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KARACHI, March 23 Like countrymen across the country and around the world, Karachiites observed the Pakistan Day on Monday with profound national spirit and enthusiasm and renewed their pledge to work with commitment for the fulfilment of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah's dream of a prosper and strong Pakistan.

The day dawned with special prayers for the progress, prosperity, integrity and wellbeing of the country.

Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, members of the provincial cabinet, advisers and special assistants to the chief minister, elected public representatives and large members of other citizens visited the mausoleum of the founder of the nation to lay wreaths and offer Fateha.

An impressive ceremony for change of guard at the mausoleum was held.

People from all walks of life kept visiting the mazar throughout the day to pay homage to the Quaid-i-Azam for achieving a homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent.

Elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure complete peace across the city with police and Rangers personnel patrolling the streets of the city to keep an eye on miscreants and terrorists.

Various political, social and religious organisations held discussions, seminars and other programmes to highlight the importance of the Pakistan Day, Pakistan Resolution and the role of national heroes in the Pakistan Movement.

Although major thoroughfares and commercial centres wore a deserted look, all recreational spots in the city and on the outskirts were thronged by hundreds of families enjoying the public holiday. Public transport remained thin and the number of passengers at bus stops was negligible most of the day.

Pakistan Day programmes were also held at various colleges and schools where students took part in quiz shows, debates and dramas and presented tableaux to underline the need for faith, unity and discipline.

Special exhibition

A special exhibition of documents, letters, pamphlets, manuscripts and rare photographs relating to the Pakistan Movement, as well as other articles of historical importance, opened at the National Museum on Monday.

People from all walks of life, especially students and teachers of history, Pakistan ideology and Pakistan Studies, visited the museum in large numbers.

The exhibition will remain open to the general public till March 30.

Pledges renewed

Governor Dr Ibad and Chief Minister Shah talked to the media at the Quaid's mausoleum and called for making concerted efforts by the nation to steer the country out of crises and put it on the road to progress.

Dr Ibad said “Pakistan is rich in resources and today is the day for renewing the pledge to serve the country together and steer it to the path of progress.”

Mr Shah said “Today the entire nation is observing Pakistan Day with national spirit and we have come here to pay homage to the founder of the nation whose concept of an independent homeland for Muslims was presented on this day in 1940.” He paid tribute to all those who offered unprecedented sacrifices for the cause of the Muslims of the subcontinent. “Now it is our duty to follow the golden principles propounded by the Quaid-i-Azam and work for the welfare, betterment and development of the people of Pakistan and to get their due rights,” he said.

On the occasion, he declared that political imbalances would be removed, adding “We will work under the leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari, MQM chief Altaf Hussain and ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, as well as the leaderships of the PML-F, NPP and PML-Q for the cause of making Pakistan stronger.”

FIR against Balochistan Assembly speaker

In reply to some questions, the chief minister said he had talked to the chief minister of Balochistan on the issue of the registration of an FIR against the speaker of the Balochistan Assembly in Karachi. “We don't want to act in a manner that could result in disunity between the provinces,” he said, adding that his government's effort would be to make the FIR ineffective after an independent inquiry.

Regarding provincial autonomy, the chief minister said that every province must enjoy autonomy in accordance with the Constitution.

He suggested amendments to the Constitution in consultation with smaller provinces with the aim of keeping the country strong even after gaining greater autonomy as only strong provinces could ensure strong Pakistan.

Civil awards

Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan gave awards to 24 civilians on behalf of the president of Pakistan at an impressive ceremony held in Darbar Hall of the Governor's House on Monday.

The civil awards — Sitara-i-Imtiaz, President's Award of Pride of Performance and Tamgha-i-Imtiaz — were given to prominent figures in recognition of the outstanding services they have rendered in their respective fields.

The ceremony was attended, among others, by Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Senior Minister Pir Mazharul Haq, Law Minister Mohammed Ayaz Soomro, representatives of the three armed services, senior officials, notables and families of the recipients of the awards.

Chief Secretary Fazalur Rehman read out the citations for each of the award recipient.

The seven recipients of Sitara-i-Imtiaz were the late Shafi Mohammed Shah (Acting), Shaharyar Arshad (Sailing), S. Khalid Tawab (Public Service), Abdul Haseeb Khan (Public Service), S. M. Naseer (Public Service), Aftab Ahmed Lodhi (Public Service) and Sister Merry Emili FC.

The 11 Pride of Performance Awards were presented to Prof Dr Mohammed Iqbal Bhangar (Chemistry), Behroz Sabzwari (Acting), Ubaidullah Baig (Compering), Khalifa Mohammed Irshad Baig (Woodwork), Sahib Dino Mallah (Khes-making), Nasim Sultan (Embroidery), Ghaus Bux Brohi (Alghoza playing), Dr Mohammed Aslam Farrukhi (Literature), Ahmed Shah alias Ustad Bukhari (Poetry), Mohammed Faizan (Mountaineering) and Rohina Malik (Calligraphy).

The six Tamgha-i-Imtiaz were given away to Jamil Memon (Dairy Farming), Humera Channa (Singing), Asad Mohammed Khan (Literature), Anwar Pirzado (Literature), Dr Saher Imdad Hussain (Literature) and Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig (Public Service).

Ceremony at seminary

A special Pakistan Day ceremony was organised by the International Binnoria University at Jamia Masjid Muhammadi on Monday.

The scholars who spoke at the ceremony highlighted the ideology of Pakistan and objectives of creating a separate homeland for Muslims with reference to the Pakistan Resolution.

They also highlighted the role of the Quaid-i-Azam and his lieutenants who led the Pakistan Movement and the contribution of ulema in the success of the struggle.

Special prayers were also offered for the integrity and prosperity of the country.

Administrator of the university Mufti Mohammad Naeem, Maulana Abdul Majeed, Maulana Ghulam Rasool, Allama Mohammad Amin, Maulana Yousuf and other ulema and scholars spoke.

They stressed the need for unity and complete harmony among the followers of all schools of thought in order to transform the Muslims' homeland into a truly Islamic welfare state.—Agencies