ISLAMABAD             -  The Nation celebrated 73rd Independence Day on Friday with traditional zeal and resolve to make the country further stronger, prosperous and a true Islamic welfare state.

The day dawned with thirty-one gun salute in the federal capital and twenty-one gun salute in the provincial headquarters. Change of guard ceremony was held at Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi and Mazaar-i-Iqbal in Lahore.

Flag hoisting ceremonies were held at public and private offices across the country and special programmes were scheduled to observe the Independence Day.

Messages were also shared by President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan, who recalled the sacrifices of the forefathers and those who fought for and laid down their lives in defence of the country.

The president called upon the nation to “stand firm and work for progress and prosperity” of the country. He urged the people to stay united in order to meet the challenges that are being faced by Pakistan. Later, at a flag hoisting ceremony at the President House, Dr Alvi noted that Pakistan had faced several challenges since its inception and was now at a “tipping point where improvements are being witnessed in various areas.” Prime Minister Imran, whose message was posted in a series of tweets by the PM Office’s Twitter account, said that the day was “an occasion to pause and to reflect as to how far we have been able to achieve those ideals that led to creation of an independent state.”

Like other parts of the country, the independence day was celebrated in Azad Jammu and Kashmir with renewal of the pledge that Jammu and Kashmir would continue the ongoing struggle for the birth right of self determination till it will reach to its logical end despite the India’s August 05 2019 sinister move of scrapping the special status of the internationally-acknowledged disputed Jammu and Kashmir state through abrogation of article 370 and 35-A of her constitution.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said the Independence Day reminded us that the blessing of freedom was the result of countless sacrifices and the great struggle of millions of Muslims. He emphasized that Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) could not be forgotten on  the Independence Day as brave Kashmiris were sacrificing their lives in the held valley.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail while visiting the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah congratulated the entire Nation and said they should remember that Pakistan was achieved after so many sacrifices and tireless struggle.

Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Mahmood Khan hoisted national flag to formally start Independence Day celebrations of Pakistan. Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani said “People of Balochistan played vital role in the Pakistan movement, on account of its geo-strategic position, enemies of the Pakistan continued targeting Balochistan soil since inception.” Federal ministers and parliamentarians belonging to treasury and opposition in the Parliament in their messages congratulated the nation on the  Independence Day. 

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said that August 14 was not only a day to celebrate independence, but also a day of hard work and renewal of the pledge to achieve the goals of an independent homeland. He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to purge the country of corruption and transform it into an Islamic welfare state as envisioned by the Quaid-e-Azam. Minister for Interior Ijaz Ahmed Shah said it was responsibility of each and every individual to play  due role in national progress and tackle the confronted challenges.  “We have to make Pakistan a safer and secure place for our coming generations.” Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Noor ul Haq Qadri celebrated the country’s Independence Day by cutting the cake weighing 3,000 pound, the largest ever in the country’s history.

Minister for Ports and Shipping Ali Zaidi said, “Independence Day is a time to pay homage to our founding fathers and those who sacrificed everything in creating Pakistan. Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari in her message said, “We must commit to staying on track to achieve the goal of peace and prosperity for Pakistan, defeating detractors filled with messages of hate and intolerance. Today let us enjoy being an independent nation and vow to fight to defend our rights enshrined in our constitution.”

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said Pakistan was a gift to the nation from Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who had said no power on earth could undo Pakistan. Leader of opposition in the National Assembly, Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan was a living miracle of Quaid-i-Azam’s political genius and his rock-like determination.  Quaid’s motto of unity, faith and discipline was the organizing principle for our people in the journey to find our rightful place in the comity of nations.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri also congratulated the nation, saying that this day was a day of renewal of our commitments and reminded of the unforgettable struggle and sacrifices made by our forefathers for next generations to live in freedom. Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and legislators belonging to Pakistan Tehreek i Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Pakistan Peoples Party also issued statements highlighting importance of the day.