Alvi pleads for unity as Independence Day celebrations are in full swing
President, prime minister pay tributes to martyrs, highlight sacrifices by Kashmiris
The energy levels are hitting the top-notch, the vehicles’ fuel tanks are full, the singers are tuned up for patriotic songs as every soul in Pakistan has started to celebrate the 74th Independence Day on Friday.
The day dawn with the 21-gun salute, setting into motion the celebrations throughout the country with traditional zeal and fervour as the change-of-guard ceremonies were held at the mausoleums of Quaid-i-Azam and Allama Iqbal in Karachi and Lahore respectively.
Flag-hoisting ceremonies were held at public and private offices across the country and special programmes were scheduled to celebrate the Independence Day.
The main national flag-hoisting ceremony was held at Aiwan-e-Sadr where President Dr Arif Alvi was the chief guest.
Addressing the event, President Alvi counted the “successes” of the country in the battle against the novel coronavirus. “The world went in lockdown, but our prime minister decided that we can’t impose it because of the poor people in the country. We thought about the plight of the daily wagers and labourers and took this risky step. Later, the world appreciated our effort and lauded our decision to impose a smart lockdown.”
He said Pakistan was the only Muslim country to not close its mosques during the lockdown. “We decided that Muslims are quite disciplined and asked them to maintain social distancing in mosques on their own. It was risky, but it worked,” Alvi said and added Pakistan will continue to support the people of Kashmir in their struggle for self-autonomy.
The president specifically spoke about empowering women and giving them their inheritance rights. “There are many people who continue to deny women their rights. Women have to be given freedom not because the West says so but because Islam gives them this right,” he added.
Messages were also released by President Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan, who recalled the sacrifices of the forefathers and those who fought for and laid down their lives in defence of the country.
The president called upon the nation to "stand firm and work for progress and prosperity" of the country. He urged the people to stay united in order to meet the challenges that are being faced by Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran, whose message was posted in a series of tweets by the PM Office's Twitter account, said that the day was "an occasion to pause and to reflect as to how far we have been able to achieve those ideals that led to creation of an independent state".
He also paid tribute to "all those sons of the soil who laid their lives while defending and protecting territorial as well as ideological frontiers of the motherland" and pledged to "continue pursuing" the ideals of the nation's founder Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
The president and the prime minister also directed the nation's attention towards the "gross human rights violations" committed by the Indian forces in Indian occupied Kashmir.
Arif Alvi called upon the Pakistanis to stand firm and work for the progress and prosperity of country. “We need to stand united to meet the social, economic and security challenges being confronted by the nation,” the president said in his message.
Extending his heartiest felicitations to the countrymen, President Alvi said the day reminded of the immense sacrifices rendered by the forefathers under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
“The day is an occasion to reaffirm our resolve to live up to the ideals of our founding fathers and pay homage to the heroic struggle of all the workers of Pakistan Movement,” he said.
Dr Alvi said the current Independence Day was being celebrated in extraordinarily difficult times as the entire world was affected by the coronavirus pandemic that had adversely impacted all sectors of life, including economy, health and education.
He mentioned that the pandemic brought enormous challenges for Pakistan, however, appreciated the resilient nation that followed the government’s brilliant strategy of smart lockdown.
The president paid tribute to doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, who saved the lives of people by putting their own lives at risk during the pandemic.
He also admired the role of media, Ulema, the National Disaster Management Authority, the National Command Operation Centre, provincial governments and law enforcement agencies in creating awareness and help enforcing the standard operating procedures with regard to the COVID-19.
He acknowledged the success of the Ehsaas Programme that underlined the fact that the people get united when all segments of society are taken care of. “Our economy is improving in every regard, and I am sure that we have reached a tipping point,” he said.
The president recalled that the nation always demonstrated resilience during past challenges like the earthquake of October 2005 and heavy floods in 2010, and lauded them for always exhibiting extreme unity in helping out the victims of natural calamities.
While commemorating the Independence Day, the president asked the nation not to forget the brothers and sisters of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), who had been subjected to harsh brutalities of Indian security forces.
“India has been committing gross human rights violations for over three decades and has intensified its brutalization with extra-judicial killings of innocent people in fake encounters since the imposition of siegs on 5th August, 2019,” he said.
President Alvi said the Indian government was targeting all minorities and wanted to impose Hindutva ideology in the country. The oppressive measures would further enhance hatred and resentment against India, he added.
“I assure the resilient people of IIOJK that Pakistan would continue to support them in their just struggle for their right to self-determination as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions,” he said.