I WAS born in Rawalpindi and since my childhood I have been regularly witnessing either physically or on TV the Republic Day parade on March 23. Incidentally, my date of commission is also March 23, 1968. I have also had the honour of performing security duties at the parade venue at the Race Course, Rawalpindi. What a morale-boosting event it used to be! I would also take my children, like thousands of others, to witness the flypast, the parade, the roar of tanks, whish-whooshing of helicopters and the floats of all the provinces, binding us together in unison.

President Gen Pervez Musharraf, a commando, had the parade discontinued.

Gradually, we saw staff cars, trucks and buses of the armed forces losing their distinction when they started displaying civil numbers. The guardians started guarding themselves by manning routes frequented by senior officers, brandishing guns pointed at the public, moving around in oblivion.

The public expected the military to bring the army ‘back to life and in full visibility’ of the people instead of creating an artificial sense of security by setting up ‘fortress-like defences’ around offices and residential accommodations throughout Pakistan.

The Republic-Day parade should be revived this year as is a national event.


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