Women take selfie during their visit to the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah to celebrate the Independence Day in Karachi on Wednesday. AFP
President Dr Arif Alvi said that Pakistan would continue to stand with Kashmiris as it has always done, as Pakistan observed the 73rd Independence Day as Kashmir Solidarity Day on Wednesday to express solidarity with Kashmiris and highlight their plight.
Children waves Pakistani national flags from a car as they take part in Independence Day celebrations in Islamabad. AFP
While addressing the grand flag hoisting ceremony at the convention centre in Islamabad, Alvi, who was the guest of honour, said that today the world was watching how the people of Pakistan were standing with their Kashmiri brothers.
"We will not leave them alone at any step," the president said adding: "Kashmiris are our [people]. We think of their pain as our pain. We have remained with them; we are with them today and will continue to do so."
Students wave Pakistani and Kashmiri flags at the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi. AP
Various political leaders including National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan were in attendance.
Mashaal Malik, wife of Kashmiri leader Mohammad Yasin Malik incarcerated by India, also addressed the event during which she shared a poem she wrote about the freedom struggle of people under Indian occupation in Kashmir.
A family takes part in Independence Day celebrations in Islamabad. AFP
Flag hoisting ceremonies were also held in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta.
The day dawned with the usual official functions and ceremonies — a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salutes in the provincial capitals, as well as a major event in Islamabad which top government functionaries and armed forces' officials attended.
People take part in Independence Day celebrations in Islamabad. AFP
A change of guards ceremony was held at the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi. A smartly turned out contingent of the cadets of the Pakistan Naval Academy assumed the guards' duties.
The provincial and district governments, as well as educational institutions and art councils, organised a series of events in connection with Independence Day. Federal and provincial governments illuminated important national buildings and monuments.
Children hold Pakistan-administered Kashmir flags as they take part on Independence Day celebrations in Islamabad. AFP
The government unveiled a special logo "Kashmir banega Pakistan (Kashmir will become part of Pakistan)" lettered in red to go along with the theme of Kashmir Solidarity Day.
In a post shared on Twitter, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal said: "We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Kashmiri brothers & sisters in their struggle to exercise their right to self-determination."
The nation observed the Independence Day with with zeal and enthusiasm to express full support to Kashmiris reeling from renewed Indian repression. Special programs are being aired to highlight the significance of independence and struggle of our forefathers for creating a separate homeland for Muslims in subcontinent.
The day's activities will also include visiting the families of martyrs as well as monuments built in their memory, according to a notification issued by Pakistan's interior ministry.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said the interior ministry had already started a crackdown on Indian movies in the federal capital and it would be expanded to other parts of the country soon in collaboration with the provincial governments.
The premier's message came as the curfew and communications blackout imposed by New Delhi in Kashmir entered its 12th day. Aug.15 is also India's Independence Day, which is being observed as a black day across Pakistan to protest the brutalities in Kashmir.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday termed Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's statement over a possible change in its "no first use" nuclear policy as a "damning reminder of India's unbridled thirst for violence."
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