Islamabad – Zia:
The military parade in connection with Pakistan Day celebrations, previously postponed due to “inclement weather”, was held in the capital 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.
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.
The formation of F-16s, J-17 Thunder,Mirage, Karakorum Eagle 3, SAAB 2000, AWACs, P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and ATRs fly-past the venue.
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.
JF-17 and Sherdils performed acrobatic manoeuvres, painting the sky a myriad of colours as an enthralled audience cheered them on.
The Pakistan Day military parade is observed each year on March 23, but was postponed by two days this year due to bad weather. The event is at the center of celebrations to commemorate a 1940 resolution that called for the establishment of an independent homeland for the Muslims of British-ruled India.
The commander of the Royal Saudi Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Mutair, commander of the National Guard of the Kingdom of Bahrain, General Sheikh Mohamed Bin lsa Al-Khalifa, commander of the Sri Lankan Army General LHSC Silva and commander UK Strategic Command Sir Patric Sanders were some of the top military leaders at the parade and air show.
Paratroopers from Bahrain, Palestine, Iraq and Turkey also participated.
A famed Turkish Air Force aerobatic team called SOLOTURK conducted a demo flight, while members of a Turkish general staff Mehter team, an Ottoman military band, gave a performance of traditional Turkish music. Turkish band paid tribute to Muslim hero Ertugrul Ghazi and the Turkish drama based on the life and times of the revolutionary leader.
Republic Day celebrations this year were also dampened by a growing third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this week, the Pakistan army said its parade had been postponed due to “inclement weather and rain” and would now be held on Thursday instead of Tuesday “as per program and timings already specified.”