KARACHI - Like other parts of the country, the 71st Independence Day was celebrated in Karachi with great national zeal and fervour on Tuesday.

The day dawned with 21-gun salute. People prayed for the integrity and solidarity of Pakistan. Political parties held rallies as well as the cake cutting ceremonies across the city.

Caretaker Sindh Chief Minister Fazalur Rehman, acting governor and Speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani laid a floral wreath and offered fateha on the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinah. The duo also hosted the national flag at the mazar and received Pakistan Day felicitation from the diplomats of different countries and the people of civil society who attended the programme.

During the flag hoisting ceremony national anthem was played and all the guests and schoolchildren sung the anthem. The children clad in national dresses and school uniforms kept hoisting small flag during the ceremony. The chief minister mixed up with school children and lauded their national spirit. He also planted a tree in the garden of Quaid’s mausoleum.

Fazalur Rehman said that the father of nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had a dream to make Pakistan a welfare state and we all are working hard in that direction. He said that he came to pay respect to the father of nation. “It was his struggle and leadership that today we are an independent nation,” he said, adding that: “We have to work hard to make Pakistan a true welfare state.”

PPP Sindh CM-nomineee Syed Murad Ali Shah along with the MPAs of his party also visited the mausoleum and offered fateha. He was accompanied by Sindh PPP President Nisar Khuhro, MPAs Sohail Siyal, Saeed Ghani, Imdad Pitafi, Qasim Siraj Soomro, part leaders Waqar Mehdi.

Speaking on the occasion, Murad said that his government under the leadership of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zaradri would give special focus on development of infrastructure, poverty alleviation, improvement of health and education sectors.

He said that the party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has laid great responsibility on his shoulders by nominating him as chief minister of Sindh. “I am thankful to him and other party leadership for their trust,” he said and added “under the guidance of party chairman I would serve people of Sindh to the best of my abilities,” he said.

Murad Shah said that in his last tenure he gave two packages to develop road infrastructure along with storm water drains. “Today Karachi gives a different developed and beautiful look and I would continue my focus on the uplift of Karachi,” he said and went on saying “every district and every city of the province would be given equal attention to develop them and resolve public problems,” he said. He said that his government restored peace in Karachi, made it city of lights again and now “we are giving to make it one of the beautiful city of the world,” he said.

Replying to a question, he said that people of Sindh have elected Pakistan People’s Party because it has served them. “It is PPP which has always fought for the right of people of Sindh, it is PPP which has always given employment opportunities to the people of Sindh and we have improved health sector and have worked lot in Thar coal,” he said and added from Thar project electricity would be produced shortly. Murad Shah said that unemployment was a serious problem and this time his government would create employment opportunities in government and private sector.

To another question, he said the PML-N government announced Karachi Package of Rs25 billion but till the end of their tenure they did not release even Rs25. “We are committed with our people that’s why people of Sindh are with PPP,” he said.

Later, the mausoleum was opened for general public and the people in large number came to pay tribute to father of the Nation. The people of all walks of life celebrated the day in the city with traditional zeal. The citizens were dressed in the national flag colours, chanting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogans almost at every main artery of the city. The young boys were riding decorated bikes as well as cars, rickshaws and buses were also seen decorated and full of national flags.

Thousands of people including women and children took to streets, opening the way for massive traffic jam at Numaish, Gurumandar, Lasbela, Jahangir Road and other parts of the city. Likewise other parties, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) celebrated the 71st Independence Day with national zeal by holding flag hoisting ceremony and a march respectively.

JI city chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman hoisted the national flag at Idarae Noor-e-Huq and prayed for the country’s integrity and better future. Hafiz Naeem congratulated the entire nation, praying to Almighty Allah to make Pakistan a real Islamic and welfare state. He also planted a sapling along with the orphan children of Al-Khidmat orphan centre. Separately, the TLP held ‘Azadi March Ya Rasoolullah’ carried out from Bahadurabad Chowrangi to Quaid’s mausoleum. Speaking on the occasion, Ghulam Ghaus Baghdadi, the party’s Sindh chief, said that the time has arrived to hold the corrupts accountable. “Corrupt politicians and government officers should  ready to face the nation which will chase them till the end,”. The TLP Karachi chief Allama Razi Hussaini, MPAs Mufti Qasim Fakhri, Muhammad Younus Soomro and other leaders were also present on the occasion.

Ismail barred from entering Quaid’s mausoleum

The governor Sindh nominee and the PTI newly elected MPA Imran Ismail was barred from entering the mausoleum, allegedly owing to the protocol of CM designate. Ismail, who came along with the PTI MPA Khurram Sher Zaman, Haleem Adil Shaikh and Firdaus Shamim Naqvi, told media persons that the PPP should change its behavior regarding the VIP protocol. “Murad came in the protocol of 40 vehicles,” said Ismail who returned after offering Fateha from outside.

One dead, 35 injured celebratory fire

A young man was died while 35 were wounded in fireworks and areal firing on the occasion of Independence Day.

A young man died due to explosion of fireworks substance at Five Star Chowrangi, North Nazimabad. The fireworks event was organised by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P). The deceased was identified as 22-year old Salman Shakoor. While another young man Sarwar Basheer sustained injuries in the same incident.

On the other side, 11 people were brought to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital from different parts of the city as they sustained stray bullet injuries.

Similarly five people were brought to Civil Hospital Karachi. Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre reported that 15 stray bullet injured people were brought there from different parts of the city. Meanwhile, four people were brought to Liaquat National Hospital as they got injured from stray bullets.