MULTAN/WAZIRABAD/SHEIKHUPURA/GUJRANWALA/GUJRAT/HAFIZABAD/TT SINGH/SARGODHA/MANDI/ BAHAUDDIN/SIALKOT/BAHAWALPUR/AHMEDPUR EAST/BUREWALA - The 67th Independence Day was celebrated on Wednesday with traditional zeal and enthusiasm across the Punjab like other provinces with renewal of the pledge to make the country strong, progressive, prosperous and self-reliant. The day dawned with special prays after Fajar prayers. Later flag hoisting ceremonies were held in which intellectuals and dignitaries from all walks of life participated. in South Punjab, activists of different political and social parties as well as common citizens held flag-hoisting functions, meetings, rallies and other activities in Multan, Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Lodhran, Vehari, Layyah, Mailsi, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan and other adjoining areas. The day dawned with special prayers for the progress, prosperity and security of the country.In Multan, different chapters of PML-N held meetings, flag hoisting functions and rallies, Pakistan Patriot Forum arranged a candle light vigil and cake cutting ceremony and Zakariya Open Scouts held flag hoisting ceremony. Flag hoisting functions were held at Lahore High Court Multan bench, District Courts, Bahauddin Zakariya University, District and High Court Bars, State Bank Building, DCO and Commissioner offices, colleges and other educational institutions.  The roads and streets were decorated with national flags and buntings while the buildings were beautifully illuminated in the night. The philanthropists distributed edibles among the poor at the shrines of saints at Qila Qasim Bagh. The workers of PML-N brought out a rally from Raza Hall and marched up to Chowk Kachehri. Police band played national anthem on this occasion while the participants of the rally chanted slogans. The day past peacefully as no untoward incident took place in Multan. Addressing the functions the speakers said, “Pakistan is our identity and our existence is subject to the existence of this country. Some elements play the role of American agents and pose serious threat to national security and solidarity. Our forefathers rendered tremendous sacrifices for the establishment of this country.” They pointed out that problems like price hike, unemployment, loadshedding and lawlessness made the lives of people highly miserable. They added that over billing and high prices of edibles played a key role in increase in poverty and hunger. They asked the rulers to resign if they could not resolve the issues being faced by the poor people.Later, AC Rao Sohail Akhtar and Tmo Mst Gulshan Naureen along with guests went to Karamabad and laid a floral wreath at the grave of Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, hero of Pakistan Movement, and offered Fatiha.  In Sheikhupura, the flag-hosting ceremony was performed by DCO Ali Jaan Khan in presence of a large number of citizen, students and lawmakers in local District Government Complex. Later, speakers highlighted the importance of independence and vowed to follow the principal of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.Similarly, a flag-hoisting ceremony was also held at Corps Headquarter Gujranwala Cantt in which a large number of officers and Jawans participated. The units and headquarters also hold a meeting in which message of the Chief of Army Staff was broadcast and rich tribute was paid to the martyrs of freedom. The Registrar of University of Gujrat and Principal Jinnah Public School Hafiz Hayat Gujrat hoisted the National Flag at the Admin Block. As the fluttering national flag went higher in the air, the crowd chanted slogan in unison “Long Live Pakistan.” Rose petals were thrown in the air. The university guards saluted the national flag along with the children singing the national anthem. The students of JPS presented beautiful national songs. Director Media & Publications Sheikh Abdul Rashid performed as the Stage Secretary. Later, a walk was also taken out. The walk started from the Admin Block and ended at the Academics Blocks. In Hafizabad, the national flag was hoisted at the District Complex by DCO Mansoor Qadir and DPO Muhammad Zubair Drashak. All MNA and MPAs were not present on the occasion perhaps they have no interest in celebrating the day. No Pakistan Movement worker nor senior citizen were invited to attend the auspicious occasion. Addressing the gathering, the DCO called upon the participants to rededicate themselves to materialise the dream of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal. He said that their forefathers had rendered supreme sacrifices for the independence of the country therefore we should uphold the ideals to make the country strong and prosperous. He also said that education emergency programme of the Government would ensure elimination of poverty, unemployment, ignorance and would ensure strong and stable Pakistan. Seminars were also held in different schools for creating awareness among the parents regarding the education emergency programme. Addressing students and teachers in Government Higher Secondary Model School Principal Mian Inayatullah called upon the students to adopt Quaid’s motto, Unity, Faith and Discipline and concentrate on their studies.In Toba Tek Singh, the day dawned with firing of 21-gun salutes. Main function was held in district council compound where PML-N MPAs Mian Muhammad Rafiq and Ch Amjad Ali Javed hoisted the National Flag. The PML-N held a function in district party office where MPAs Muhammad Rafiq and Ch Amjad Ali Javed, Rasheed Jalal, Rana Nisar, Bashir Baig, Imran Qayum and Sheraz Ashraf addressed the participants. PML-N Youth Wing held a function at its tehsel office where activists were addressed by Mirza Shahid Javed Jedi, Shahid Aslam Grewal, Omer Bajwa and Imran Choudry. In Sargodha, flag-hoisting was held at Bagh-e-Jinnah. Picture exhibitions related to Tehrik-e-Pakistan were also arranged at Jinnah Hall and Girls Degree College Farooq Colony. Another function was also held at Government Comprehensive Girls High School. VC of University of Sargodha Dr. Muhammad Akram Chaudhry attended it as chief guest. In Mandi Bahauddin, the day was celebrated across the district with prayers to end terrorism and the economic crises in the country. DCO Imtiaz Niazi led the celebrations with flag-hoisting at Tehsil Administration premises. Addressing the ceremony, the DCO urged the people to work collectively for Pakistan as envisioned by Quad-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.Earlier, students from various schools delivered speeches on freedom movement and sacrifices made for creation of Pakistan. He awarded prizes to the students who grabbed positions. After the ceremony, he led a rally that was attended by people in a large number. The rally culminated at Government Public High School where he inaugurated enrolment campaign for dropout children.In Sialkot, special arrangements were made to mark the Day at government and private levels amidst heavy rain and dark cloudy weather. All the government and semi government departments held special flag-hoisting ceremonies at their respective offices during rain. The main ceremony was held at historical Sialkot Fort under the auspices of Sialkot TMA during rainy weather. Two-minute silence was observed there. In some special indoor programmes including debating competitions, special plays, the participants highlighted the freedom struggle, and national songs were held at colleges and schools while similar functions were also held at public and private schools. Various political parties and civil society organisations also arranged seminars and debates to mark the Day. Sialkot police and law enforcement agencies made arrangements to deal with any untoward incident on this occasion. Addressing the participants of national flag hoisting ceremony held at historical Fort, District Coordination Officer Iftikhar Ali Sahu said that independent Pakistan is a special blessing from Allah and now it is the responsibility of the people of this country to make it strong and prosperous. He said, “The day reminds us all the sacrifices and endeavors of the Muslims of the subcontinent to achieve independence. “While celebrating the Independence Day, it is incumbent upon us to revive the spirit of national unity and follow the Quaid’s guiding principles of Unity, Faith and discipline. Let us make a firm resolve to make an all-out effort to achieve the objectives of creation of Pakistan and also to make Pakistan strong and prosperous.Likewise, Bahawalpur city was decorated to mark the day while the overnight heavy rain and heavy forecast made the celebrations quite pleasant and people from all walks of life actively took part in the Independence Day celebrations under drizzling and raining. The flag-hoisting ceremonies were held at Dring Stadium, Bahawalpur, Islamia University, Bahawalpur, LHC, Bahawalpur Bench, Central Library, Bahawalpur, Radio Pakistan, Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur Museum, Small Industrial Estate, Bahawalpur, Police Lines and Bahawalpur Cantt.Islamia University of Bahawalpur Vice-Chancellor Muhammad Mukhtar in his address at the flag-hoisting ceremony said that Pakistan is fort of Islam and struggle for independent state was based on Two-Nation Theory which makes us historically and ideologically prominent among others. He remarked, “We could make the country more strong, developed and progressive if we gain knowledge according to the current day demands and up to the international standards to compete in all fields to fulfill the dreams of Pakistan movement leaders and the founders of the country.” He advised the students to work hard in their studies to make country’s defence impregnable The Tourism Development Corporation, Bahawalpur and the Sports Committee, Bahawalpur also held a cycle rally and sports events on the occasion. Meanwhile some sections of the society expressed deep concern over celebrating a national event individually and questioned that how such approach could develop unity among the nation. In Ahmedpur East, the main flag-hoisting ceremony was held in Mamoon Park while independence day celebrations were also held in the educational institutions of Chanigoth, Dera Nawab Sahib, Uchsharif ,Mubarakpur, Kotla Musa Khan, Hatehji and Naushera Jadid. Speakers highlighted the aims and objectives of Pakistan Movement. They paid rich tributes to founder of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Tehsil Municipal Administration had chalked out different programmes to mark the day. Karate contest was also held in Mamoon Park and sweet was distributed to the participants. Meanwhile, national flags were hoisted at all the government buildings and independence ceremony was held in Dera Nawab cantonment. Shops were decorated in different bazaars of city Ahmedpur East and the government, semi-government and private buildings were illuminated.In Burewala, The national flag-hoisting ceremony was held at Jinnah Hall Tehsil Municipal Administration offices where MNA Ch Nazir Ahmad Arain along with MPA Muhammad Yousaf Kaseliya, Assistant Commissioner Saifullah Sajid, DSP Sajjad Muhammad Khan, Tehsil Municipal Officer Mazhar hoisted national flag. A police contingent presented guard of honour while school children sung national anthem. On the occasion, PML-N city president Ghulam Rasool Zaidi, Markazi Anjuman Tajraan, Burewala President Muhammad Jamil Bhatti, PML-N leaders Muhammad Aslam Malik, Naeem Sabir Choudhary,  Syed Amir Shah, Hafiz Rizwan Abid, Muhammad Fayaz  Qasim, Muhammad Shahid, Rana Shahid Sarwar, Sardar Khalid Mahmood Dogar, Sajid Sharif Arain, Punjab College Principal Abdul Majid Akbar while Heads of different government and private educational institutions and students were present. Colourful ceremonies were held where children presented national songs, tableaus and speech to mark the day. Later, the Assistant Commissioner distributed sweets and fruit to the patients at Tehsil Headquarter Hospital Burewala. In addition, the city’s various schools, college’s celebrated Independence Day and organised various functions.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 15-Aug-2013 here.