Islamabad (Staff Report/Web Desk/Agencies): The nation is celebrating 76th Independence Day with a renewed pledge to work with the spirit of Pakistan Movement and make the country a true Islamic welfare state.
The day dawned with 31-gun salute at the federal capital and 21-gun salute at the provincial headquarters.
Special prayers were offered in mosques for peace, solidarity and prosperity of the country.
A one minute silence was observed throughout the country with sounding of sirens to herald the flag hoisting ceremony at nine in the morning.
The change of guard ceremonies were held at Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi and Mazar-e-Iqbal in Lahore.
The main flag hoisting ceremony was also held at Convention Center in Islamabad where President Dr Arif Alvi was the chief guest while Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf were also in attendance, the Radio Pakistan reported.
Similar flag hoisting ceremonies were also held at provincial, divisional and district headquarters level throughout the country.
Addressing the ceremony in the federal capital, President Alvi urged the political leadership and the nation to get united to take the country in the direction of progress and development.
"This is demand of time that Quaid Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah's message of Unity, Faith and Discipline is truly followed," he asserted.
The president stressed that it is unity that makes a nation.
He said the time has not yet passed and the path is open for Pakistan. He was confident that Pakistan can become a developed country in a matter of few years.
President Alvi urged the politicians and other stakeholders to embrace the path of forgiveness, drawing inspiration from the life and teachings of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
The president stressed the importance of embracing the core values of Islam, stating that veering away from these principles would exacerbate the situation.
He highlighted the necessity of breaking free from nepotism, promoting meritocracy, and ensuring comprehensive justice, particularly in the socio-economic sphere, in order to progress.
Arif Alvi said promoting education is of paramount importance to alleviate poverty.
The president regretted that our 27 million children are out of school. He urged the affluent class to come forward and make arrangements for their education.
He further said that ensuring better health is also pivotal to address the issue of poverty.
The president laid great emphasis on greater participation of women in economic activities.
He said they constitute almost half of population and their involvement is important to achieve high growth rate.
President Alvi paid glowing tributes to the sacrifices that were made by the ancestors for the creation of Pakistan.
"Quaid-e-Azam was amongst the few leaders who changed the world's map and also created a nation," he said, adding that it is important to recall the sacrifices of our forefathers in order to given an impetus to the struggle aimed at strengthening Pakistan.
The president said our armed forces and people continue to render sacrifices even today.
"Around 100,000 people lost their lives in the war on terrorism", President Alvi said, reaffirming the commitment to continue the struggle against the menace.
Lamenting the Islamophobic incidents in the western countries, the president said Islam is a religion of peace and the Muslims love their holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the Holy Quran.
He said at a time when the humanity is in danger because of threats such as global warming, we should promote harmony instead of hatred.
Turning to the situation in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) , the President said that Pakistan will always stand by their Kashmiri brothers and sisters.
He urged the international community to pay attention to the resolution of this dispute in accordance with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Security Council Resolutions. He said Kashmir will become part of Pakistan.
The President also expressed his gratitude to the friendly countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, Iran and Turkiye for supporting Pakistan in difficult times.
Meanwhile, Radio Pakistan, Pakistan Television (PTV) and private TV channels are broadcasting special programmes in connection with Independence Day, highlighting the services of heroes of Pakistan Movement and paying tributes to their extra ordinary contributions for making Pakistan a reality.