Pakistan celebrates 75th Independence Day

Celebrations began with a change of guard ceremonies held at Mazaar-i-Quaid and Mazaar-i-Iqbal.

Islamabad/ APP/ Radio Pakistan:

Pakistanis are celebrating today (Saturday) the 75th year of Independence with traditional zeal and fervor, with commemorative ceremonies held in cities across the country. According to Radio Pakistan, the celebrations began with a change of guard ceremonies held at Mazaar-i-Quaid and Mazaar-i-Iqbal in Karachi and Lahore, respectively, and a 31-gun salute in the capital, followed by 21-gun salutes in all four provincial capitals.

The main feature of the celebrations was the flag-hoisting ceremony at Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad. President Dr. Arif Alvi, who was the chief guest at the event, congratulated the nation on the completion of 74 years of Independence on the occasion.

Photo Courtesy: APP

President Dr. Arif Alvi said that the Pakistani nation had always overcome challenges and ordeals with unmatched sacrifices, unity, and determination, adding that Pakistan could emerge as one of the most successful nations in the world on the basis of its intellectual capabilities. He paid tribute to the leaders of the freedom movement, including Allam Iqbal, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and Liaquat Ali Khan.

Recounting Pakistan’s accomplishments of the past years, he said when India conducted a nuclear explosion in 1974; Pakistan managed to create a nuclear deterrent within just seven years after that. Moreover, the president lauded Pakistan’s armed forces and police for bravely fighting terrorism and “setting an example”. He added that the nation had stood strong in the face of multiple challenges.

Photo Courtesy: APP

The president also appreciated the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and launching the Ehsaas program, appealing to citizens to observe Covid-related standard operating procedures. The president also drew the attention of the international community towards India’s atrocities in occupied Kashmir and expressed solidarity with the people of the valley.

The ceremony was attended by Chairman Senate Sajid Sanjrani, Speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaisar, Begum Samina Arif Alvi, federal ministers, parliamentarians, high civil and military authorities, notable personalities, students, and media.

Students also presented melodious and popular national songs, kalam from the poetry of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, and a live performance of vocalist Sahir Ali Bagga also enthralled the audience.

According to Radio Pakistan, President Alvi conferred on the day 126 civil awards on Pakistani citizens and foreign nationals for showing excellence and courage in their respective fields today. These awards include three Nishan-i-Imtiaz, two Hilal-i-Pakistan, six Hilal-i-Imtiaz, four Sitar-i-Pakistan, three Sitara-i-Shuja’at, 17 Sitara-i-Imtiaz, 39 President’s Award for Pride of Performance, three Sitara-i-Quaid-i-Azam, 17 Tamgha-i-Shuja’at, 31Tamgha-i-Imtiaz, and one Tamgha-i-Quaid-i-Azam. The investiture ceremony of these awards will take place on March 23, according to APP.

Moreover, the president conferred military awards on officers and soldiers of the Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, and Pakistan Air Force, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations. The military awards include two Sitara-i-Basalat, 61 Tamgha-i-Basalat, 42 Imtiazi Asnad, 70 Chief of Army Staff Commendation Cards, 22 Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military), 106 Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Military), and 128 Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (Military).

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s message on Independence Day came in a series of tweets by the Prime Minister’s Office, which quoted the premier as saying that “Pakistan today can stand tall among the comity of nations.”

“Our policies towards reviving the economy, handling the pandemic, and protecting the environment have received universal acclaim,” a tweet further stated. The prime said the nation had “surmounted monumental challenges during the course of our history to emerge as a united, peaceful and resilient nation”, adding that like other times, it would overcome the challenges it faced today “with our characteristic determination and come out stronger as a nation.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan also expressed support for the people of occupied Kashmir.” Pakistan will continue to extend its full support to the Kashmiris in their just cause. Kashmiris are looking up to the international community to fulfill the promises made to them,” he said.

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