LAHORE - Railways Minister Saad Rafique kicked off Jashn-i-Azadi (Independence celebrations) at Hazoori Bagh outside the Badshahi Mosque Friday.

The freedom festivities will end up at a grand show in Alhamra on August 30. The railways minister laid a wreath at the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal and offered fateha.

Flanked by other lawmakers, the minister hoisted national flag, followed by singing of national anthem and national songs by schoolchildren. A good number of people reached the inaugural venue decked up with bounties and badges inscribed with national slogans.

The celebrations comprised various programmes to tell the world that the nation is united for rebuilding from ruins of terrorism. The government has appealed to the people to hoist nation flag at their houses, buildings, vehicles etc.

A special parade and a flypast will be held in the federal capital on August 13 night, followed by traditional celebrations across the country. The Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation has prepared special programmes which would be aired throughout the month.

Speaking at the inaugural event, the railways minister offers talks track to marchers of PTI and PAT.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif greeted the nation, saying that the living nations celebrate their independence in a befitting manner.

“The nation will celebrate the I-Day enthusiastically and rich tributes will be paid to the founders. The nation should get united unity,” the chief minister said adding that millions of Muslims made sacrifices for the creation of Pakistan.

Rawalpindi reporter adds:   Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Sardar Nasim performed the flag hoisting ceremony in Rawal Town Municipal Administration (RTMA) to mark the beginning of Independence Day celebrations here on Friday. Administrator RTMA Talat Mehmood Gondal also performed flag hoisting ceremony in Jinnah Hall, Potohar Town, in a simple but graceful function. The Independence Day celebrations would continue till August 31 at all levels in Punjab in the light of the instructions of the provincial government.

Talking to media persons Sardar Nasim said that Independence Day celebrations will continue till August 31, 2014. He added that the objective of observing the month of independence is to make the new and young generations aware of the sacrifices of the elders for achieving freedom and also to highlight the objectives of the Pakistan Ideology. He said that special speech contests, painting exhibitions and sports competitions would be held and these celebrations would culminate on August 14. He said that special programmes would also be held at district, tehsil and local levels by the party office-bearers to highlight the objectives and functions of Independence Day celebrations.