Dawn News

No military parades anymore

THIS is apropos of supplement ‘Azadi Parade at PMA, Kakul’ (Aug 14).

Independence Day parades were initially held in Karachi (then Pakistan’s capital) in 1947-48. Now it is held in Kakul, a suburb of Distt Abbotabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Though there has been a change of venues from time to time, public participation and other essential constituents in these events have somewhat reduced.

Independence Day parades were not only held at Karachi but also at all the provincial capitals like Dacca, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta with full participation of not only the three armed forces but also by contingents of Police, Qaumi Razakaars, student scouts, Girl Guides and some other organisations as well.

When General Ayub Khan shifted the capital to Islamabad, the venue of these annual parades became the Race Course Ground in Rawalpindi near the Army’s GHQ, where public participation was still visible but in reduced numbers as compared to Karachi.

Now, Independence Day parades at other provincial capitals seem to have faded, leaving no opportunity for public participation. Whether it was a deliberate move on the part of the successive governments is anybody’s guess.

From the Race Course Ground Rawalpindi, the parade began taking place at the main boulevard of the Blue Area Islamabad in the rule of Gen Zia ul Haq.

While march past and fly past were staged there, there was no participation of the Police, Razakars, Scouts, Girl-Guides and most importantly, any sizeable public due to security reasons.

Ironically, we could not continue with the ritual of the armed forces’ Independence Day Parade at Islamabad for long.

The threat of terrorist attacks dampened our spirits, forcing us to abandon even the much anticipated celebration. All this has happened in the name of national security.

Now the venue chosen to celebrate the Azadi Parade is the village Kakul, farthest from Karachi.

Azadi Parades and their venues notwithstanding, the people of Pakistan seem to have lost the hope to live in peace and prosperity.

G. ASGHAR MALIK Former IGP, Punjab Lahore

Comments (8) Closed

Aug 25, 2012 04:19pm
No Azadi! No parade!
Aug 25, 2012 07:24am
i second your opinion
Aug 25, 2012 09:54am
During Ayub Khan leadership the army was strong and very professional and had won the wars. Now a days the army is building colonies, watch musical concerts and have lost every single war and fight. So there is no need for any parades. Let them enjoy while they can.
Muhammad Asif Jamal
Aug 26, 2012 12:25am
The article itself and few follow on comments all are one sided view of the issue. Once threat is imminent and possible consequences would be more embarrasing and horrific than the celeberation then it is much wiser decision who so ever has taken it. Appreciating and encouraging right thing is very very necessary, if it has and can save a single life.
Aug 25, 2012 03:10pm
As long as we sympathize with the terrorists.... we will gradually fade away as a nation. Blame the sympathizers who have infiltrated important posts in very department of our country
Agha Ata
Aug 25, 2012 01:20pm
It is sad, so sad. pathetic and painful to see that the army is embarrassed to conduct, and public is fearful to attend parades that used to be the symbol of unity and strength of the entire nation. Now, we neither have a nishan of an azme Alishan nor a markaze yaqin.
jalaluddin S. Hussain
Aug 25, 2012 12:35pm
What the Pakistanis have to celebrate anyway?
Aug 25, 2012 09:39am
Not to forget musharaff who took the parade inside the Islamabad Sports Complex only to be witnessed by a very few. Where are we heading, everyone knows but there is not a single brave soul to acknowledge this mess. Army and the government is to blame who make our policies.