LAHORE            -        People celebrated the 74th Independence Day on Friday with zeal and enthusiasm in the provincial capital on Friday.

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

A change of guard took place at mausoleum of national poet Allama Iqbal. 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. 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.

Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar laid flower wreath on the grave of Allama Muhammad Iqbal and offered fateha. He prayed for national prosperity and success of the freedom struggle of Kashmiris from Indian occupation. Khateeb Badhshahi Masjid Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad led the prayer. The CM also hoisted flag at Alamgiri Gate of Lahore Fort. The national anthem was aired after the flag-hoisting.

Addressing the ceremony after performing flag-hoisting, the CM said the Independence Day is an occasion of joy and happiness for every citizen of the country. “I extend felicitations to the nation. This is an occasion to pay rich tributes to Pakistan Movement leaders, workers and martyrs. Independence Day reminds us that the blessing of freedom was the result of countless sacrifices and the great struggle of millions of Muslims and it was not doled out to us”, he said. The CM maintained the sacrifices had given the lesson of continuous struggle to make Pakistan great and strong.

“We cannot forget Indian Occupied Kashmir as brave Kashmiris are sacrificing their lives for completion of Pakistan. I pray to Almighty Allah to grant freedom to the Kashmiris as soon as possible,” he said, adding, August 14 was a day to reiterate the commitment to make Pakistan great and strong. The democracy would be strengthened in future while the economy and defence sectors would also be stronger and impregnable, he added.

Administrator Lahore Metropolitan Corporation Danish Afzal presented the address of welcome. Provincial Ministers Raja Basharat, Fayyaz-ul- Hassan Chohan, Saeed ul Hassan Shah, Ejaz Alam, parliamentarians, Consul Generals of Turkey and China, Deputy Consul General of Turkey, Chief Secretary, IG Police and others attended the ceremony.

Speaking at flag hoisting ceremony at the Muslim League House, General Secretary PML Punjab chapter Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that Pakistan was incomplete without Kashmir and there was need to support indigenous freedom struggle in the held valley. He said that the nation should follow the motto of unity, faith and discipline to make Pakistan a strong and prosperous country. 

Flag-hoisting ceremony was arranged at WAPDA House to celebrate the Independence Day with national zeal. WAPDA Member (Finance) Naveed Asghar Chaudhry, the chief guest on the occasion, hoisted the National Flag followed by the National Anthem that was sung by the students of WAPDA schools in consonance with the main flag hoisting ceremony in Islamabad. The students of WAPDA schools presented national songs in the ceremony.

WAPDA Member (Water) Amir Bashir Chaudhry, senior officers and employees attended the ceremony adhering to the SOPs relating to Covid-19 pandemic.

National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) celebrated 74th independence day of Pakistan at NTDC offices and grid stations across the country.

A graceful ceremony was held at New Kot Lakhpat Grid Station. Chief Guest of the ceremony Managing Director NTDC Engr. Dr. Khawaja Riffat Hassan hoisted the National Flag followed by the National Anthem.

Dy Managing Directors (AD&M) & (P&E), NTDC General Managers, Chief Engineers and other Senior officers, employees and their children were also present. A group of kids wearing national dresses and march past by NTDC security staff fascinated the gathering.

Addressing the ceremony, Managing Director urged the NTDC officers and staff to serve the organization with integrity, honesty and dedication to regain national development of the country. 

The national flag was hoisted at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry to mark the 73rd anniversary of the country’s establishment.

As the national anthem was played, the LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad, former President Mohammad Ali Mian, former Senior Vice Presidents Amjad Ali Jawa, Khawaja Khawar Rashid, former Vice President Kashif Anwar and Executive Committee Members raised the flag to the mast before a huge gathering. The proceedings began with recitation from the Holy Quran.

The LCCI office-bearers said that the 14th of August is much more than an anniversary for the people of Pakistan. It not only marks the end of foreign rule it commemorates the founding of an independent state created by Muslims through their aspirations and cherished ideology. 

They said Pakistan has made great progress since independence but much has yet to be done to achieve the desired goal. They hoped that the present regime would frame and follow the policies that would usher in a new era of progress and economic prosperity for the nation. They called for renewing the pledge to work for those ideals and to come up to the Quaid’s expectations.

Flag hoisting ceremony was held at the University of Health Sciences(UHS) on the occasion of Independence Day. Vice Chancellor Prof. Javed Akram hoisted the national flag at Jinnah Campus, Kala Shah Kaku. On this occasion, a contingent of UHS security guards presented guard of honour and saluted the national flag. Later, the national anthem was recited and special prayers were offered for the security, solidarity and development of the country.

Prof. Javed Akram also launched a monsoon tree plantation campaign by planting trees in front of the administration block. During the campaign, fruit trees will be planted at Jinnah Campus. The ceremony was attended by the faculty and staff. A cake was also cut to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the founding of Pakistan.

In his address, UHS VC reiterated the commitment to “stand firm and work for progress and prosperity” of the country. He said that Kashmir is the lifeblood of Pakistan which is the bleeding at the hands of the enemy. He said that till the independence of Kashmir, Allama Iqbal’s dream would not be fully realized. He prayed that may Allah show the Kashmiri people the day of independence very soon.

Prof. Akram added that due to Corona, students could not attend the Independence Day celebrations this year. He, however, hoped that the day would be celebrated with full enthusiasm and traditional zeal and fervour next year.

Addressing flag hoisting and cake cutting ceremony at Lahore General Hospital, Principal Post Graduate Medical Institute and Amir Uddin Medical College Prof. Dr. Sardar Muhammad Al-freed Zafar stressed the need for making collective efforts for making Pakistan strong and prosperous. Faculty, Medical Superintendent Dr. Mahmood Salahuddin, Director Emergency Dr. Rana Muhammad Shafiq, President Paramedical Staff Association Rana Pervaiz, doctors, nurses and paramedical staff attended the ceremony.

Prof. Al-freed Zafar said that the young generation must pay special attention to the acquisition of science and technology and modern knowledge to meet the challenges of the present age so that the Pakistani nation can keep pace with the developed nations in the race of competition. He also asked the doctors, nurses and paramedics to reaffirm their commitment to serve the suffering humanity today so that the people can have the best facilities and a healthy society can be created.

The Pakistan Medical Association arranged a flag hoisting and cake cutting ceremony at PMA House. President of PMA Dr Muhammad Ashraf Nizami hoisted the flag and cut cake to mark the event. 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.

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.