KARACHI: The nation is celebrating the 77th Pakistan Day today with a renewed pledge to make the country stronger by eliminating terrorism and strengthen national security and solidarity.
The day dawned with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salutes in provincial capitals. Special prayers will be offered in mosques for the integrity and solidarity of the country.
Main feature of the day was the military parade at Parade Avenue near the landmark Shakarparian hills in Islamabad where armed forces conducted march past and fighter jets presented aerobatic maneuvers.
President Mamnoon Hussain was the chief guest of the ceremony. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif are among other dignitaries witnessing the parade.
Various political, social, religious, and literary organisations will arrange functions to highlight the importance of the Pakistan Resolution that paved the way for the creation of an independent homeland for the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent.
WATCH: Pakistan Day parade
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman led the flypast of the Pakistan Air Force.
Pakistan Day commemorates March 23, 1940, when the Muslim League demanded the establishment of separate nations to protect Muslims in the then British colony of India. The day is also marked to commemorate the declaration of Pakistan as an Islamic republic on the same day in 1956.
Troops of the parade included contingents of the 18 Punjab Regiment, 21 Frontier Force Regiment, 10 Northern Light Infantry Regiment, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air force, 760 Mujahid Battalion, Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Rangers Punjab, Pakistan Police (represented by the Islamabad Police), Tri Services Lady Officers, Tri Services Armed Forces Nursing Services, Boy Scouts, Pakistan Girl Guides, Special Services Group (SSG), and President Bodyguards.
The Turkish military band participated in Pakistan Day parade for the first time ever. The band, known as ‘mehtar’ in Turkish, is the oldest military band in the world, dating back to 1299.
Chinese troops at the parade
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Honour Guards are also taking part in the Pakistan Day parade today.
The guards will participate in the parade for the first time after China’s military leadership received an invitation from Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
China has sent a 90-strong contingent, of which 72 members will participate in the parade, the Chinese publication added.
Alongside Chinese guards, Saudi troops are also taking part in the ceremony.
In his message, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has extended his warm congratulations and best wishes to the government of Pakistan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the occasion of 78th Pakistan Day, being celebrated across the country.
The Chinese premier said in recent years the Pakistani people had properly responded to different kinds of challenges and made new achievements in maintaining national security, stability and economic development.
He said Pakistan relations maintained a rapid momentum of development and in particular, the construction of China Pakistan Economic Corridor moved forward steadily, and had played a demonstrative role for the mutually beneficial cooperation among China and other countries along the “Belt and Road”.
Li Keqiang said the Chinese government had always viewed and developed China-Pakistan relations from a strategic and long-term perspective.