The annual military parade to celebrate Pakistan Day was held in Islamabad on Wednesday. This year's ceremony was unique because in addition to the usual government official and military men, it was also attended by members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), who are in the capital for the summit.
President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, the chiefs of the army, navy and air force, and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak attended the parade. The president arrived at the venue escorted in his chariot by the presidential guards mounted on horses.
The parade commenced with anthems played by military bands after a special salute paid to the national flag and the president's review, which was led by parade commander Brigadier Arsalan Tariq Ali.
The parade comprised of marching columns of Pakistan Army's infantry regiments of Punjab, Baloch, Frontier Force, Sindh Regiment, Northern Light Infantry, Frontier Corps, the flag-bearing contingent, Punjab Rangers, Mujahid Regiment, Pakistan Coast Guards — who were participating for the first time — Balochistan Levies, Pakistan police contingent led by Sindh police, Light Commando Battalion of Azad Kashmir regiment, Special Services Group (SSG), Pakistan Navy, Air Force, lady officers contingent comprising tri-services personnel and other paramilitary forces.
Moreover, the contingents of Pakistan Boy Scouts and Girls Guide were also part of the march.
President Alvi and PM Imran rose from their seats to applaud the lady officers' contingent.
Military contingents of Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Uzbekistan also participated in the parade.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar Sidhu led the fly-past formation, flying the F-16 jet flanked by J10-C and JF-17 Thunder jets which was followed by the aerobatic manoeuvres of JF-17 Thunder and F-16, fly-past of Mirage jets, C-130 and P-3C Orion aircrafts.
The mechanised columns of Armoured Corps Divisions, Signals and display of modern radars, guns, and missiles added more grandeur to the parade. It was followed by the fly-past of helicopters of the Army Aviation, air force and navy.
Meanwhile, the PAF's aerobatics display team, Sherdil, enthralled spectators with their unmatched aerial manoeuvres on nine Karakoram K-8P aircrafts.
The paratroopers freefall was led by General Officer Commanding (GOC) SSG Major General Adil Rehmani. The GOC SSG presented the national flag to President Alvi after completing the freefall.
The cultural floats also marched starting with the OIC float, which was decorated with five columns depicting the five pillars of Islam and the word Allah. It was also adorned with flags of all OIC member countries.
The floats' march was followed by the cultural float of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.
Header photo: Prime Minister Imran Khan (3L) and President Arif Alvi (3R) watch Pakistan Air Force fighter jets perform during the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad on Wednesday. — AFP