Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan stand during the national anthem at a ceremony in Islamabad, Pakistan on Saturday. Reuters
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan celebrated its national day on Saturday with a military parade showcasing its missiles, tanks and aircraft, even as the prime minister and his Indian counterpart exchanged goodwill messages in a sign of easing tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered “best wishes” to his counterpart Imran Khan ahead of Saturday’s celebrations. Khan welcomed the statement late on Friday and called for a comprehensive dialogue on all issues, including the disputed Kashmir region.
Tensions between India and Pakistan flared last month after a suicide attack killed 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir. The Indian air force launched an airstrike inside Pakistan, saying it was targeting militants it blamed for the bombing.
Pakistan retaliated and said it shot down two Indian air force planes. One pilot was captured and later released. India says it lost only one plane.
Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi marked the national day by saying the region needs peace, not war, and that Pakistan wants to live peacefully with its neighbours. He said Pakistan’s war is against hunger, poverty and unemployment.
“Our desire for peace shouldn’t be construed as our weakness. Let’s end the hatred and sow the seeds of peace in this region for prosperity of the people,” Alvi said.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was the chief guest of the parade, in which troops marched through the streets of Islamabad and warplanes staged acrobatic flyovers. Authorities suspended mobile phone services and blocked roads as part of security precautions.
Alvi was to honor selected Pakistanis and foreigners with civilian awards later in the day. Naeem Rashid, who was killed while trying to stop the gunman who attacked two New Zealand mosques earlier this month, will be honored posthumously.
The Pakistani High Commission, as a goodwill gesture, issued a three-month visa to a 92-year-old Indian woman, Reena Chhibar, who reached Pakistan on Saturday to see her ancestral home, media reports said.
Crossing into Pakistan by road last week after decades of attempts to get a visa, she felt a wave of emotion.
Sikh labourer Sika was just six months old when he and his elder brother Sadiq Khan were torn apart as Britain split the subcontinent at the end of colonial rule.
Some 104,000 people, including technical and security staff, have access this year to the "blue zone" dedicated to the actual climate negotiations and the pavilions of the states and organisations present.
This came during the COP28 Conference of the Parties, which was hosted by the UAE in Expo City Dubai, and its activities began on Thursday and will continue until December 12.
"India is committed to UN Framework for Climate Change and that is why I propose from this stage that COP33 Summit in 2028 be hosted in India," Modi said during his speech at the COP28 summit in Dubai.