The military parade in connection with Pakistan Day celebrations, previously postponed due to inclement weather, was held in Islamabad on Thursday at Parade Ground near Shakarparian hills.
President Arif Alvi attended the parade as the Chief Guest, while Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Nadeem Raza, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Babar Sidhu and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi were also present.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was unable to attend as he is currently in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19, local media reported.
The ceremony kicked off with the fly past of the Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy fighter jets, led by Air Chief Zaheer Ahmad Babar Sidhu, which saluted the President.
F-16, JF-17, Mirage, AWACs, P-3C Orion and ATR aircraft formation participated The parade also showcased the local cultures of the four provinces as floats from Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir were featured during the ceremony.
Contingents of the Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force, Special Services Groups, Frontier Corps, Rangers, Islamabad Police, Frontier Constabulary, Airport Security Force and Boys Scouts, marched past the dais while saluting the Chief Guest, Radio Pakistan reported.
JF-17 and Sherdils performed acrobatic man oeuvres, painting the sky a myriad of colors as an enthralled audience cheered them on.
As a mark of the strong bond between Pakistan and Turkey, a Turkish fighter jet also presented a range of dazzling man oeuvres, the report added. A Turkish military band also surprised the audience by playing national songs.
In his speech, President Alvi said Pakistan was equipped to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty, categorically stating that any misadventure will receive a befitting response, Radio Pakistan reported.
He stressed that peaceful coexistence was the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy, adding that the current situation required the South Asian leadership to reject the politics of hate, prejudice and religious extremism.
President Alvi also paid tribute to the country’s armed forces, stating that the entire country stood shoulder to shoulder with them in the face of foreign aggression and on national issues.
He further commented on the situation in occupied Kashmir. “The entire nation stands by their Kashmiri brothers and sisters in this hour of trial.” He also urged the international community to take notice of the grim situation in the occupied valley.
The National Guard President lauded strong relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and Pakistan, stressing Pakistan’s role in boosting regional security and stability. He also praised the advanced level of bilateral military cooperation which reflects the long-standing partnership between the two brotherly countries.
The Commander of the Royal Saudi Land Forces, Lt. General Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Mutair; Commander of National Guard of Bahrain. General Sheikh Mohammed bin lsa Al-Khalifa; Sri Lankan Army Commander General L.H.S.C. Silva; and UK Strategic Command commander Sir Patrick Sanders were among military leaders at the parade and air show.
Bahrain’s National Guard President lauded strong relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and Pakistan, stressing Pakistan’s role in boosting regional security and stability. He also praised the advanced level of bilateral military cooperation which reflects the long-standing partnership between the two brotherly countries, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.
Paratroopers from Bahrain, Palestine, Iraq and Turkey took part in the show.
“We have very strong friendly, religious, cultural and historic relations with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other Gulf states, and we want to further enhance them,” Alvi said during his address at the parade in Islamabad.