LAHORE - Preparations are picking up pace for celebrating the 68th Independence Day - August 14 - with full zeal and enthusiasm.

This day is very special for every Pakistani for it marks freedom from the yoke of slavery of the British government and the Hindu majority of the subcontinent. The freedom came through innumerable sacrifices and struggle made under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Like every other part in the world, people of Pakistan observe the day as a nation rising above discrimination of faith, creed and sect. This time round, the 14th August is falling in a situation when our armed forces are eliminating enemies of Pakistan inside and outside the country.

The political government is also committed to protect motherland from the scourge of terrorism and direct its efforts to make Pakistan as strong and prosperous state of the world.

The whole country is reverberating with jubilation of Independence day activities and in Lahore the event holds a particular reference for exuberance of the citizens about preparations and celebrations of this national day.

Although popular sentiments about the Day had begun to rise with the commencement of the month, yet fervor of the Lahorites is fast reaching the climax as they are poised to initiate independence festivities with the sunset on August 13.

Among a large number of celebrators are a chunk of daredevils who ride bikes on one-wheel and show bizarre antics, risking theirs and others’ lives on the traffic loaded roads. This action is legally banned in the city and this year, special instructions by the government have been passed to the law enforcers to strictly check this practice.

The average number of one-wheeling related casualties in the city on the Independence Day has been over a dozen more than the last decade.

Bazaars and markets in Lahore, at present, are abuzz with people shopping for the day. People of every class, age and sex can be seen visiting the market and bazaars, purchasing national flags, shirts, scarves, stickers, buntings, brooches, caps, glasses, badges and lightening etc, all bearing green and white colours studded with crescent in the centre.

In order to illuminate houses and shops, the sale of decoration lights and other material is on the rise. Things are not limited to sale, but houses, cars, two-wheeler, and three-wheelers and even carts have been decorated with national flags, buntings etc. Official and business buildings in the private and public sectors are also being decorated to a taste.

Sale of the audio and video CDs of the national songs is also on the boom as the day is approaching. Different organisations and musical groups are preparing for putting up special shows on the main roads including the Mall, Main Boulevard, Ferozepur Road, Jail Road, Defence and Bahria Town. Floats carrying models depicting life in various parts of the country and national achievements are also scheduled to be plied in the city. Many social organisations are set to distribute sweets on the day.

In connection with the day, sports events have also been arranged in the city. The Pakistan Railways has made elaborated arrangements to take part on celebrations. Lahore stations will be tastefully decorated with illuminations and flags. Since playing national anthem and hoisting of national flags in the morning is a vital part of the celebrations, arrangements are being also finalised for this purpose.

Political parties and public organisations are preparing seminars and gatherings in the city on Independence Day.

The provincial government has taken special security measures to prevent any untoward incident on the day. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has passed special directions to the police and the security operatives to take care of the processions, parks and the places of public gathering.

The Lahore police have set up posts at the entry and exit points to check the people going in and out of the city.