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Month-long celebrations to mark independence begin countrywide

* March-past and fly-past in front of Parliament House will be held on the night of August 13 * August 14 will dawn with a 21-gun salute and special prayers for country

ISLAMABAD: The thirty-day celebrations for the 68th Independence Day commenced on Friday across the country with prayer leaders highlighting the historic struggle for a separate homeland and sacrifices rendered by martyrs for the purpose. 
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif formed a committee led by Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal Khan, and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Irfan Siddiqui as members finalising the Independence Day celebrations. 
The railways minister last month; in a press conference had unveiled plans to celebrate the Independence Day with plans of various ceremonies. The ceremonies began on Friday that will continue during August, where all Pakistanis will raise national flag on their homes and vehicles. 
There will be a march-past and fly-past in front of the Parliament House on August 13. August 14 will dawn with a 21-gun salute and special prayers for the country. A national flag-hoisting ceremony will be held either at the Presidency or the Convention Centre. Azadi walks were also planned in different cities and musical bands will play national tunes in different parks across the country.
Similar, events will be held abroad by Pakistan’s diplomatic missions. According to the government, all parliamentarians will be asked to visit martyrs’ graves to lay wreaths, offer prayers and meet their families to express solidarity.
Special programmes will be also held for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the federal government informed chief ministers, chief secretaries, prime minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir, chief minister Gilgit-Baltistan and chairman capital development authority (CDA) to issue special instructions to celebrate Independence Day events and express solidarity with the armed forces
Pakistan Railways (PR) will run Azadi Train (Independence Train) on August 11 from Peshawar to reach Karachi on September 11, two compartments of which were allocated to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) highlighting the Freedom Movement and armed forces. One compartment was allocated to PR highlighting history, while another was allocated to the Ministry of Information. Six floats on the train represent culture of each province and AJK. Governors of all the four provinces and foreign diplomats will also visit.
Wrestling, cricket and kabbadi on district and tehsil levels and a national mushaira, debate contests, and a national conference on Quaid-e-Azam’s concept of Pakistan will also be held along with a youth conference by the Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal. 

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