ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Day was celebrated across the country on Saturday with traditional zeal and fervour.A joint military parade was held at Parade Ground in Islamabad on the occasion. Malaysian...
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Day was celebrated across the country on Saturday with traditional zeal and fervour.
A joint military parade was held at Parade Ground in Islamabad on the occasion. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was on a three-day visit to the country, was the guest of honour at the parade.
Top civil-military leadership, including President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the chiefs of Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Air Force witnessed the parade.
Minister of Defence of the Republic of Azerbaijan Colonel General Zakir Hasanov, Commander National Guard of Bahrain Sheikh Mohamed Bin Isa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, foreign diplomats and a large number of people from all walks of life, including media and sports, were also in attendance.
After the guests assembled on the stage, the parade began with the national anthem which was followed by a recitation of the Holy Quran. Parade Commander Brigadier Naseem Anwar then requested the president to observe the parade.
Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan then led a flypast as a salute to the president.
“This is your Air Chief. Presenting to you our wings of freedom and guardians of your skies. Pakistan Zindabad,” message of the Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan echoed in calm skies of the capital as his F-16 Block 52 aircraft approached Shakarparian Parade Venue leading Pakistan Day Parade fly past.
“Make no mistake. We will always safeguard Pakistan,” the air chief also sounded a warning to the enemy.
Keeping the tradition of leading from the front, the air chief performed a ‘High g’ steep turn, followed by magnificent vertical rolls, as his aircraft disappeared in the skies. The ecstatic audience fervently clapped to see the aircraft of air chief existing from the venue. Following the air chief, a four-ship box formation of F-16 aircraft, under the command of Air Vice Marshal Irfan Ahmed, Air Officer Commanding, Central Air Command, flew past the venue. Behind F-16s, was the formation of JF-17 Thunder aircraft led by Wing Commander Faisal Sajjad. Next to enter the arena was the formation of Mirage aircraft, led by Wing Commander Jehanzeb. Afterwards, flew past the venue two formations of F-7PG and F-7P aircraft under the command of Wing Commander Nabeel and Wing Commander Ikram Ahmed respectively. Icing on the cake was a stunning aerobatic display by PAF JF-17, and the world renowned aerobatics teams Ba-Yi (PLAAF) and Solo Turk (Turkish Air Force).
Following the flypast, President Alvi addressed the parade and said Pakistan was a reality and India would have to accept it. He said Pakistan believes in peaceful co-existence but its desire for peace should not be misconstrued as weakness.
The president emphasised that Pakistan was a responsible nuclear state but it wanted peace, not war. He said Pakistan respects integrity and sovereignty of other states. Dr Alvi pointed out that India’s irresponsible attitude had jeopardised peace in the region. He said India would have to accept Pakistan as a reality, and it must come to the conclusion that dialogue was the only way to resolve issues.
The president contended that Pakistan as a responsible state wanted to sow seeds of prosperity to build a bright future by doing away with the bitterness of the past and learning from the past mistakes. “We as a democratic country don’t believe in wars and want solution of issues through parleys. However, India has been showing irresponsible attitude in this context and because of this the region is facing threats,” he noted.
Dr Alvi pointed out that the situation following the Pulwama attacks was a fresh example of India’s attitude, wherein it put blame on Pakistan for these attacks without evidence and created a war-like situation by hurling threats and violated Pakistan’s airspace, trampling the international laws. He said it was Pakistan’s responsibility to respond to aggression, and the armed forces with prayers and support of the entire nation were prepared for that. He added that Pakistan effectively retaliated with the best strategy and upon this the nation pays glowing tributes to the armed forces for their professional competence and ability.
“The armed forces not only retaliated in a befitting manner but also proved their superiority and capability,” he said.
President Alvi said the region was in need of peace. “We should pay attention to education, health and employment. Our real fight is with poverty and unemployment,” he said.
The president emphasised that there was no parallel to the Pakistan’s armed forces’ professionalism, capability and standard. “No doubt, you are the nation’s pride and your parade is giving a message that we are a peaceful nation but not oblivious to our defence,” he said.
The president noted that despite tensions on the borders, the holding of the parade was a manifestation of the towering courage and resolve of the armed forces. “The resolute faces of the Jawans, the officers and the exhibition of the latest weaponry is a guarantee of the fact that Pakistan is safe and secure,” he observed.
The president said the country was safe and moving on the path of progress and development after effectively combating the menace of terrorism. He, however, pointed out that the country was in the process of dealing with the challenges of poverty, hunger, unemployment and extremist mindset.
Dr Alvi said there was no doubt that the menace of terrorism posed the biggest threat to the world peace but Pakistan had managed to combat this menace and there was now a need to take this anti-terror war to its logical conclusion.
On Afghanistan, he said that a peaceful Afghanistan was necessary for Pakistan. He said Pakistan fully supports Afghanistan’s territorial and political importance. “Pakistan will continue to play its part for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, being the desire of all Afghans, who are fed up of wars and we are with you,” he said.
“March 23 is that milestone of our national history in which the Muslims of the Sub-Continent aimed for their freedom through Pakistan Resolution.
“Independence demands sacrifices. We suffered loss of lives and finances in the war on terror but today Pakistan is reviving its economy,” Dr Alvi said.
The President emphasized that March 23 was the occasion to reiterate our commitment to transform our politics, economy and social values in the light of Islam and present Pakistan as a model Islamic state and this would be possible through translating the thoughts of Allama Iqbal and the Quaid-i-Azam into reality.
The president said participation of the representatives of Pakistan’s friendly countries including Saudi Arabia, China, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Sri Lanka added valour to the military parade and this signifies Pakistan’s friendship with these countries. He particularly mentioned Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was the guest of honour at the parade.
Following the president’s speech, troops from Frontier Corps, Pakistan Rangers, Northern Light Infantry, and others took part in the parade. The parade also featured troops from Azerbaijan, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain and Sri Lanka.
Following the soldiers, contingents of armoured and mechanised infantry held a march-past. The Al-Khalid Main Battle Tank (MBT), Al Zarrar tanks, a variety of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) as well as howitzer guns were paraded in front of the civil-military leadership. Radar systems, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), cruise missiles and other modern weaponry equipped with latest military technology were also rolled out.
At the tail end of the parade, a Pakistan Rangers band played national songs on bagpipes while riding camels in unison. Furthermore, the parade showcased local cultures of the four provinces. Cultural delegates and floats from Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir were featured during the ceremony. Several formations of a variety of combat helicopters belonging to the armed forces demonstrated their capabilities before PAF fighter jets mesmerised the audience with their mid-air manoeuvres. The final segment of the programme was a display of paratroopers parachuting off of helicopters and landing on their specified targets.
Earlier, the day began with a 31-gun salute in Islamabad while provincial capitals welcomed the day with 21-gun salutes. A change-of-guards ceremony was held at the mausoleum of Dr Allama Iqbal in Lahore.
Special prayers were offered in mosques after Fajr prayers for the progress and prosperity of the country, while the national flag was hoisted on all major government buildings.
The Pakistan Navy also celebrated Pakistan Day with zeal and fervour. The Pakistan Navy ships and establishments were illuminated and commanding officers of all units and establishments addressed special gatherings of officers and men highlighting significance of the day. The major event of the day was Joint Services Pakistan Day Parade, which was held at Shakarparian Islamabad.
The 79th National Day of Pakistan was also celebrated in the United Arab Emirates with zeal and fervour at the Embassy of Pakistan, Abu Dhabi and Consulate-General of Pakistan, Dubai.
The ceremony at Abu Dhabi was inaugurated with flag hoisting and playing of the national anthem. The ceremony in Dubai was held with much zeal and the Consul General of Pakistan to Dubai Amjad Ahmed Ali hoisted the national flag at the consulate.
Keeping the tradition alive, the Pakistan Association Dubai and Pakistan Social Centre of Sharjah also organised a series of events to celebrate Pakistan Day.
Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest and most famous skyscraper in the world, lit up with the national flag of Pakistan on Saturday evening to celebrate Pakistan Day. The spectacular LED illumination of the national flag on Burj Khalifa mesmerised people when they gathered to watch it in the breezy night.