LAHORE - The nation is celebrating the 68th Independence Day today (Thursday) amid the ongoing political turmoil and law and order situation.

Where, the PML-N government has announced month long freedom festivities, titled Jashn-i-Mah-i-Azadi, the major opposition party Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) opted for politics of protest titled ‘Azadi March’ aiming at ousting the rulers.

Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) has also planned ‘Revolution March’ to Islamabad to bring about change in the governing set up.

The protesters are aimed at marching to the Capital where they will stage a sit-in until the government gives in, resulting in severe restlessness among the nation.

Although a number of programmes and rallies for the celebrations were announced at the official and the private levels, they all have been overshadowed by the politics of protest.

In Islamabad, the official proceedings of the ‘Mahe Azadi’ celebrations touched the acme at last midnight in a colourful ceremony but Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his cabinet members were engaged in brainstorming to work out how to keep things in order.

In accordance with the Day’s celebrations, public and the private buildings in all the main cities particularly Lahore, are tastefully decorated with flags, buntings, banners and illuminations but the tormenting vibes of the protest marches had dampened all these joys and made the picture foggy and blur in the public minds.

The main roads and the sites outside of the police stations in the cities of Punjab, specifically Lahore, have been dotted with containers, trucks and other heavy vehicles over the last week giving a nuisance and panicky look to the people when they want to jubilate for having an independent homeland in 1947.

The city of Lahore holds a unique significance for celebrating the Day as the spirited Lahorites spend day and night on roads, streets and parks feeling independent.

On the main artery of the city, the Mall road, mobile musical bands enthrall the people through national anthem and songs to show the world that Pakistanis are a living nation.

On the day, almost every vehicle, motorbikes, bicycles and even animal carts carry the national flags, expressing their love for the country and freedom.

The day in the city is also marked by the private gatherings at home while TV, radio and print media rally and publish special programmes and edition corresponding with the importance of the day.The sole purpose is to tell the world how valuable our country is and how many sacrifices were made to achieve it. But this time protests are casting shadows over the charms and feelings. The Independence Day programmes either failed blooming to full swing or they lacked the luster and brilliance which is attached to them traditionally.

Notwithstanding all this, the zestful people of Lahore did not stay at home and came out, taking to the shops for buying flags, bunting, banners, badges, bands, T-shirts and other allied material.A large number of Lahorites was seen making rush at such shops till late night although surrounded by a large number security personnel.

A number of people also came out on the roads in night to infuse life into the Independence celebrations. They proved that despite difficult time they endear independence equal to their life and no protest atmosphere could stop them from celebrating the freedom gala.