Pakistan is celebrating 71 years since independence today with traditional fervour and enthusiasm.
As the clock struck midnight, fireworks began across the country while buildings were lit up to celebrate Independence Day.
The morning dawned with a 31 gun salute in the federal capital and 21 gun salute in the provincial headquarters.
A change of guard ceremony was held at the Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi and Iqbal’s mausoleum in Lahore, where cadets of Pakistan Navy took charge of their duties. Commandant Pakistan Naval Academy Commodore Waqar Muhammad was the chief guest at the ceremony.
Special prayers were offered in mosques at dawn for peace, solidarity, and prosperity of the country and for the resolution of the long-standing issue of Kashmir.
In educational institutions, exhibitions, declamation contests, national songs, competitions and tableau shows are being held to mark the day.
At 8:59am, sirens were sounded and the moving traffic came to a halt as a mark of national solidarity.
The highlight of the celebrations was a national flag-hoisting ceremony held at Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad. President Mamnoon Hussain, the chief guest, addressed the ceremony on the auspicious occasion.
The president urged the nation to rise above its personal and factional differences and follow the Quaid’s vision and principles for a prosperous Pakistan.
Underlining the need for harmony in the society for progress, he said a strong, developed and democratic Pakistan is our goal.
President Mamnoon remarked that the decisions in the country which were achieved through a democratic struggle will also be taken through the power of vote.
He urged for awareness of youth and next generations about the sacrifices rendered by our ancestors for the freedom of our motherland.
He said the political leaders, intellectuals and the media will also have to play their role for promotion of unity and steer the country out of current challenges.
The president paid tribute to the sacrifices of the sons and daughters of the soil in establishing peace in the country, and reiterated Pakistan’s unswerving political and moral support for Kashmiris in Indian-occupied valley.
Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (retd) Nasir-ul-Mulk, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and other foreign and local dignitaries were also in attendance.