After 7-year hiatus, nation witnesses Pakistan Day parade

Published: March 23, 2015
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

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.

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.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (31)

  • Asok
    Mar 23, 2015 - 9:55AM

    Oh, congratulations. Hope the Chinese president, who is chief guest, likes it.Recommend

  • fact
    Mar 23, 2015 - 10:14AM

    I remember how for weeks tribune was sharing the news of Indian day parade, its rehearsal, full dress rehearsal , about weather and how it will all be .Thanks for sharing Pakistan day parade!!!Recommend

  • Chachoo
    Mar 23, 2015 - 10:16AM

    Lahore Resolution 1940 only called for a separate homeland based on North Western India and Bengal regions. Lahore resolution never stated to make a Homeland for the Muslims of the whole of India. Lahore resolution never tried to bracket the Muslims of the whole Subcontinent into one category or to develop a Pure state for all the Muslims of India.
    Central Indians regions including UP were never included in Lahore resolution 1940, Also Iqbal ever mentioned them to be a part of Autonomous regions. Even Chaudary Rehman Ali who proposed the name of Pakistan based the name on North Western Regions of India ( Punjab. Sindh, KP and Balochistan) only. Recommend

  • Majazi
    Mar 23, 2015 - 11:20AM

    @Chachoo:
    What’s the point?
    This is such a beautiful parade…Did you apeak anything about it?Recommend

  • Mar 23, 2015 - 11:29AM

    @Asok:
    Thank you for your obsession with Pakistan and watching Pakistan’s day prade !Recommend

  • fact
    Mar 23, 2015 - 11:36AM

    @Chachoo:
    Bro, whats the point you want to share here like what this has to do with Pakistan Day Parade? Recommend

  • AamirSherKhan
    Mar 23, 2015 - 11:36AM

    Why do we have to display millitary hardware in this prade.Dont we have anything Good to show.Recommend

  • machiavelli
    Mar 23, 2015 - 11:51AM

    @fact:
    True. Its almost offensive how Tribune and even dawn somehow represent India more than Pakistan. Somewhere, at sometime, the pseudo-intellectuals started believing, being liberal means being on the other side. Being liberal, however, means being free and open-minded and having no biases.. Recommend

  • The Khan
    Mar 23, 2015 - 11:55AM

    I love you Pakistan. Inspite of the troubles, me and my whole family are ready to sacrifice our lives for our beloved country. Recommend

  • Charlie Chaplen
    Mar 23, 2015 - 11:57AM

    This reminds me of good old days…..really happy they are coming back slowly but surely.Recommend

  • Bangash
    Mar 23, 2015 - 12:09PM

    Pakistan day mubark!!! RIP the photo graphics,i think ET deliberately published these low quality pics… Recommend

  • Rafay
    Mar 23, 2015 - 12:10PM

    @Asok
    The Chinese President was supposed to be the chief guest but he is nowhere to be seen at the parade. He basically threw water at Pakistani dreams of having a foreign dignitary grace this parade. Recommend

  • machiavelli
    Mar 23, 2015 - 12:10PM

    Pakistan Zindabad!Recommend

  • Careless Whispers
    Mar 23, 2015 - 12:26PM

    @Asok:
    This is Pakistan Day Parade, not Chinese Day Parade, Oh wait my bad ur comparing it with Indian held Obama Day Parade few weeks/ months back.. :)Recommend

  • Mohammad
    Mar 23, 2015 - 12:32PM

    None of the prominent and famous twitter trolls said a single word about Pakistan Day Prade… Recommend

  • hira
    Mar 23, 2015 - 1:24PM

    ET @11.31am … I am sure it is Wing Commander not Ring Commandar flying those F-16s and F-17sRecommend

  • M NADEEM
    Mar 23, 2015 - 1:30PM

    I have written to Pakistan PM Mr. Nawaz Sharif, conveying my greetings on the National Day of Pakistan.Recommend

  • AK47
    Mar 23, 2015 - 1:57PM

    Despite being a nuclear state and having a mighty army the 23rd March parade was held after a gap of 7 years. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Mar 23, 2015 - 2:40PM

    The optics of the whole parade was not only good but at this stage, necessary as well.Recommend

  • Naresh
    Mar 23, 2015 - 4:58PM

    CONGRATULATIONS TO PAKISTAN ON THEIR PAKISTAN DAY PARADE HELD ON 23RD MARCH 2015.
    PeaceRecommend

  • Mar 23, 2015 - 5:03PM

    Wishing All A Very Happy Pakistan Day!

    Abdul Quddus
    DET – U.S. Central CommandRecommend

  • S.R.H. Hashmi
    Mar 23, 2015 - 6:58PM

    Apart from spectacular display, the occasion was also superb in that it is a manifestation of the fact that the nation is finally coming out of the fear of terrorists, and we must thank the armed forces for making this possible.

    It is also claimed that democracy is now on firmer grounds which was also due to the fact that the opposition has vowed not to allow anyone to overthrow the system. I must mention here that the support given by the opposition to the government was not so much to strengthen democracy, but to ensure continuation of so that those in politics could continue to remain in power, and use it for the benefit of self, family, friends and associates. If they really had any love of democracy, they would not have deliberately thwarted all attempts to hold local government elections which are the final link that take democracy to grass roots level. It does not augur well for democracy when the courts have to persistently press the provincial governments to hold local body elections which are a constitutional requirement.

    Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have improved considerably ever since Dr. Ashraf Ghani took over as a President. However, Dr. Ghani has just expressed fears that military operations in tribal areas are having the effect of pushing terrorists into Afghanistan territory. And it is with this threat in mind that he is asking US President to delay evacuation of US troops from Afghanistan. This issue has to be dealt with considerable caution otherwise the relations could sour again.

    Army is indeed playing the lead role in the war against the terrorists and has achieved considerable success, making possible the return of the displaced persons to their homes. However, the fight against individuals, parties, terrorist outfits and institutions which hold direct responsibility for creating intolerance, militancy and terrorism within the society has to fought by provincial governments in cities, towns and villages of the country. Unfortunately, this work has not even been started in earnest yet.

    Nawaz Sharif’s relations with the army chief seem to have improved considerably, and they are frequently seen in each other’s company. On the face of it, it looks good. I think the army chief played a part in bringing PML-N and PTI closer together to conclude an agreement between them on the terms of reference for the Judicial Commission which is to investigate rigging allegations in the 2013 elections. However, too much familiarity between Nawaz Sharif and army chief could remove the traditional sword that civilian governments see as hanging over them all the time. Removal of such fears may make Nawaz Sharif complacent, and he may opt not to start operations against sectarian and terrorists outfits based in Punjab as also against extremists institutions which are creating and promoting intolerance, militancy and outright terrorism. These efforts need to be replicated in other provinces as well.

    I may be wrong but I get a feeling that softening of PTI’s stand has been made possible through some inducements, like offering them an opportunity to establish their hold in Karachi by trying to eliminate or drastically curb the influence of MQM over the city by all means at state’s disposal. This view is further strengthened by the timing of airing of Saulat mirza’s video and the immediate action taken on it by the govenment. Now, Uzair Baloch also made sensational disclosures involving top Peoples Party leadership. Former MPA Sardar Nabeel Gabol who recently resigned from MQM and who previously belonged to Peoples Party has also made a lot of startling disclosures on this issue. But in comparison to the prominence given to Saulat Mirza’s video, hardly any notice is being taken of Uzair Baloch’s statement, which is strange to say the least, or perhaps taking a deeper look, not strange at all.

    I urge the civilian and military authorities to display a sense of proportion, justice and fair play while dealing with Karachi issues.

    KarachiRecommend

  • salman
    Mar 23, 2015 - 9:27PM

    Fantastic event. Kudos to the organizers. If we can organized such a spectacular event we can surely host any cricket match in the country now.Recommend

  • yo2da2
    Mar 23, 2015 - 10:17PM

    From the USA: Congratulations to Pakistan and Pakistanis on this Pakistan Day celebrations!!! This is a hopeful sign as it brings people together and gives them pride. Recommend

  • Mohd abas lone
    Mar 23, 2015 - 10:36PM

    i m happy today as i saw a new pakistan today hope u ll remember all muslims of the world and every1 except u r helpless and mention my name when i ll leave this world Recommend

  • MJ
    Mar 23, 2015 - 11:49PM

    Great event and very well organized. However why does COAS drive around in a 7-series BMW? His official protocol vehicle should have been an SUV. Armored if needed against light weapons. Our poor country should not be buying expensive sedans that serve no other purpose than showing off. Recommend

  • bechari-awam
    Mar 24, 2015 - 12:05AM

    bechari-awam is very happy today. I guess most of us are missing the point here. Just the reason that it was held is more significant then anything else and we can see the immediate effects. The nation is now more confident that the worst days are over and as the emotions are running high, they are more willing to put their abilities on test for the betterment of the country. Recommend

  • ajeet
    Mar 24, 2015 - 1:44AM

    @US CENTCOM:
    The joker is back.Recommend

  • Muhammad Iqbal Khan
    Mar 24, 2015 - 4:17AM

    zindabad,Raheel Shreef zindabadRecommend

  • US CENTCOM
    Mar 24, 2015 - 6:04PM

    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, USCENTCOMRecommend

  • sam ganguly
    Mar 25, 2015 - 12:14AM

    bengal was never meant to be a part of the alien regiments.Recommend

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