ISLAMABAD: For the first time in nearly seven years, Pakistanis will wake up on Monday morning to the iconic Pakistan Day parade, which was a regular feature of March 23 celebrations before it was cancelled due to security concerns. Personnel from all three services, Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force, will participate in the parade.
The march-past, weapons display and a cultural show which were a traditional part of the colourful parade, may be seen this year for the first time in more than half a decade. Successive governments had cancelled the event because of security apprehensions and the fact that troops were occupied with military operations in several parts of the country.
Even though various events have been held on March 23 over the past few years, none of them captured the imagination of the public quite like the traditional parade, with its impressive march-pasts and aerial shows.
Take a look: Footprints: Pride of parade
Even though the military is still involved in counter-terrorism operations — in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency, the decision to resume the parade is motivated by a desire to shed the climate of fear that has prevailed over the nation.
This year’s event will take place at the new Parade Ground, specially built near scenic Shakarparian. In the past, the parade was held on Parade Avenue in front of Parliament House and before that, at the Race Course in Rawalpindi.
The event is held to commemorate the Pakistan Resolution, also known as the Lahore Resolution, which was introduced at the Muslim League convention in Lahore on March 23, 1940 and passed the following day.
The observance is meant to remind the people of the ideals for which the country was created.
President, PM’s messages
In his message to the nation on Pakistan Day, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the anti-state elements were out to threaten not only the lives of Pakistanis but also the very fabric of the Pakistani nation.
“The people have stood up to the challenge and resolved never to give in.
“Pakistan is resolved to redeem its pledge given to its founding fathers that it will protect the homeland. We are also committed to preserve and ensure freedom, equality and social justice as core values of our polity as desired by our enlightened forbears,” the PM said in his message.
The PM said that the independence struggle witnessed countless vicissitudes, but the Quaid never flinched from his avowed objective.
“The firm commitment of the Quaid, wholeheartedly backed by the Muslim nation, ultimately succeeded in carving out an independent homeland. The Quaid bequeathed to his people the promised land with the exhortation to preserve and protect it for future generations,” he said.
In his message to the nation, President Mamnoon Hussain said that on the historic occasion of Pakistan Day, all citizens should renew their resolve to bring the country to the forefront of the comity of nations.
The president said the country was confronted with formidable threats and challenges. Women and children, civilians and soldiers alike, had been targeted by terrorists and extremists. “Our schools and our places of worship have been attacked,” he said in his message.
“This day brings us together to remind us of the great struggle and commitment that accomplished the state of Pakistan. We must forget our differences and reclaim our country. A country where there is harmony and tolerance, education and prosperity, and people can live in peace and continue to strive towards success,” he said.
Published in Dawn March 23rd , 2015