Military parade marks Pakistan Day celebrations in Islamabad

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ISLAMABAD: The 78th Pakistan Day was celebrated with an awe-inspiring parade in the capital’s Shakarparian ground.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena was the guest of honour at the event.

Upon arrival, President Mamnoon Hussain was received by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi after which he inspected the parade.

New-appointed air chief, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, then led a fly-past, followed by several other squadrons of the Pakistan Air Force as a salute to the head of the state.

The president then addressed the nation and praised the country’s people and armed forces for their resolve.

Later, the armed forces’ contingents began the parade, saluting the chief guests as they passed by. They included various units and formations of the armed forces.

Contingents from the armed forces of Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Jordan also participated in the parade.

Following the military segment, various troupes depicting the country’s culture conducted the parade.

Afterwards, fighter jets of the PAF conducted fly-pasts with breath-taking maneuvres, wowing the audience.

Towards the end, commandos from the tri-services conducted a paradrop with exemplary skills after which a national song was performed.

The heads of all three armed forces of the country — army, navy and air force — as well as the joint chiefs’ chairperson, were present at the parade, as was Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir-Khan and Safron Minister Abdul Qadir Khan.

Separately, contingents of armed forces laid floral wreaths at the tombs of Allama Iqbal in Lahore and Quaid-e-Azam in Karachi.

An award ceremony is also on the agenda for later in the day, to be held at Aiwan-e-Sadar, where the president will be conferring awards to various personalities on their contribution to different fields.

Earlier in the day, special prayers were offered in mosques after Fajr for the progress, prosperity and solidarity of the country, and the national flag was hoisted on major government buildings.

The day dawned with 31- and 21-gun salutes in the federal and provincial capitals, respectively, while the national flag was hoisted atop government buildings and departments.

All offices, autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies, corporations, and local councils, which come under the provincial government, would remain closed except for essential services.

Seminars, rallies, and ceremonies have been arranged by the government and private organizations.

Several buildings, including the Lahore Railway Station, WAPDA House, and the Provincial Assembly building, would be decorated with lights and colourful buntings to mark the day.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure security on the Pakistan Day, according to Amin Vaince, the City Chief Police Officer (CCPO).

Besides district police, the special branch, Elite Force, and the Dolphin Force personnel would also perform their security duties on the Pakistan Day.

Police officials have been deployed at all entry and exit points of the city, he said, adding that the city has been divided into various sectors that were being covered by setting up a number of check posts.

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