Mushtaq Jadoon paid tribute to the leaders of the Pakistan Movement at the Mufti Mehmood School. He lauded the men of the security forces who have been killed in acts of terrorism.

“Their sacrifices will not go in vain,” said Jadoon.

DI Khan’s deputy commissioner visited central jail and distributed sweets among prisoners. Meanwhile, schools and universities marked the day with speech competitions, plays and other events highlighting the nation’s leaders.

For the rest of the public, events were held at Haq Nawaz Park amid strict security measures.

Swat

Celebrations in the district were a bit muted this year, with only a few buildings and shops dotted with tiny green paper flags in Mingora.

“We were expecting more enthusiastic celebrations on August 14 this year as compared to previous years,” Iqbal Zareen, a resident of Mingora, told The Express Tribune. The main event in the city was held at NGO Khpal Kor Foundation’s auditorium where students, and district and education officials were in attendance.

A flag hoisting ceremony was held at the Division Headquarters in Khwazakhela attended by GOC Major General Javed Bukhari.

Landikotal

In a first, the Khyber Agency political administration held an Independence Day event at a public spot.

A ceremony was held at Lowargi, Milad Chowk. Landikotal Assistant Political Agent Tayab Abdullah said, “The sacrifices of patriotic tribes are not hidden from anyone.”

Tribesmen have died to protect the country’s borders, added tribal elder Malik Darya Khan. Cash was distributed among patients at the local hospital as part of the commemorations.

Gilgit

A 31-gun salute greeted the morning on August 14 as G-B joined the rest of the country with the day’s celebrations.

A ceremony was held at 9am at Chinar Bagh, attended by war heroes, students and the public. The chief guest, Governor Pir Karam, hoisted the flag after which he addressed participants. Karam and other speakers vowed to defend the country against foreign aggressors. Later, the guests laid floral wreaths on the graves of those who had died in the line of duty.

A polo match was held on Thursday evening.

With additional input from APP and our correspondents in K-P, Fata

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th,2014.

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