MALE : Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday evening attended the 52nd Independence Day celebrations of the Republic of Maldives alongwith other high-ranking dignitaries and officials of various countries here at the National Stadium.

The Prime Minister and First Lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz were received by President of the Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim as they arrived at the stadium.

Formal celebrations started with the playing of national anthem of Pakistan followed by that of the Maldives.

The chief guest was given a guard of honour. Both the dignitaries witnessed march past and Independence Day Parade of the Maldivian National Defence Forces.

The Prime Minister arrived here on Tuesday on an official visit at the invitation of President of the Maldives, to attend the independence day celebrations of the South Asian country as the chief guest.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and high officials of the Pakistani delegation were also present.

The first item of the ceremony was dedicated to welcome the chief guest, the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Famous singers of the Maldives greeted him and the Pakistani delegation by a welcoming song “Marhaba Nawaz Sharif, Shukirya Nawaz Sharif, Hum Aap Ko Khush Amdeed Kehte Haen” with mixed Urdu and their language. The students of Maldives National Cadet Corps carried flags of the two countries.

Colourfully attired schoolchildren, who made up a choreographed procession and displayed beauty of the Maldives with essence of its culture, also sung various national songs with the melodic tune of the country’s independence breeze, andenthralled thousands of people and foreign dignitaries who had gathered in the National Stadium to witness the celebrations.

Male city and its surrounding islands were all illuminated with colourful lights.