PESHAWAR: The country’s 72nd Independence Day was observed on Wednesday in Peshawar and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as Kashmir Solidarity Day to express full support to the people of India-held Kashmir facing brutalities at the hands of Indian forces.

In Peshawar, a flag hoisting ceremony was held at the Civil Secretariat where Minister for Information Shaukat Ali Yousafzai was the chief guest while chief secretary Mohammad Salim Khan presided over the function.

Special assistant to the chief minister, Kamran Bangash, MPA Rabia Basri, Town- 2 Nazim Faridullah Khan and a large number of government employees also attended the ceremony.

The minister paid rich tribute to the martyrs of police, Pakistan Army and civilians, saying their sacrifices had given a new life to the nation.

He said that these martyrs were our national heroes who would be remembered for ever.

He said that the people of India-held Kashmir would also succeed in achieving freedom from the occupation forces.

Similarly, a flag-hoisting ceremony was also held at the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry where its president hoisted the national flag. Haris Mufti, the chamber’s vice-president, executive committee members and members of the business community were present on the occasion.

The participants expressed complete solidarity with the people of Kashmir. National flag hoisting ceremony was also held at the Pakistan Railways and Rescue 1122 office, Peshawar. Also, the national flag and the flag of Azad Jammu and Kashmir were hoisted at the Governor House, Peshawar.

Cake cutting ceremony was held at the cathedral church where deputy commissioner Mohammad Ali Asghar was the chief guest. Bishop of Peshawar and moderator of the Church of Pakistan, Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters, also shared views about significance of the Independence Day and expressed solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

The Sikh and Hindu communities led by Dr Sahib Singh had also arranged a motorcycle rally to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people and to denounce Indian aggression in held Kashmir.

A public meeting was arranged at Namak Mandi jointly by different groups of traders, political parties and civil society organisations where they expressed solidarity with the people of Kashmir. It was observed that people belonging to different walks of life holding national flags marched on different roads as part of the celebrations.

Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth also hoisted the national flag on the premises of Peshawar High Court on Wednesday. The ceremony was attended by the sitting and former judges of the high court, representatives of bar associations, additional and deputy advocates general and staff members of the high court.

In his message, the PHC chief justice quoted the words of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah that: “My message to you all is of hope, courage and confidence. Let us mobilise all our resources in a systematic and organised way and tackle the grave issues that confront us with grim determination and discipline worthy of a great Nation.”

A function was also organised by the Peshawar District Bar Association wherein its president Taimoor Ali Shah hoisted the national flag.

In Mansehra, Torghar and Kohistan, rallies were taken out to celebrate the Independence Day. The functions in this regard were attended by deputy commissioners and people from different walks of life.

“Kashmir under Indian occupation is a disputed territory and would remain disputed despite revoking its special status by the Indian government,” Mohammad Asim Shahzad, JI youth leader, told a function at the District Council Hall.

In Swabi, rallies were organised in the district headquarters and four tehsils to mark the day. The public and private educational institutions also organised functions and gatherings to pay tribute to the national heroes and founding fathers. They prayed for the success of struggle of Kashmiri people who had been facing worst atrocities at the hands of Indian occupation forces.

A gathering was held at Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology where Prof Jameelun Nabi, pro-rector academics, was the chief guest.

In Lakki Marwat, the district administration with the support of education department, Boy Scouts Association and tehsil municipal administration arranged a joint function at the Municipal Hall to celebrate the Independence Day with national zeal and to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

Deputy commissioner Jehangir Azam Wazir performed the flag hoisting ceremony.

In Karak, deputy commissioner Shah Rukh Ali hoisted the flag and said that the defence of the country was safe hands.

In Nowshera, MPA Mian Jamshaidud Din addressed a function arranged in connection with the Independence Day in the local jail. He said that the provincial government was planning to convert prisons into rehabilitation centres where the prisoners would be imparted skills so they could be able to earn livelihood for their families after completion of their jail term. They prisoners on this occasion raised slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’.

In Haripur, different programmes were arranged across the district in connection with the Independence Day where people also expressed solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren. The main flag hoisting ceremony was held at Ayub Park, Haripur. Federal minister Omar Ayub Khan was the chief guest on this occasion.

Independence Day functions and rallies were also held in Shangla, Kohat, Buner, Batkhela, Bajaur tribal district, Battagram, Tank and other areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where people also hoisted national flags on their shops, houses and official buildings.

On this occasion, they pledged to work for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2019