ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has said national institutions are wholeheartedly backing democracy in Pakistan, declaring that the nation and all institutions want stability of democracy and rule of law, as they believe in it
“This approach of the institutions is the path to stability and development,” said President Alvi at the Joint Services Parade, the highlight of the ceremonies held across the country to mark 82nd Pakistan Day, in the federal capital on Wednesday.
The parade featured marching troops, military assets, including the recently acquired J-10C fighter aircraft, and cultural floats. This year’s annual event attained great significance as foreign ministers of the 57-member OIC as well as Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi witnessed the joint services parade along with Prime Minister Imran Khan, cabinet members, diplomats, senior civil and military officials and some prominent figures who have won accolades for their services to Pakistan.
The contingents of friendly countries, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Bahrain, also participated in the parade.
Chinese, OIC officials witness Pakistan Day event; troops from friendly countries also take part
In his address, President Alvi noted that Pakistan was faced with the challenges of extremism, intolerance, population growth, women rights and fake news. He called on all segments of society, especially the clergy, media, parents and students, to help in tackling these issues.
Recalling the national resolve to safeguard independence and sovereignty, he said a lot of sacrifices had been rendered and no compromises would be made in future. “We fought wars, defeated terrorism, and thwarted internal and external conspiracies,” he asserted.
Dr Alvi said Pakistan was a responsible nuclear state that wanted peace with all, respected sovereignty of other countries and believed in peaceful co-existence.
However, he pointed out that India’s expansionist designs and illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir were the major cause of instability in the region, asking the UN to stop the human rights violations by India in the occupied valley and calling for implementing the UN resolutions on Kashmir.
He said major challenges faced by the Muslim world included Palestine and Kashmir disputes, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and the rising tide of Islamophobia. “All these challenges could be dealt with through unity,” he advised the foreign delegates, stating that Pakistan wants the international organisation representing the Muslim world to be more effective.
The event at Islamabad’s Parade Avenue commenced with Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Baber Sidhu leading the fly-past of various formations of Pakistan Air Force fighter jets. including the newly acquired J-10C. Contingents of army, navy, air force, SSG, FC, Pakistan Rangers, Coast Guards and Islamabad police marched past the dais presenting salute to the chief guest. The marching columns of Armoured Corps, Artillery, Air Defence, besides infantry regiments and the women contingent of AFNS, were also highlight of the day-long event.
A special float of OIC member states was also showcased on the occasion, besides the cultural floats presenting artifacts, folk songs and dances in a show of national harmony.
Also, the Sherdil team of seven Karakoram aircraft presented enthralling aerobatics, leaving a colourful trail of smoke in the blue sky. The paratroopers of the three services made freefall jumps from the altitude of 10,000 feet and precisely landed at their designated targets in the ground.
Stars of the event
After the parade review, distinguished personalities, who were especially invited to the Pakistan Day event, were showered with praise for their meritorious services to the nation. They included Dr Amjad Saqib who laid the foundation of first interest-free microfinance Akhuwat Foundation; Malik Adnan who protected the Sri Lankan citizen with courage during a deadly attack; Parveen Bibi, a female rickshaw driver who started free female driving training; Zarghoona Manzoor, the first female SHO of Balochistan and widow of DSP Munawar Tareen who had embraced martyrdom in a terrorist attack; Dr Mimpal Singh who established an ICU for infants; Maria Shamoon, the first AC from minority community of Balochistan; Senator Krishna Kumari Kohli, the proud daughter of Tharparkar who chaired the Senate session on February 5, 2022 that passed a resolution on Kashmir; and Saima Saleem, the first blind female CSP officer.
Earlier, the day dawned with 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salute in provincial capitals. Special prayers were offered in mosques for the country’s progress and prosperity.