ISLAMABAD, Mar 23 (APP): The Armed Forces of Pakistan on Wednesday demonstrated their military skills in a grand joint services parade held here to mark Pakistan Day, which gained more significance as it was witnessed by the foreign ministers participating in the 48th session of Council of Foreign Ministers of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The day dawned with a 31-Gun salute in the federal capital and a 21-Gun salute in the provincial capitals whereas the change of guards’ ceremony was also observed at the Mazar-e-Quaid or Quaid’s Mausoleum and Mazar-e-Iqbal in Karachi and Lahore respectively.
The parade commenced with the recitation of the verses of the Holy Quran’s Surah Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) underlining the commandments of Allah Almighty guiding the believers (Muslims) to stand firm while confronting the enemy and keep remembering the Almighty to gain triumph. It also underscored the importance of obeying Allah and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and to avoid any dispute among their ranks as it would weaken them. The Muslims should persevere as Allah is with those who do so.
President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, tri-services chiefs, and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak attended the national parade where the President’s arrival caught the public’s attention who was escorted in his chariot by the presidential guards mounted on mighty horses.
The spectators hailing from public circles welcomed the Prime Minister with a huge round of applause on his arrival at the Parade Venue. After the arrival of dignitaries the presidential salute was paid and followed by national anthem sang by the armed forces, and civilians with greater enthusiasm and unity that charged the atmosphere with national zeal and fervour.
The National Day Joint Services Parade commenced with blood warming tunes of the Military Bands after a special salute paid to the national flag and the President’s review of the Parade which was led by the parade commander Brigadier Arsalan Tariq Ali after requesting permission from the President.
After the Parade review, Pride of Pakistan distinguished personalities who were specially invited at the Parade were paid homage for their meritorious services to the nation including Dr Amjad Saqib who laid the foundation of first interest free microfinance Akhuwat Founation, Malik Adnan, who protected Sri Lankan citizen with courage during a terrorist attack, Parveen Bibi who was a female rickshaw driver and started free female driving training, Zarghoona Manzoor,
the first female SHO of Balochistan and widow of DSP Munawar Tareen who had embraced martyrdom in a terrorist attack, Dr Mimpal Singh who established ICU unit for infants, Maria Shamoon, first AC from minority community of Balochistan and Senator Krishna Kumari Kohli, the proud daughter of Tharparkar who chaired the Senate session on February 5,2022 that passed resolution on Kashmir, and Saima Saleem, the first blind female CSP officer.
The parade comprised of marching columns of Pakistan Army’s infantry regiments of Punjab, Baloch, Frontier Force, Sindh Regiment, Northern Light Infantry, Frontier Corps, the Flag bearing contingent, Punjab Rangers, Mujahid Regiment, Pakistan Coast Guards participating for the first time, Balochistan Levies, Pakistan Police contingent led by Sindh Police,
Light Commando Battalion of Azad Kashmir regiment, Special Services Group (SSG), Pakistan Navy, Air Force, Lady Officers Contingent comprising tri-services personnel, Pakistan Police and other paramilitary forces registered the representation of the country’s 52 percent population. Moreover, the contingents of Pakistan Boy Scouts and Girls Guide were also part of the march.
President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan rose from their seats to applaud the Lady Officers’ contingent marching during the parade.
The military contingents of the brotherly Muslims states of Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Uzbekistan participated at the National Day parade.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmed Babar Sidhu led the flypast formation flying the F-16 jet flanked by J10-C and JF-17 Thunder jets which was followed by the aerobatic maneouvers of JF-17 Thunder and F-16, flypast of J10-C jets, Mirage jets, C-130, P-3C Orion aircrafts.
The mechanised columns of king of the battle Armoured Corps Divisions, Signals and most modern radars, guns, and missiles added more to the grandeur of the National Day Parade which was followed by the flypast of helicopters of the Army Aviation, Air Force and Navy.
The Pakistan Air Force’s aerobatics display team Sherdil enthralled the parade spectators with their unmatched aerial maneuvers on nine Karakoram K-8P aircraft. The colorful smoke released by the Sherdil team’s aircraft created rainbows over the Parade Ground that depicted beautiful scenes in the sky.
The Paratroopers’ freefall participated by Pakistan Navy, Air Force, SSG and other led by General Officer Commanding (GOC) SSG Major General Adil Rehmani also bagged huge acclamation from the participants. The GOC SSG after culminating the freefall presented the national flag to President Dr Arif Alvi.
The cultural floats started marching with the OIC float, at the front, decorated with five columns depicting five pillars of Islam and the word Allah. It was also adorned with flags of all OIC member countries on the top of the driver’s cabin with a 3D OIC letter.
The floats’ march was followed by the cultural float of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh. The march ended with the Inter Services Public Relations musical medley singing the 23rd March special national song Shad Rahe Pakistan followed by the military musical bands.