LAHORE  - The nation celebrated Pakistan Day yesterday with great zeal, enthusiasm, renewing the pledge to make the motherland more strong and prosperous.

The day commemorates the Lahore Resolution of 1940, also known as Pakistan Resolution that eventually led to the creation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947.

The day was dawned with 21-gun salute in the provincial capital and a change of guard at the mausoleum of national poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal. National flag was hoisted at all major government and private buildings. Special prayers were offered after Fajar prayer for the integrity and solidarity of the country.

Special ceremonies were arranged at Governor’s House and Aiwan-e-Iqbal where Governor Rafiq Rajwana and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif conferred civil awards upon several dignitaries for rendering matchless services in various fields.

Different seminars, symposiums and lectures were arranged at various institutions to highlight the significance of the day and individual and collective responsibilities to make the country stronger and prosperous. The major event in Lahore was Azm-e-Pakistan Parade at Main Boulevard Gulberg, from Siddique Trade Centre to Liberty Roundabout.

DCO Lahore Capt (r) Muhammad Usman, clad in traditional dress of lord mayor, led the parade that was witnessed by huge number of enthusiastic people including women and children.

Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, parliamentarians, Commissioner Lahore Abdullah khan Sumbal, CCPO Lahore Amain Vains, DIG Operations Dr Ashraf Haider and senior government officers also attended the ceremony.

Police Band, Traffic Police motorcade, Elite Force, Rescue 1122 squads, floats of different TV channels and towns received great public attention and applause. Police personnel presented march past with huge national flag.

Lahore Flying Club threw rose petals on the marching squads and aired Pakistani flag.

Dummies of prominent politicians including Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Shahbaz Shasrif, Fazlur Rehman, Mehmood Achakzai enthralled the participants. Entertainers, jugglers and Disney characters also remained focus of public attention. Auto show, horse and goat dance and animal show were the other major events.

Humaira Arshad and other prominent singers presented national songs. More than 40 stalls were also established for painting faces of kids. The event ended with a splendid display of fireworks.

The Pakistan Thinkers’ Forum arranged a function at Tech Society Club. Former LHC chief justice Mian Allah Nawaz was the chief guest, while Manzoor A Shaikh, Dr Muhamad Sadiq, Zubair Sheikh and others were among the speakers.

They said that the country could not progress until and unless she leaves British laws, rules and regulations made to rule the poor people of the subcontinent at that time. “According to the present system, common man cannot become a ruler in Pakistan. Even to win Bar Elections there is a need of millions of rupees,” they maintained.

Working class celebrated Pakistan Day by holding seminars and meetings at different places. All Pakistan Workers Confederation, All Pakistan Trade Union Federation and All Pakistan Workers Confederation held separate meetings and vowed to continue struggle for securing the rights of working class.

The speakers urged the Prime Minister and political parties to make concerted struggle to abolish feudalism and capitalism. Fazal Wahid, Shaukat Ch, Aima Mahmood, Khurshid Ahmed were among the speakers.

Lahore Zoo celebrated Pakistan Day with zeal and fervor. Punjab DG Wildlife and Parks Khalid Ayaz hoisted Pakistani flag. A large number of children participated in face painting, drawings, and national anthem singing competitions. Winners of the competition received prizes from the chief guest.

The Forman Christian College organised a seminar on role of minorities in Pakistan Movement. On the occasion, speakers shed light on the role of minorities at the time of partition and the crucial role played by important figures in the foundation of Pakistan.

They also recognised and appreciated the contribution of minorities in the prosperity of Pakistan.

A panel consisting of Michelle Chaudhry, Peter Jacob, Arun Kumar, Kalyan Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Victor Azariah was called on stage to discuss why they chose to live in Pakistan when they had the opportunity to settle abroad. Each panelist answered the question with great fervor discussing the contribution of their forefathers in the formation of Pakistan.

“Pakistan is the country they belong to, they are the production of soil and they can never think of leaving their motherland to be settled in a foreign country, also talked about their personal contributions to their own communities and to Pakistan as a whole,” they told the gathering.

Minister for Minority Affairs and Human Rights Khalil Tahir Sandhu urged the youth to follow footsteps of forefathers and keep making efforts to make Pakistan a land of peace and prosperity. He also discussed the initiatives taken to secure the rights of minorities, one of which is the formation of Minority Advisory Committee.

Assistant Professor of Religion and Public Policy at FCC Dr Charles Ramsey; President of Hindu Sudhar Sabha, Amarnath Randhawa and Executive Secretary National Council Churches in Pakistan, Victor Azariah were present on the occasion.

At Cathedral Church of the Resurrection, Dean Lahore Cathedral Shahid Meraj said that success of Pakistan Movement was the result of collective effort by all the segments of society. He said the Pakistan Day requires pledge to work for the country selflessly, as Pakistan is home for all religions.