The celebrations of the 73rd year of Independence on Friday began with traditional zeal and fervour across the country as change of guard ceremonies were held at Mazaar-i-Quaid and Mazaar-i-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 observe the Independence Day.
Messages were also shared by President Arif 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. Later, at a flag hoisting ceremony at the President House, Alvi noted that Pakistan had faced several challenges since its inception and was now at a "tipping point where improvements are being witnessed in various areas". He lauded Prime Minister Imran's government for working against corruption and for the development of the country.
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.
"We have battled against odds both at external as well as internal fronts," the prime minister said. "From the hostility of a neighbouring country, with its known hegemonic intentions, to the scourge of terrorism and from coping with natural calamities to fighting pandemics, our nation has always shown resilience and perseverance. Today, we reiterate our pledge to remain steadfast and embrace every challenge holding the torch of 'Unity, Faith and Discipline'."
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.
The prime minister said that the nation's "heart [is] profoundly grieved by the sufferings of our brethren in IIOJK who are facing military siege since past one year". He reaffirmed Pakistan's support for occupied Kashmir's residents' "struggle for their right to self-determination" and promised to raise the issue on every forum.
President Arif Alvi, in his message, said that the residents of occupied Kashmir have been suffering at the hands of the Indian forces for the past three decades. He further said that "gross human rights violations" by the Indian forces have intensified since the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party repealed the autonomy of the occupied territory last year. He assured occupied Kashmir's people that "Pakistan will continue to support them in their just struggle for their Right to Self-Determination as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolutions".