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Pakistan holds first Republic Day parade in seven years

Updated March 23, 2015

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23rd March tableau at the new parade venue near Islamabad's  Shakarparian area. — APP
23rd March tableau at the new parade venue near Islamabad's Shakarparian area. — APP
Folk artists perform during the military parade in Islamabad. —AFP
Folk artists perform during the military parade in Islamabad. —AFP
A view of the fly-past performed by Pakistan Air Force jets. —AFP
A view of the fly-past performed by Pakistan Air Force jets. —AFP

ISLAMABAD: The highly-anticipated joint military parade by the armed forces of Pakistan took place today in Islamabad after a gap of seven years, to commemorate the historic Pakistan Resolution on March 23, 1940 - a day which marks the the birth of a separate state for Muslims.

Personnel from all three services, Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force, are participating in the parade.

Armed forces personnel march-past during full dress rehearsal of Pakistan Day parade. — INP
Armed forces personnel march-past during full dress rehearsal of Pakistan Day parade. — INP

The last parade which took place in the federal capital was on March 23, 2008, reviewed by Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf as a civilian president, but was discontinued owing to 'security concerns'.

Crowd enjoying a sunny day during the Pakistan Day celebrations. —AFP
Crowd enjoying a sunny day during the Pakistan Day celebrations. —AFP

The joint military parade had been a regular event with display of military power and show of Pakistan’s folk culture, which captured the imagination of the public quite like the traditional parade, with its impressive march-pasts and aerial shows.

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.

Sherdils demonstrate an aerobatic performance during the Pakistan National Day parade.—AP
Sherdils demonstrate an aerobatic performance during the Pakistan National Day parade.—AP
Para-trooper holding the national flag and wearing green jumpsuit 'landed beautifully'.—AP
Para-trooper holding the national flag and wearing green jumpsuit 'landed beautifully'.—AP

The national flag brought to the ground by the sky diving paratroopers handed over to President Mamnoon Hussain.

Divers had jumped from 10,000 feet and can also jump 25,000 feet, that too in night. —Reuters
Divers had jumped from 10,000 feet and can also jump 25,000 feet, that too in night. —Reuters

According to the commentator, these colourful parachutes are like rainbow pallets in the air but during war these are camouflaged in the night and are a threat to the enemies.

Soldiers stand beside long-range ballistic Shaheen II missile during the parade. —AFP
Soldiers stand beside long-range ballistic Shaheen II missile during the parade. —AFP

Air chief arrives at podium

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sohail Aman, after presenting a fly-past before President Mamnoon Hussain, has joined him one the podium, where the head of the state is reviewing the march-past held by the armed forces personnel.

A view of the fly-past performed by PAF Sherdils. —AFP
A view of the fly-past performed by PAF Sherdils. —AFP

Armed forces hold march-past

Contingents of the Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force,Pakistan Navy, Frontier Corps and Pakistan Rangers held a march-past and performed a salute to President of Pakistan.

Personnel of Army SSG march-past during full dress rehearsal of Pakistan Day parade. — INP
Personnel of Army SSG march-past during full dress rehearsal of Pakistan Day parade. — INP
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif watches the military parade in Islamabad. —AFP
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif watches the military parade in Islamabad. —AFP

Pakistan Army's tanks, including Al-Khalid and Al Zarrar tanks, also perform gun salute in front of the chief guest on the occasion.

Troops ride Al-Zarar tanks during the military parade in Islamabad. —AFP
Troops ride Al-Zarar tanks during the military parade in Islamabad. —AFP

The salute by the army tanks was marked by the lowering of their cannons as they pass the podium of the chief guest.

President Mamnoon delivers speech

President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain delivered a speech to the participants of the parade in which he paid tribute to those who had lost their lives in the Taliban attack on Army Public School on December 16, 2014.

President Mamnoon Hussain addresses participants of Pakistan Day parade. — DawnNews screengrab
President Mamnoon Hussain addresses participants of Pakistan Day parade. — DawnNews screengrab

He also said that Pakistan desired relations with India on the basis of equality and added that the issue of Kashmir needs to be resolved according to wishes of the Kashmiri people.

President Mamnoon also announced the good news that regarding the United Nations' approval of the extension of Pakistan's seabed territory from 200 to 350 nautical miles.

Chief of Air Staff leads fly-past

Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sohail Aman leads a fly-past of Pakistan Air Force jets presented to President Mamnoon Hussain over the parade venue.

A view of the fly-past performed by Pakistan Air Force jets. —AFP
A view of the fly-past performed by Pakistan Air Force jets. —AFP

COAS, CNS, PM and President arrive at venue

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif have arrived at the parade venue.

Change of guard in Lahore

— DawnNews screengrab
— DawnNews screengrab

Earlier during the day a change of guard ceremony was held by the Pakistan Air Force at the mausoleum of national poet Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal in Lahore.

— DawnNews screengrab
— DawnNews screengrab

The ceremonial guard mounting was followed by laying of a floral wreath at the mausoleum by the chief gues on the occasion, Base commander Air Commodore Hamid Faraz. He offered fateha and was also presented with a guard of honour at the tomb.

Gun-salute

A 31-gun salute was fired before sunrise to commemorate Pakistan Day in the federal capital city. Similarly 21-gun salutes were fired in the provincial capital cities.

—DawnNews screengrab
—DawnNews screengrab

Strict security measures

Cellphone and wireless Internet services remained suspended as part of security measures in Islamabad. Activities including wedding ceremonies, fireworks displays, celebratory firing, kite-flying and pigeon-flying have been strictly banned in the capital.

National flag of Qatar and Pakistan seen hoisted at Faizabad flyover ahead of visit of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.— Online
National flag of Qatar and Pakistan seen hoisted at Faizabad flyover ahead of visit of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani.— Online

Strict checking is being carried out by security personnel deputed at checkposts which have been set up at all entry/exit points of Islamabad.

Fireworks display at midnight

Massive firework displays held in Lahore and Quetta at midnight to mark the commencement of Pakistan Day celebrations.

A view of  Minar-i-Pakistan. — Online
A view of Minar-i-Pakistan. — Online