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

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.


Coronavirus takes further toll on Pakistani media 

Updated 28 May 2020

Coronavirus takes further toll on Pakistani media 

  • Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) calls on media organizations to enforce stricter safety rules
  • More than 150 journalists are known to have tested positive for COVID-19

KARACHI: Three Pakistani media staff lost their battle with the coronavirus on Thursday, as pressure is mounting on news organizations to protect their workers.
Two Radio Pakistan employees, Urdu newscaster Huma Zafar and senior broadcast engineer Muhammad Ashfaq died of COVID-19 on Thursday morning, the radio confirmed in a statement.
Also in the morning, 92 News senior reporter Fakhruddin Syed succumbed to the disease.
“Fakhruddin Syed is the first journalist from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who lost his life due to this pandemic. He was one of the pioneers from 92 News HD channel,” 92 News said in an obituary on its website.
Last week, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) appealed to media organizations to enforce stricter safety rules, as more journalists have been sent into the field since the country lifted the remaining restrictions imposed on businesses to slow the pandemic.
The PFUJ’s COVID-19 committee head, Zulfiqar Ali Mehto, told Arab News on May 21 that the majority of the infected were reporters, cameramen and photojournalists, which implies that they had contracted the virus during field coverage.
Newsrooms are not safe either, according to PFUJ.
“We have rigorously worked on collecting data and have analyzed each case, which tells us that protective measures are not being taken seriously. If a single person is infected, given almost zero space between workstations, the virus may spread across the whole office,” Mehto said, adding that few media organizations provided hand sanitizers, face masks and gloves to their staff.
More than 150 journalists are known to have tested positive for the virus, according to PFUJ’s last week’s report. 
With Thursday’s victims, at least six Pakistani media workers have died of the disease.