ISLAMABAD: The country’s armed forces, including army, air force and navy, celebrated 70 years of independence from British colonial rule with traditional zeal and enthusiasm by organising an array of events across the country.
Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa celebrate Independence Day at forward positions on the Line of Control (LoC) where he lauded the ‘spirit and motivation’ of troops defending the country in the face of unabated onslaught by Indian forces.
He was apprised of the recent “abnormally frequent ceasefire Violations from the Indian side and the effective response given by our troops”, according to the military’s media wing.
Gen Qamar was informed that Pakistani troops were showing restraint because their ‘professional ethos’ barred them from responding in kind when Indian troops targeted innocent civilians along the LoC.
Lauding the motivation and spirit of the troops, the army chief said there was no better way to celebrate independence than defending the country.
“Indian army’s atrocities have not been able to deter the spirit and sacrifices of the brave Kashmiris in Occupied Kashmir. We will always stand with them in their just struggle against repression,” Gen Qamar said.
Earlier at the stroke of midnight on Sunday, the army chief raised a massive national flag on a 400 foot pole at Wagah border crossing with India.
Following the chest-thumping performance Bajwa said the country was making progress and promised to “go after each and every terrorist in Pakistan”. “We have made a few mistakes in the past, but we are on the road to development under the guidance of our constitution,” he added.
The army chief also hosted an Independence Day reception for retired officers and soldiers of the military. The event is an annual ritual where serving and retired officers and soldiers celebrate the day together.
Participants paid tributes for the recent military operations against terrorism which have brought back smiles for the nation to celebrate Independence Day in such an unprecedented manner, according to the ISPR.
The most attractive of countrywide celebrations was the air show organised by Pakistan Air Force in Islamabad and Karachi. It was described as the largest air show in the history of Pakistan.
The first air show was held at Fatima Jinnah Park, Islamabad, where President Mamnoon Hussain was the chief guest, said a statement issued by PAF’s media wing.
Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir and Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff also witnessed the impressive show. Ambassadors of friendly countries, former air chiefs and high-ranking civil and military officers were also present.
PAF’s fighter and training aircraft, including Mirage, SAAB-2000, and Augusta-139 from PAF, and MI-17 and PUMA helicopters from the Army Aviation participated in the show.
Besides PAF aircraft, world renowned aerobatic teams from Turkey and Saudi Arabia also performed in the mega event.
The huge crowd gathered in the lush green F-9 Park was ecstatic to see ‘Solo Turk’ flying overhead in a thundering sound. The stunning manoeuvres of the world famous aerobatics team of Turkish Air Force left the spectators spell bound.
The next event was a spectacular aerobatics display of ‘Saudi Hawks’, 07 ship formation aerobatics team of Royal Saudi Air Force.
The blue skies of Islamabad were filled with colours as this acclaimed aerobatic team displayed eye-catching drills. Spectators thoroughly enjoyed the breath-taking manoeuvres of these aircraft and showed appreciation by clapping and chanting slogans.
After the thrilling performance of Saudi Hawks, the indigenously-built JF-17 Thunder aircraft entered the arena.
The show was rounded off with the Tri-Services free fall display in which the commandos from the Special Services Wings jumped from a C-130 aircraft flying at the height of 10,000 feet and safely landed at the designated places.
Another air show was held at Sea View Karachi in which Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah was the chief guest. F-16, P-3C Orion, Z-9, Alouette-III and Sea King helicopters presented the fly past at the venue.
Afterwards JF-17 Thunder and PAF aerobatics team Sherdil presented a mesmerizing aerial display.
Like the army and PAF, Pakistan Navy also celebrated Independence Day with traditional zeal.
An impressive Change of Guard ceremony was held at the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Naval Academy cadets, clad in ceremonial dresses, assumed ceremonial guard duties at the Mazar-e-Quaid with traditional spirit, customary enthusiasm and military manners to mark the Independence Day celebrations.
Commandant Pakistan Naval Academy, Commodore Adnan Ahmad was the chief guest on the occasion and reviewed the guard.
Numerous Independence Day ceremonies were also held by PN units at Ormara, Pasni, Gwadar, Jiwani, and Turbat and other coastal areas. These ceremonies and activities were attended by a large number of local notables, civil and military dignitaries.