Armed forces parade a show of military might
ISLAMABAD: On the occasion of the 76th anniversary of the Pakistan Day on Wednesday, the Pakistan armed forces showed their military might as the nation celebrated the historic event with traditional zeal, renewing the pledge to wipe out terrorism and make efforts for peace in the world.
The day (March 23), which marked the historic event in 1940 when the Lahore Resolution was passed demanding a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent, dawned with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salutes in the provincial capitals.
Special prayers were offered in mosques after morning prayers for integrity, solidarity and prosperity of the country. It was a public holiday and the national flag was hoisted on all government buildings. The traditional military parade was the mega event of the Pakistan Day celebrations that was held at the Parade Ground near the landmark Shakarparian hills in the federal capital. The armed forces displayed their capabilities at the spectacular parade, aircraft flypast and paratroopers jumps, which was witnessed by President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, defence minister, chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, chief of army staff, chief of the naval staff and vice chief of air staff and others.
Troops of the parade including foot columns of army, navy, Pakistan Air Force, Frontier Corps, Northern Light Infantry, Mujahid Force, Islamabad Police, tri-service lady officers, tri-service armed forces, nursing service, girls guide, boys scouts, Special Services Group from three services, mechanised columns of armoured corps, artillery, Army Air Defence, Signals Engineers, Army Strategic Force, Command Camel Band and president’s bodyguards exhibited their professional worth and skills.
Fighter aircraft of PAF, Pakistan Navy and helicopters of the Army Aviation presented the fly past while there was a heart-warming show by the Sherdil formation, JF-17 Thunder and F-16 (Fighting Falcon) of the PAF.
Skydivers of the three services performed para jumps. The air power show enthralled not only the audience present at the parade venue but also the entire nation who viewed performance of blaring and colour emitting fighter jets on their television screens. Besides other activities, a change of guard ceremony was held at the tomb of national poet Allama Iqbal in Lahore in the morning.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and cabinet members visited mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to pay homage to the founder of the nation on the occasion of Pakistan Day.
Various political, social, religious and literary organisations arranged functions to highlight importance of the Pakistan Resolution that paved the way for creation of an independent homeland for the Muslims of the Indian Sub-Continent. Photo exhibitions were arranged at the arts galleries in cities depicting different aspects of independence movement and photographs of the founding fathers.
The day was also celebrated with traditional zeal and enthusiasm in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir with different functions. The Pakistan Day functions were also held at Pakistani missions abroad where ambassadors and high commissioners unfurled the national flag and read out the messages of the president and the prime minister.
Radio Pakistan, Pakistan Television and other electronic channels broadcast special programmes on the occasion, while newspapers published special supplements, highlighting significance of the day. Foolproof security arrangements were made to avoid any untoward incident besides a special traffic plan for the day in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
Meanwhile, the PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari offered prayer and laid flowers at Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum on the occasion of Pakistan Day. Bilawal was accompanied by Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and members of Sindh Assembly who placed floral wreath on the grave of the Father of the Nation and offered prayer for prosperity of the country.
Earlier, President Mamnoon Hussain said while addressing the Pakistan Day Parade in Islamabad that Pakistan was playing a vital role against extremism and terrorism and would play its part in global efforts to fight these threats to bring peace to the world.bring peace to the world.
The president said Pakistan had always stood for peace and its efforts in this regard had been globally recognised. He mentioned Pakistan’s desire for peace, particularly with its neighbours. He, however, said: “Our desire for peace should not be construed as our weakness. The enemy must not dare cast an evil eye on us. We will not shy away from any sacrifice to safeguard our frontiers.”
The president said Pakistan had come a long way and despite its initial challenges, it had not only made a place in the comity of nations but was continuing to strive for peace in the world and the region. He said Pakistan’s efforts for global peace were also reflective from its contribution to the UN peace missions to Congo, Somalia and Haiti.
He said Pakistan faced many onslaughts on it by the enemy but every time they got a befitting response. He said Pakistan’s enemies had thought that the new country could not survive but today it was a recognised nuclear power and brought balance of power to the region. He said a strong professional army and modern weapon systems were only for the country’s defence. He assured that the government would fulfil all requirements of the armed forces.
Terming Kashmir as Pakistan’s jugular vein, the president said Pakistan desired a peaceful solution to the Kashmir dispute. He said it would continue political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people.
The president said Pakistan was facing the threat of extremism and terrorism which were aimed at putting an end to the pace of development in the country. He said the brave Pakistani nation and its armed forces had rendered numerous sacrifices and gained success against terrorists. He said North Waziristan would soon be free of terrorists.
“Our objective is to clear the entire country of terrorism. The operation Zarb-e-Azb would continue till the elimination of the last terrorist,” he said.
Mamnoon said, “The Pakistan Day reminds us of the great vision of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and other leaders who got a new homeland for the Muslims of the Sub-Continent.” He said the problems the country faced today stemmed from violation of merit, injustice, nepotism and little respect for law. He said efforts were underway to rectify these faults and the government was endeavouring to provide easy access to education and make the country a real Islamic welfare state.
The president lauded the armed forces for the wonderful parade and their valour and said March 23 was a day for ideological reckoning and to demonstrate that the entire Pakistani nation stood united to make the country invincible. He said the demonstration of the country’s modern weapon systems and a strong military reflected that the military was ready to defend the country at all costs. “The Pakistan Day reminds us of the great vision of the founding father and it is time to pledge that the nation would do its best to fulfil the objectives for which the country was created,” he said.
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