KARACHI: Pakistan celebrates its 70th Independence Day with commemorative ceremonies across the country, pledging to safeguard the country against any threats and make it a true Islamic welfare state as envisioned by the Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The day began with special prayers for the progress and prosperity of the country and a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salute in each provincial capital.
The main event of flag-hoisting ceremony was held at Islamabad’s Convention Center. The ceremony began with President Mamnoon Hussain hoisting the national flag.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah, Speaker National Assembly, Chairman of the Senate, diplomats and bureaucrats attended the ceremony.
PRESIDENT MAMNOON HUSSAIN
Addressing the ceremony, President Mamnoon Hussain congratulated the nation on the 70thIndependence Day of Pakistan and prayed for the welfare of the country.
He said it was not appropriate to paint the gloomy picture of the nation’s future. “We should review our performance in the past 70 years and the youth of the country should strive for its development and prosperity.”
Welcoming the Chinese delegation, he said Pakistan and China had convergent outlook on international matters and the ties between the two countries guaranteed stability in the region.
CHINESE VICE PREMIER
While addressing the ceremony, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang expressed happiness over being part of the event on the invitation of Pakistan and the directions of President Xi Jinping as a special good-will gesture.
He acknowledged the struggle and commitment of Pakistanis to nation building, saying it was because of their struggle that the country was progressing despite inadequate resources.
He said China wants to strengthen its multi-dimensional strategic cooperation with Pakistan.
The Chinese vice premier referred to the ongoing war against terror and said his country would support Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorism.
Yang said Pak-China relations have survived through troubles and testing times due to incessant joint efforts. “Both the nation stood by each other in difficult times.” “Our friendship is deeper than oceans and sweeter than honey,” he said
Flag-hosting ceremonies were also held at provincial capitals, district headquarters and important national institutions.
A change of guard ceremony was held at Quaid Azam’s mausoleum where a smartly dressed navy contingents assumed guard duties at the mausoleum. On this occasion, school children presented national songs and tableau skits. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah as well as Governor Muhammad Zubair visited the Qauid’s tomb and offered Fateha.
A change of guard ceremony was also held at the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal with contingents of Pakistan Army taking over guard duties at his tomb. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif laid floral wreath at his tomb.
All major public and private buildings, roads and avenues have been decorated with illuminations, national flags, and portraits of the national leaders, banners and buntings to give a festive look.
Later in the day, a host of events including seminars, conferences, lectures, debates, speech contests, exhibitions, quiz competitions, stage dramas have been arranged by different organisations in connection with the day.
In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, flag hoisting ceremonies was held at all District and Tehsil headquarters. In Muzaffarabad, the flag hoisting ceremony was held at President House where AJK President Sardar Muhammad Masood Khan will raise the national flag.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cycling Association has organized a Jashn-e-Azadi cycle race from Peshawar to Nowshera on Monday morning.
Functions to mark the anniversary and independence celebrations was also held in FATA.
PRESIDENT AND PM’S MASSAGE ON 70TH INDEPENDENCE DAY
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in their separate messages on the occasion of the day urged the nation to forge unity and uphold supremacy of the Constitution.
The president called for joint efforts for development and prosperity of the motherland. He urged the need to promote love and harmony by overcoming hatred and misgivings and secure the future of the nation by turning despondency into hope.
In his message, the prime minister said we have to strengthen and reinforce state institutions so that they can play their prescribed role within the limits of law and the constitution. He said only a strong economy can ensure strong defence.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Pakistan desires positive and constructive relations with all countries and has made efforts to initiate the process of meaningful dialogue but unfortunately the expansionist designs of India have remained the main hurdle in this regard.