ISLAMABAD: Pakistan celebrated its 70th Independence Day on Sunday with commemorative ceremonies held in Islamabad, as well as at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi and the Pakistani embassy in Kabul.
The day began with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital along with a 21-gun salute in each provincial capital. Flag hoisting ceremonies were held in the provincial capitals and district headquarters, Radio Pakistan reported, and change of guard ceremonies were held at Mazar-i-Quaid and Mazar-i-Iqbal.
The main ceremony of the day was held at Islamabad’s Convention Centre, where President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hoisted the national flag.
In his address, the president urged the nation to work selflessly in order to confront the challenges that lie ahead, adding that every visible and invisible enemy will be chased and defeated in order to establish durable peace in Pakistan.
As the Pakistan Army carries out combing operations against suspected terrorists in various parts of the country days after a deadly attack in Quetta, the president assured the nation that the menace of terrorism would be eliminated from the country through decisive action and renewed determination.
President Mamnoon Hussain said Operation Zarb-i-Azb and the National Action Plan have produced encouraging results and would continue until their logical conclusion.
Pakistan cannot forget the Kashmiris on this occassion, he said, as anti-government protests persist in India-held Kashmir (IHK) despite a curfew after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani earlier in July.
Pakistan will continue supporting the Kashmiris in their struggle for self-determination in accordance with United Nations resolutions, the president said.
Both the president and prime minister emphasised sacrificing individual interests for the security, stability and survival of Pakistan.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif remembered those who gave their lives up for the country and said the nation stood united against terrorists.
The prime minister said it was a memorable day as the spirit of independence in IHK is at its peak, Radio Pakistan reported. He dedicated Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day to the freedom of Kashmir.
Ceremonies in Delhi, Kabul
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit unfurled the national flag at a ceremony held at the Pakistan High Commission.
Addressing the ceremony, Abdul Basit said Pakistan will continue extending political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of IHK for their right to self-determination. He said Pakistan has dedicated this day to the Kashmiris, Radio Pakistan reported.
An Independence Day ceremony was also held at the Pakistan embassy in Kabul, where Ambassador Ibrar Hussain hoisted the national flag.
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The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily