President Mamnoon Hussain Sunday said Pakistan’s future was in a strong democracy that would ensure progress, prosperity and development of the country.
Addressing a ceremony to mark the 70th Independence Day of the country here at the Jinnah Convention Centre, the President urged the nation to work selflessly with the same zeal of independence struggle to confront the challenges ahead.
The president recalled that Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah believed that democracy was part of life of a Muslim and was the way forward.
The ceremony was attended by the Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, federal ministers, services chiefs, diplomats of various countries, First Lady Begum Mehmooda Mamnoon and people from all sections of the society.
The President urged the nation to stand united and rise above petty differences and carry on the mission of Tehreek-e-Pakistan with a commitment in the next phase to make Pakistan a strong democratic entity.
President Mamnoon Hussain also urged the nation to ensure rule of law and service to the people of Pakistan as the core values that would take the country forward.
The flag hoisting ceremony started at 0900 hours after the blaring of sirens across the country and traffic coming to standstill.
This followed the national anthem of Pakistan played by the students from different educational institutions of Islamabad.
The day dawned with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and a 21-gun salute in provincial capitals.
The President earlier hoisted the national flag along with Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at an awe-inspiring ceremony. Both the prime minister and president attired black Sherwani and shalwar kameez-the national dress of Pakistan.
The Convention Centre building gave a festive look as it was adorned by national flags of Pakistan and lights just like every windows and balconies across the country and green lights flooding the streets.
President Mamnoon Hussain said on Independence Day, the nation was also grieved over the loss of lives in the recent Quetta tragedy. The entire nation stands in solidarity with the families of the victims and vowed that their blood would not go in vain, he added.
“We settled this account in the past and will do so in the future too,” the President remarked.
He said in order to face the modern day challenges, the nation needed the dedication and valour like the one they had showed during Pakistan Movement.
He said the visible or invisible enemies of the country would not let escape as the operation Zarb-e-Azb was coming to fruition and urged the security institutions to eliminate the menace with a renewed resolve.
He also paid tribute to the personnel of security forces and civilians who sacrificed their lives in terror incidents.
The president advised the people to forge unity against the enemy and pinned hopes at the youths to play constructive role for national development.
Sharing some incidents from Quaid’s life and Pakistan Movement, he said Jinnah gave us the principles for successful state including equality, brotherhood, justice, rule of law, independent foreign policy and friendly relations with states on equality basis.
He stressed the need to mould youth’s potential towards constructive activities.
President Mamnoon said democracy could pave way for national development even in unfavoring circumstances and took the country towards progress and prosperity by removing social differences.
President Mamnoon said the agenda of national development should never be compromised and ‘charter of education’ be made top national priority.
He also urged the people to inculcate sense of responsibility to turn the country into Pakistan as was dreamt by our forefathers.
He said amid the pleasures of Independence Day, we should not forget the people of Occupied Kashmir who had been denied their right to freedom.
The president reiterated country’s resolve to continue political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiri brethren till Kashmiris were given the right to plebiscite under UN resolutions.
He also emphasized the need for measures to protect the historic monuments of the country and ensure their sanctity.
President’s address was followed by a number of new national songs; depicting the language, culture and colourful themes of different regions and provinces of the country.
Young boys and girls donned white and green caps and attired national independence-themed dresses, with a touch of green and white of the national flag, danced to the folk tunes, and gave a message of peace, love and unity.
The youngsters, waving national flag in their hands, had also painted national flags on their faces.
The songs included a medley composed to pay tribute to the legendary singers of the country who created timeless tunes.
The songs included; “Ye watan tumhara hae, tum ho pasban is key”, “Sohni dharti Allah rakhey”, Nae dinon ke musafaton ko ujalna hae” and “jivay Pakistan.”
The grand event concluded with the Pakistan army brass band playing the tune of the national anthem.