The 143rd birthday of the nation's founder Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah is being observed today with traditional zeal and enthusiasm across the country.
The day started with a change of guards ceremony at Jinnah's mausoleum in Karachi. The national flag was been hoisted at all government and private buildings and special events have been planned for the day in order to shine a light on Jinnah's life and legacy, Radio Pakistan reported.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Governor Imran Ismail also visited Jinnah's mausoleum on the occasion.
Jinnah 'vindicated again'
In his message on the occasion, President Arif Alvi termed Jinnah as a "visionary man who envisaged a separate identity, needs and political direction of the Muslims of the subcontinent".
"The acumen of his foresight and vision can be witnessed even today with the prevailing conditions in India and occupied Kashmir," said the president and urged the nation to "stand united and re-affirm our faith in his teachings".
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his message for the nation, said that the "best way to pay homage to the Quaid on his birth anniversary is to adhere to his principles of Unity, Faith and Discipline".
Both the president and the prime minister said that the Indian government's move to strip occupied Kashmir's special status and its actions have "again vindicated the conviction of the great Quaid".
In a tweet, the premier said that on Jinnah's birthday, "we as a nation must resolve to build Pakistan in accordance with his vision of an Islamic welfare state based on compassion [and] human dignity; justice [and] rule of law; [and] a plural inclusivist society."
In a subsequent tweet, he said aspiring young leaders should make Jinnah their rode model.
"He was Sadiq [and] Ameen; [and] his 40-year struggle was not for personal gain but to achieve a homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent where they could live as free citizens second to none."
Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Jinnah's mausoleum on the occasion.
"Quaid’s vision about creation of Pakistan based on two-nation theory is an even more acknowledged reality today. We can’t thank him enough for having got us Pakistan," Gen Bajwa was quoted as saying in a tweet shared by Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor.
"Even in most difficult times, all Pakistanis including minorities have come together without compromise on respective identity. His vision will always guide the way for us to take Pakistan ahead following principles of Faith, Unity and Discipline," the army chief added.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif also echoed similar sentiments, saying that "events taking place across the border have reaffirmed [Jinnah's] vision, political wisdom and far-sightedness".
"We can't thank the Quaid enough for his gift that is Pakistan," he tweeted.
Sindh Chief Minister Shah, while speaking to media outside Jinnah's mausoleum, said that it is imperative to remember that the first principle of Jinnah's teachings was 'Unity'. He was answering a question pertaining to coordination between Sindh government and Centre.
The chief minister told reporters about the recent Council of Common Interests meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Imran and attended by provincial chief ministers, and said that there had been "positive developments".
He also vowed to ensure that minorities' rights are protected in light of the founder's teachings and wished the Christian community a happy and safe Christmas.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi paid tribute to the nation's founder and added that Jinnah was a "leader, who believed in law and justice".
"A man of great vision who foresaw the importance of two separate nations," Qureshi tweeted. "72 years later Quaid’s worst critics concede that he was right."
Addressing an event in Islamabad, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said that along with Christmas being celebrated on December 25, the day also marks the birth of Jinnah, "who shifted the paradigm of the entire region" and made clear that the vision and commitment of the leadership matters.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari noted that the nation had a "long way to go to realise the vision" of Jinnah.
"Our founder Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah & his vision for Pakistan — We have a long way to go to realise his vision but we must strive to achieve it," Mazari said in a tweet.
ISPR Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor also tweeted on the occasion and said: "Happy Birthday Father of the Nation, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Can’t thank you enough for having got us Pakistan. Those who opposed then are realising now. For them it’s beginning afresh now."