Pakistan celebrating 70 years since independence

Pakistan kicked off a day of celebrations yesterday marking 70 years of statehood and independence.

A girl holds the national flag of Pakistan as she sits on her father’s shoulders during a ceremony celebrating the country’s 70th Independence Day at the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi yesterday.

Pakistan kicked off a day of celebrations yesterday marking 70 years of statehood and independence, the festivities beginning with gun salutes in the capital Islamabad and in each of the four provincial capitals.

In Islamabad, President Mamnoon Hussain hoisted the national flag at a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, visiting Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, and scores of Pakistani military and government officials and other dignitaries.

Security was on high alert across the nation following a suicide attack on Saturday when a bomber on a motorcycle targeted a military truck in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing 15 people — eight soldiers and seven civilians.

Pakistan gained independence when the British left India and split the subcontinent in 1947, sparking one of the most violent upheavals of the 20th century.

Addressing the ceremony in the capital, Hussain urged the nation to look to the wisdom of its founders when facing the current “hot” environment.

“Solutions to all the problems of this time persist in our ideologies, thoughts of leaders of our freedom movement and our bright history,” he said. “By following them we can improve our situation today and our future as well.”

He appealed to citizens to “rise above” their party and group interests and “protect the future of the nation.” 

China’s vice premier said China is ready to strengthen all-round strategic and economic cooperation with Pakistan.

“We need to keep the tradition of close high-level exchanges, extend firm mutual support on issues concerning each other’s major interests and strengthen cooperation in international and regional affairs,” Wang said.

China sees Pakistan as an important partner in the Belt and Road initiative, he said, and the two countries will take forward the building of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor by launching more early harvest projects to enhance Pakistan’s capacity for independent development and deliver tangible benefits to Pakistanis and people along the route.

Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

In Karachi, visitors paid respects at the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s founder.

The air force put on a spectacular show, with Pakistani, Turkish and Saudi fighter jets flying over Islamabad as thousands of spectators watched from one of the city’s parks.

Special Reports