ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that people of Pakistan had stood up against the anti-state elements threatening not only the lives of innocent people but the very fabric of nation.

“Pakistan is resolved to redeem its pledge given to its founding fathers that it will protect the homeland. We are also committed to preserve and ensure freedom, equality and social justice as core values of our polity as desired by our enlightened forbears,” he said in his message to the nation on Pakistan Day being celebrated today.

The prime minster said three quarters of a century had elapsed since the Muslims of subcontinent irreversibly resolved to seek their own independent state. Their revered Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, declared that Muslims of South Asia were an independent nation by any definition. He led them to wage a struggle for a state based on principles of social justice, self-determination and equality.

He said the independence struggle witnessed countless vicissitudes but the Quaid never flinched from his avowed objective. He said with his firm commitment and wholeheartedly backed by the Muslim nation, the Quaid ultimately succeeded in carving out an independent homeland. The father of the nation bequeathed to his people the promised land with the exhortation to preserve and protect it for future generations.

PM Nawaz Sharif said three quarters of a century later, Quaid’s Pakistan was groping to overcome unprecedented threats and challenges. The peace loving people of Pakistan are unwittingly exposed to threats posed by extremism and terrorism and Pakistan had been subjected to an existential threat that it has no option but to confront, he said.

The Premier said he was a steadfast believer in permanence of morality based representative plurality envisaged by the Quaid. He also greatly valued the equality principle and considered it vital for national preservation.

“I am a formidable opponent of anachronistic notions of obscurantism and consider it harmful to our national existence. I am confident that with the valued assistance of our valiant armed forces, unconditionally supported by the entire array of political opinion, we will surely overpower heartening forces,” he observed.

He expressed his confidence that Pakistan had turned a new leaf in its existence and would soon be able to overcome all odds. “My government has embarked upon a vast portfolio of institutional and development ventures that will bear fruit in near future,” he said.

The prime minister expressed his resolve to the nation that under his watch, no effort would be spared to bring tolerance and harmony in Pakistan. “I am committed to ensure that Pakistanis are provided with every opportunity to live freely, seek education, gain employment and practice their faith without hindrance, fear and favour,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, the authorities have adopted strict security measures for the conventional military parade - part of the Pakistan Day celebrations - which is going to be held today after a gap of seven years at the newly constructed parade ground near Faizabad Interchange here. Mobile phone services will remain suspended in the twin cities from 6:00 in morning to 2:00 afternoon today (Monday) due to security reasons. According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the decision is part of the security arrangements for the parade.

The conventional military parade is being held under extraordinary security blanket. Earlier in the day, full dress rehearsal of the parade was held at the newly constructed parade ground. Around 1,200 policemen will perform duty to secure the avenue and 20 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will monitor the parade. According to a notification issued by the ICT administration, all seminaries, shrines and other business activity falling within 2-kilometer radius of the parade zone will remain closed till Tuesday.

Islamabad Traffic Police have also formulated a special plan to deal with the traffic in the areas adjacent to the parade avenue; Faizabad, Express Highway and Zero-Point. Islamabad Expressway will remain closed for all kind of heavy traffic from Sunday midnight to Monday noon and only those having invitation for the parade would be allowed to move towards the avenue.

Local police are on high alert ahead of the parade and conducted special checking at the main entry and exit points of the capital. The local police with the help of other security agencies’ personnel conducted search in the area of Golra and arrested 20 suspects on Sunday. They also recovered 10 kilashinkovs and dozens of 9mm pistols from the accused.

The Rawalpindi city administration has also taken special security measures so that the parade does not face any security threat. Rawalpindi Police erected special check posts at the city points leading to the Expressway and subsequently the parade avenue. City traffic police also chalked out a comprehensive traffic plan to ensure smooth traffic flow in the city on the occasion of the military parade.