LAHORE - The nation celebrated the 70th Independence Day on Monday with zeal and enthusiasm amid elaborate security arrangements.

The day dawned with special prayers for integrity, solidarity and progress of the country. Official festivities started with hoisting of national flags at government buildings followed by a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and a 21-gun salute in provincial capitals, including Lahore.

A change of guard took place at national monuments like Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi and mausoleum of national poet Allama Iqbal in Lahore. Major roads, streets, bazaars, public and private buildings and houses were illuminated and extensively decorated with national flags, portraits of national heroes, especially Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, banners and buntings.

Various political, educational, social and literary organisations arranged ceremonies to mark the day. State-owned and private TV channels aired special programmes on the Independence Day. Newspapers published special editions to pay tribute to Pakistan Movement workers. In Lahore, public and private institutions arranged flag hoisting and cake cutting ceremonies to mark the national event.

Youth came out on roads riding cars and motorcycles decorated with national flags to enjoy the festivity of Independence Day. Police pickets on important roads could not stop a big number of hooligans from creating problems for the revelers. Troublemakers also resorted to aerial firing. Some people flew kites on rooftops of houses and farmhouses in various localities to mark the day.

A flag lowering ceremony at Wagah Borders attracted a large number of people, including women and children. A highly-charged crowd chanted slogans like Long Live Pakistan during the ceremony.

The University of Health Sciences (UHS) arranged a flag hoisting and cake cutting ceremony. UHS Vice Chancellor Prof Junaid Sarfraz Khan hoisted the national flag at the campus. Addressing the participants, he said there was a need to revive the true spirit of Pakistan Movement. He said that every person must perform his duty with devotion and dedication. He also led a walk participated by faculty and students. At the end, prayers were offered for progress and prosperity of the country.

Director General of International Relations at CPSP Prof Khalid Masood Gondal hoisted the national flag at the Regional Centre. Prof Mahmood Ayyaz, Prof Aamer Zaman Khan, Prof Muhammad Tayyab, faculty and fellows attended the ceremony.

The Pakistan Medical Association arranged a flag hoisting and cake cutting ceremony at PMA House. President of PMA Lahore Prof Ajmal Hasan Naqvi was the guest of honour. Dr Muhammad Ashraf Nizami, Dr Azimuddin Zahid, Dr Shahid Malik, Dr Izhar Ahmad Chaudhry, Dr Kamran Saeed, Dr Wajid Ali, Dr Aleem Nawaz, Dr Talha Sherwani, Dr Rana Sohail, Dr Asma Yasin, Dr Tehsina Zafar, Dr Iram Shahzadi and members of executive committee attended the ceremony.

The Lahore General Hospital arranged Independence Day-related events attended by Principal of Postgraduate Medical Institute Prof Ghias-un-Nabi Tayyab, Medical Superintendent Dr Ghulam Sabir, doctors, nurses and paramedical staff. Addressing the participants, Prof Ghias stressed the need for joint efforts to make Pakistan a country where peace, love and mutual respect prevails.

Punjab University College of Art and Design, Allama Iqbal Campus, arranged a ceremony attended by the vice chancellor, deans of various faculties, heads of teaching departments, senior faculty members and employees.

The Lahore Arts Council arranged a flag-hoisting ceremony at Burney’s Lawn, a drawing competition, Azadi walk and a puppet show. Ainak Wala Jin, Taleem Sab Kay Liye and Ala-e-Deen and Jadu Ka Chiragh plays were staged for the children. A folk dance ceremony was also arranged.

The Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), the Information Technology University (ITU) and Arfa Software Technology Park (ASTP) collaborated to celebrate Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day in an innovative style, using the panoramic projection -- a spectacular show of computerised fireworks, laser lights and panoramic projection of heroes of Pakistan Movement and defenders of Pakistan.

The Walled City of Lahore Authority, in collaboration with Chief Minister’s Special Monitoring Unit (CMSMU) and Bargad Foundation, launched two-day Independence Day celebrations.

The Authority launched “Azadi Tours” from Delhi Gate to Lahore Fort.

The Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab staged a march of double-decker buses, jeeps used in Cholistan Desert Rally and motorcycles. Vintage cars, Rescue 1122, Dolphin Force and citizens also participated in the parade.

The Wildlife and Parks Department also arranged a ceremony at Lahore Zoo.