LAHORE – The Lahorites celebrated the 66th Independence Day with traditional fervour and zeal, expressing their resolve to defend the country on all fronts and at all costs.
The day broke with the salutation of 21 guns in the provincial metropolis and Dua for the motherland in Fajar prayers. At 9:00am, the citizens sung the national anthem after hoisting flags at public and private buildings and places.
The main flag-hoisting functions were held outside the mausoleum of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Punjab Assembly, Governor’s House, Corp Headquarters, Rangers Headquarters, Lahore High Court, Punjab University, Aiwan-e-Karkunan Tehrik-e-Pakistan and Punjab Civil Secretariat. In addition, a huge number of people also hoisted flags at their houses and shops, besides carrying them on their cars and motorcycles.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif hoisted the national flag at the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal, which a large number of people visited on Tuesday to pay homage to the national poet and thinker of Pakistan.
Besides the Punjab chief minister and General Officer Commanding Maj Gen Amir Riaz, many others also laid floral wreathes at the grave of Allama Iqbal. A change of guard also took place on this occasion.
Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa hoisted the national flag and addressed at the Governor’s House, while Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan at the Punjab Assembly Secretariat. Nazaria Pakistan Trust Chairman Majid Nizami hoisted the national flag and offered Dua for long life and prosperity of Pakistan at the Aiwan-e-Karkunan Tehrik-e-Pakistan where a programme to remember the heroes of the independence movement was also held.
Besides seminars, conferences, debate competitions and sports events at various educational institutions and by difference organisations, political parties also arranged programmes to renew their pledge to live and die for the motherland.
A number of processions were also taken out on the main roads of the City. All of them merged on The Mall to form a big rally participated by the citizens on motorcycles, cars, cycles, rickshaws, buses, trucks and even tractors. The participants chanted loud slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and many of them also danced to the tune of national songs.
City roads, buildings, hotels, houses, shops and commercial sites were tastefully decorated and elaborately illuminated. These buildings included the Punjab Assembly, Wapda House, Alfalah Building, Staff College, Punjab University, Lahore Railway Station, Lahore Museum, Lahore Fort, Lahore High Court, Fortress Stadium and Qaddafi Stadium.
Despite rains in various parts of the City, a huge number of people of all ages carrying national flags turned to the main roads for taking part in Independence Day jubilations. The City also witnessed stalls at various places where people were seen buying flags, buntings, badges, caps and T-Shirts made of the national flag; as well as getting made tattoos of green and white flags on their faces and arms.
Because of the heavy load of vehicles, traffic jams remained order of the day on the Mall and other roads and traffic wardens were seen busy clearing the traffic mess. Despite strict restrictions, many daredevils practiced one wheeling on motorcycles, and showed different antics and acrobats risking their and others’ lives.
They also caused accidents, while a large number of them were rounded up by the police stationed outside sensitive buildings and roads. The noise of whistles and trumpets remained deafening for most part of the day , while an extraordinary rush of people was seen in public parks, zoo, Iqbal Park, Jillani Park and Jallo Park.
A large number of people also visited the Wahga border to witness the flag-lowering ceremony.
During the ceremony, the people displayed remarkable national spirit marked with loud slogans for the country.
A number of accidents also took place, but no untoward incident was reported until the filing of this story.