Pakistan celebrates Republic Day with grand military parade

Pakistani and Chinese F-16 fighters during Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad on Saturday, March 23, 2019. (ISPR photo)
Updated 23 March 2019
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Pakistan celebrates Republic Day with grand military parade

  • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed in attendance as guest of honour
  • Contingents from Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China and Turkey participate in the parade

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan marked its Republic Day, popularly known as Pakistan Day, on Saturday with gun salutes, prayers, and a grand military parade at which Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed was the guest of honour.

Pakistan Day commemorates the anniversary of a 1940 resolution calling for a separate homeland for Muslims in India. In 2015, the tradition of holding the parade was resumed after seven years in a symbolic show of military strength by a nation which has been badly affected by militant attacks for over a decade.

The day dawned with a 31-gun salute in Islamabad and a 21-gun salute in the provincial capitals. At the break of dawn, special prayers were offered at mosques around the country and the national flag was hoisted on all major government buildings, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported. The change-of-guards ceremony was held at the mausoleum of Dr Allama Iqbal in Lahore.

The military parade was held at Parade Ground near the Shakarparian hills in Islamabad. Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammad was the guest of honour while the Pakistani president, prime minister, ministers, members of parliament, the three armed services chiefs and diplomats also attended. The defence minister of Azerbaijan, the army chief of Bahrain and government officials from Oman were also in attendance.

On the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed the "need to achieve the goal of a true Islamic welfare state as envisaged by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah," the founder of Pakistan, Radio Pakistan reported. He also expressed solidarity with the people of Indian-administered Kashmir "who have long been victims of Indian state terrorism and forced to lead a life of misery."

In his address to the ceremony, President Alvi said Pakistan's sovereignty had been challenged many times in the past and "wars were imposed on us" but lauded the nation for fighting off those assaults. He said "Pakistan respects all the countries' sovereignty and wishes peace" but made it clear that the "desire for peace should not be misconstrued as a sign of weakness.”

Alvi said Pakistan had overcome the challenges of extremism and terrorism but still had some ways to go to succeed on the socio-economic front.

Aircrafts from the Army Aviation and Pakistan Air Force demonstrated aerobatic feats for the audience and combat and attack helicopters and skydivers of airborne units from the three armed forces showcased their skills.

Contingents from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Turkey also participated in the parade.  

Cultural delegates and floats from Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir also featured in the ceremony to showcase the diversity of Pakistan’s provinces.

An investiture ceremony will also be held at the presidential palace in the evening where the president will confer civil awards on individuals who have excelled in a range of fields. Around 171 personalities, including foreigners, have been selected for the awards this year.


Punishment unless first wife and arbitration body approve second marriage, Pakistan court rules

Updated 25 June 2019
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Punishment unless first wife and arbitration body approve second marriage, Pakistan court rules

  • Verdict a “big win” for me and all women fighting against patriarchy, petitioner Dilshad Bibi says
  • Council of Islamic Ideology Chairman says no need to seek permission under Sharia law

ISLAMABAD: Dilshad Bibi, a woman who moved the court eight years ago against her husband for marrying for a second time, said on Tuesday the Islamabad High Court’s recent decision recommending punishment if male spouses did not get permission to remarry from an arbitration council as well as the first wife was a “big win” for women.
In a ruling on Monday, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah said a man would be punished if he entered into a second marriage unless it was approved by a reconciliation council and his wife.
“It [the verdict] is a big win for me and all women who have been fighting against patriarchy and injustices in society,” Bibi told Arab News. “I never lost hope and faith in our justice system, and finally won the case after eight years of long struggle.”
Bibi and husband Liaqat Ali Meer tied the knot in May 2011. Meer remarried in January 2013 without seeking permission from his first wife or a reconciliation council whose permission is binding under Muslim family law in Pakistan.
Subsequently Bibi moved a local court against her husband which sentenced him to one month in prison and a fine of Rs5,000 ($32). The punishment was overturned by an appellate court in February 2017, after which Bibi went to the IHC.
On Monday, the IHC overturned the verdict that acquitted Bibi’s husband. Meer will now have to serve his term and pay the fine, and an appellate court will reexamine whether additional punishment is required.
“During the subsistence of an existing marriage, no man shall contract another marriage except with the previous permission in writing of the Arbitration Council,” the court ruled in a 12-page verdict, quoting a section of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 related to polygamy.
According to Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Act, 2015, the federal government is responsible for establishing an “arbitration council” for the amicable settlement of disputes in a locality. The council comprises a panel of seven members, including at least one woman, who are nominated for a term of five years.
With Monday’s verdict, the court had not banned second marriage, Bibi’s lawyer Ali Hussain Bhatti said, but made it “compulsory for men to follow a due process before contracting a second marriage.”
“This is still a historic verdict and will help protect the rights of women,” he told Arab News.
Bibi said the IHC’s verdict would now serve as a precedent for future court cases and “help women get justice and equal rights.”
Having multiple wives is common in about a quarter of the world’s nations, predominantly conservative male-dominated communities in Africa and Muslim-majority countries where it is part of traditional or religious customs.
But campaigners say most polygamous marriages fuel poverty — with husbands neglecting one family over another — leaving thousands of women and children impoverished and easy prey for exploitation.
In Pakistan, polygamy is not widespread and is mostly common in rural areas in families without a male heir or in cases when men fell in love with another woman.
Rights campaigner Farzana Bari said Monday’s verdict would “encourage more women to fight for their rights and approach courts for justice in case of any unfair treatment by their husbands.”
Dr. Qibla Ayaz, chairman of Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), a body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam, said Pakistani law was in contradiction with Sharia law which did not bind a man to seek permission from his first wife to contract a second marriage.
“If a man does not seek permission from his wife and the conciliation council before remarrying, he will be punished under the law of the land, but his second marriage will still remain valid,” Ayaz told Arab News, “Under Sharia law, there is no need to seek permission of the first wife.”