Nation celebrates I-Day with traditional zeal

ISLAMABAD: The 68th Independence Day of Pakistan was celebrated with traditional zeal and fervour with a host of traditional ceremonies held across the country.
The day dawned with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salutes at the provincial capitals and with special prayers for the prosperity and solidarity of the country, unity of the Muslim Ummah and for success of the long drawn struggle of the Kashmiris. 
The main flag-hoisting ceremony was held at the Presidency in Islamabad. President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif jointly hoisted the national flag. 
The prime minister travelled to Ziarat to inaugurate re-constructed Ziarat Residency. Balochistan governor and chief minister, federal ministers and chief of the army staff attended the ceremony.
The residency was damaged in a terrorist attack and the re-construction project executed by Nayyar Ali Dada cost around Rs 140 million and completed in a record time of five months. 
It was a public holiday throughout the country. Flag-hoisting ceremonies were held at the provincial capitals, district headquarters and important national institutions.
A range of events, including seminars, conferences, lectures, debates, speech contests, exhibitions, quiz competitions, stage dramas, mushairas and sports competitions were arranged by different organisations to celebrate the day in a befitting manner and to highlight efforts of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Poet of the East Allama Iqbal and other national heroes.
All the major public and private buildings, roads and avenues were decorated with illuminations, national flags, banners, buntings and portraits of national leaders. A national flag was hoisted at the 215-ft high pole, erected by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in the capital.
The day was celebrated with traditional enthusiasm in provincial capitals of Quetta, Peshawar, Karachi and Lahore.
The change of guard ceremony was held at the Mazar-e-Iqbal in Lahore where a smartly-turned-out contingent of Pakistan Army took charge from the Punjab Rangers. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif visited Allama Iqbal’s Mausoleum to lay a wreath and offered Fateha.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad in a ceremony hoisted the national flag at Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum in Karachi. Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and his cabinet members also laid wreaths at Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s grave and his lieutenants buried on the premises.
A smartly attired contingent of the Pakistan Naval (PN) Academy cadets assumed their responsibility to guard Quaid’s mausoleum in the morning.
A traditional flag-hoisting ceremony was held at the Balochistan Assembly premises where Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch hoisted the flag. An impressive retreat ceremony was held at the Wagah Border to mark the Independence Day.
The Pakistan Rangers Punjab officials, jawans and a large number of people of all age groups attended the ceremony and raised slogans. Pakistan Rangers Punjab Director General, Major General Khan Tahir Javed Khan hoisted the national flag at the joint check post of Wagha Border.
Sweets were given to the Indian Border Security Force as a goodwill gesture.
Independence Day ceremonies were also held at the Pakistani embassies and missions in Sri Lanka, Korea, Singapore, Cambodia, India, Abu Dhabi, Italy, Hong Kong, Iran and other countries.
Messages of the president and prime minister were read out at these functions attended by the Pakistani community and the government departments and organisations to hoist flag ceremonies. 
Flag-hoisting ceremonies were held at the Allama Iqbal Open University, International Islamic University, University of Sargodha, University of Sukkur, Sindh Madressahtul Islam, Dow University of Health Sciences and Shah Abdul Latif University. 

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