After 7-year hiatus, nation witnesses Pakistan Day parade

Display of military show and national culture mark the day


Afp/web Desk March 23, 2015
PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday held its first Pakistan Day parade in seven years, a display of pageantry aimed at showing the country has the upper hand in the fight against the terrorists.

Mobile phone networks in the capital were disabled to thwart potential bomb attacks, some roads were closed to the public and much of the city was under heavy guard for the event.

The annual Pakistan Day parade was last held in 2008 before authorities abandoned it because of fears it could be targeted as militants increased their attacks on the military.

 



Folk artists perform during the parade. PHOTO: AFP

 

The military says the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is on the rack now thanks to an offensive waged against militant strongholds since June last year, allowing the display of martial pomp to be restarted.

The event, presided over by President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief General Raheel Sharif, was held on a parade ground in leafy Islamabad.

The event comes just over three months after TTP gunmen massacred more than 150 people, most of them children, at a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, an atrocity that shocked even conflict-weary Pakistan.

President Hussain paid tribute to soldiers fighting militants in the restive northwest, calling them his sons and pledging to go to the front line to hug them.

 



President Mamnoon Hussain rides a horse-drawn carriage escorted by presidential guards as he arrives at the venue for the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

 

"I also salute the innocent martyrs of the Army Public School Peshawar, who by sacrificing their lives made it clear to the enemy that this nation cannot be defeated," the president said.

Both modern and more traditional elements of Pakistan's military arsenal were on display, from nuclear-capable missiles and the new home-made armed Burraq drone to a camel-mounted musical band.

 



Camel-mounted military band performs during the parade. PHOTO: AFP

 

There were fly-pasts by the air force, including some dizzying aerobatic displays by JF-17 Thunder fighters, which are locally produced in cooperation with close ally China.

 



PHOTO: AFP

 

Nuclear-capable Nasr and Shaheen missiles, which have a range of up to 1,500 kilometres (900 miles), and Babur cruise missiles were also paraded.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he had written to his counterpart Sharif to congratulate him on Monday.



6:00pm

Watch a video of the Wagah Border ceremony held to mark Pakistan Day.





2:00pm

Mobile phone services have been resumed in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.



12:39pm

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a letter, congratulated PM Nawaz on Pakistan Day.







12:20pm



Army chief General Raheel Sharif leaves after attending the parade. PHOTO: REUTERS

 



12:10pm

As the parade comes to an end, Twitter users are all praise for the armed forces for a military show to remember.









https://twitter.com/Ayeshagjr/status/579902965479149568



12:03pm

President Mamnoon, PM Nawaz and chiefs of armed forces join the school children for a photo session.



11:55am

Students from various schools, waving Pakistan flags, walk around the parade ground.

Dressed in traditional outfits, the children perform national songs specially written for this occasion.

 



PHOTO: AFP



11:52am

As the parade nears its end, troops fold the Pakistan flag and present it to President Mamnoon.

The president meets commanders who led various contingents during the parade.





11:40am

Members of all armed forces – army, air force and navy – now dive from above in a free fall jump.

The jumpers make a smooth landing after flying fearlessly in a display of professional perfection.


Paratroopers perform during the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad March 23, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS




11:31am

PAF’s F-16 now makes an appearance, with its deafening thunder resonating in the parade ground. Ring Commander Usman Khalil flies the aircraft above the venue, putting up a magnificent display.


Pakistan Air Force pilots display their skills during the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad March 23, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS




11:10am

In a glorious display of strength, Pakistan Air Force’s J-F 17 Thunder flies past the parade ground. Completing a full circle, the aircraft flies above the participants in full speed.

Flown by Commander Usman Ali, the JF-17 also performs thunder turn and barrel roll before it disappears in Islamabad skies. The aircraft are locally produced in cooperation with close ally China.





11:10am

Fly past begins as air vehicles including cobra attack and high-speed helicopters hover above the parade.

Sher Dil squad put up a colourful show of aerial formations, leaving parade participants in awe.





10:51am

Floats representing Pakistan's cultural diversity - with replicas of landmarks from Karachi to Khyber - take part in the Pakistan Day parade.





10:51am

Cohorts displaying strategic weapons, including land-to-land, cruise and nuclear warhead-capable missiles, are now marching past the parade ground.

Nuclear-capable Nasr and Shaheen missiles, which have a range of up to 1,500 kilometres, and Babur cruise missiles are paraded.

The contingents also displayed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle which are playing a crucial role in intelligence gathering during recent times.


President Mamnoon Hussain inspects a guard of honour alongside long-range ballistic missiles the Shaheen II during the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2015. PHOTO: AFP




10:38am

Armoured contingents comprising tankers, air defence equipment and multi-missile launchers, take part in the parade.

 



PHOTO: AFP

 

 



PHOTO: AFP



10:25am

Cohorts of armed forces march past as PM Nawaz, President Mamnoon and Army chief witness the parade.

 



Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (C-R) watches the military parade. PHOTO: AFP

 

The contingents include members of Army, Navy and Air Force personnel as well as Pakistan Police and Pakistan Rangers.

 


Pakistan Air Force troops march during the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2015. PHOTO: AFP




10:14am

Addressing the military parade, President Mamnoon Hussain says the sacrifices made by our ancestors are unrivalled.

The president lauds the efforts of army officers taking part in Operation Zarb-e-Azb. “I am proud to watch the parade today,” he adds.

"I also salute the innocent martyrs of the Army Public School Peshawar, who by sacrificing their lives made it clear to the enemy that this nation cannot be defeated," the president said.


Troops from the Special Services Group (SSG) march during the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2015.  PHOTO: AFP


Speaking about Pakistan-India relations, Hussain says the country wants to maintain friendly relations with its neighbor and resolve Kashmir issue through dialogue. He also says Pakistan wants to build cordial ties with Afghanistan and maintain peace internationally.

With regards to Pakistan’s sea growing by 50,000 sq kms recently, the president says that it is for the first time that the continental shelf limits of a country have been extended.


Troops march during the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2015. PHOTO: AFP




10:09am

While those present at the parade were busy fending off the unforgiving March heat, emotions ran high among Pakistanis watching the ceremony at home. Many took to Twitter to express what they called nostalgia for the past.

 











09:58am

President Mamnoon Hussain is the chief guest for the event while the parade will also be attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army chief General Raheel Sharif.

 



President Mamnoon Hussain rides a horse-drawn carriage escorted by presidential guards as he arrives at the venue for the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2015. PHOTO: AFP



09:30am

Security measures have been put in place for the joint military parade of Pakistan’s armed forces.

Police officials had confirmed that mobile phone service will remain suspended in the twin cities during the parade.

 


Paramilitary rangers march during the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad on March 23, 2015. PHOTO: AFP




09:20am

The event comes just over three months after TTP gunmen massacred more than 150 people, most of them children, at Army Public School in Peshawar, an atrocity that shocked the world.

The last military parade took place on March 23, 2008 during the tenure of Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf as a civilian president.



09:10am

Security was beefed up in Rawalpindi and Islamabad by setting up checkpoints on different places and deploying personnel of the law enforcement agencies.

All the main arteries entering the parade avenue remain closed for traffic. Murree Road, linking Rawalpindi to Islamabad, was also be sealed.

COMMENTS (31)

sam ganguly | 6 years ago | Reply bengal was never meant to be a part of the alien regiments.
US CENTCOM | 6 years ago | Reply We congratulate the whole nation of Pakistan on commemorating Pakistan Day. As we all know, Pakistan Day is observed on March 23 to commemorate the passage of the Lahore Resolution of 1940, now called the Pakistan Resolution, on March 23 1940 at the ground in Lahore where the Minar-e-Pakistan now stands. It is no secret that the nation of Pakistan is facing various challenges and obstacles in the form of terrorism. It is our wish and desire to see peace prevail throughout the region. We stand with the nation during these testing times and wish a safe and secure future for the entire nation. Ali Khan Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOM
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