LAHORE: The country’s 70th Independence Day was celebrated in the city with great fervor.
Major public buildings, commercial plazas, and main roads were decorated with colourful lights, national flags, buntings and banners.
The day started with special prayers in mosques for peace and prosperity in the country.
A change-of-guards ceremony was held at Allama Iqbal’s mausoleum where DCO Capt (r) Muhammad Usman was the chief guest. Brig Muhammad Babar offered fateha and laid a floral wreath at the mausoleum on behalf of the Lahore Corps Commander Lt Gen Muhammad Sadiq Ali. Later, Lahore Garrison Officer Commanding Maj Gen Tariq Aman visited the mausoleum where he monitored a parade, offered fateha and laid a floral wreath. He also signed the Visitor’s Book, paying tribute to the national poet. The ceremony was attended by a large number of citizens.
The Bab-i-Azadi memorial at Wagha Border was decorated with buntings and national flags. To ensure foolproof security, visitors were allowed entry only on passes issued by the Punjab Rangers.
Flag hoisting ceremonies were arranged across the city by union council chairmen and vice chairman elected in the local election held last year. Citizens came out in droves to attend these ceremonies.
Public parks, Lahore Zoo and other recreational places attracted sizeable crowds. The largest ever national flag (measuring 50 feet in length and 30 feet in width) was hoisted on a 192-feet tall post at the Fortress Stadium attracted a lot of attention.
In the evening, major roads were packed with cars and motorbikes decorated in colours of the national flag. Traffic moved slowly on The Mall, Ferozepur Road, Jail Road, Canal Road and Gulberg’s Main Boulevard. Pickets were set up at these roads by the city police and traffic police to check violations of road safety standards.
Flag hoisting and lowering ceremonies was also arranged by the Punjab Rangers. A large number of people, including school delegations and families of Rangers’ officials, attended the ceremony. Punjab Rangers Director General Umar Farooq participated as the chief guest. The ceremony featured performances of the national anthem and patriotic songs.
All units and formations of Lahore Garrison participated in a day-long programme to mark Independence Day. A statement issued by the ISPR said prayers were offered for prosperity of Pakistan at mosques. The day dawned with a 21-gun salute near Lahore Cantonment.
A flag-hoisting ceremony was organised at all formation headquarters and units of the garrison. Order of the day from Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif was read out to the troops.
A change of guards ceremony was held at Mazar-i-Iqbal where a contingent of Pakistan Army took over the guard duties from Pakistan Rangers. Later, Major General Sardar Tariq Aman laid a floral wreath at Mazar-i-Iqbal to pay homage to the national poet.
National Highways and Motorway Police
National Highways and Motorways Police set up Independence Day stalls at toll plazas between Lahore and Rahim Yar Khan. They distributed flags, flowers and sweets among commuters. A mobile education unit also distributed road safety pamphlets. A flag-hoisting ceremony was organised at the NH&MP Headquarters by DIG Mirza Farhan Baig.
The Punjab Emergency Service (Rescue 1122) marked the Independence Day with flag-hoisting ceremonies at all its stations in various districts followed by seminars and prayers.
Flag-hoisting ceremonies were also organised at several public hospitals. At Mayo Hospital, Medical Superintendent Amjad Shehzad hoisted the national flag. Patients Welfare Society distributed gifts among patients.
MS Samina Naseer hoisted the national flag at Lady Aitchison Hospital. She also distributed gifts of clothes among junior staff.
Dozens of doctors and nurses participated in the flag-hoisting ceremony at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology.