Islamabad, Mar 23 (PTI) Pakistan Day was celebrated on Tuesday throughout the country with traditional fervour, despite postponement of the armed forces parade and the nation battling the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pakistan Day commemorates the passing of the Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940, when the All-India Muslim League demanded a separate nation for the Muslims of the British Indian Empire.
The day started with special prayers and hosting of the national flag atop all major government buildings. The army's media wing -- Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) -- released a special song in connection with the day.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in a tweet said Pakistan failed to achieve “great potential” because it lost the vision given by the founding father but now the country 'is back on track to realise that ideal by bringing the powerful under rule of law and setting up a welfare state”.
An investiture ceremony, called Aiwan-i-Sadar, was held at the President House, where President Arif Alvi conferred awards and medals on personalities for their contributions in different fields.
Alvi in his message reaffirmed the resolve to make Pakistan an economically stronger and prosperous country.
However, the main feature of the Day -- the annual parade of the joint forces -- was missing as it was postponed to March 25 due to 'inclement weather and rain'.
Meanwhile, citizens celebrated the occasion while adhering to the guidelines related to the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far killed 13,935 people in the country.
Various world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden, sent goodwill messages to the leadership of the country on the occasion.
In a letter to his Pakistani counterpart, Modi said, 'On the occasion of the National Day of Pakistan, I extend greetings to the people of Pakistan.” The letter was delivered to the Foreign Office by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
“As a neighbouring country, India desires cordial relations with the people of Pakistan. For this, an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility, is imperative,” he wrote.
Modi also extended good wishes to Pakistan in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
'At this difficult time for humanity, I would like to convey my best wishes to you and the people of Pakistan for dealing with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic,' he wrote.
The Express Tribune reported that Indian President Ram Nath Kovind also wrote a letter to his Pakistani counterpart Alvi, extending his greetings on the occasion.
The tone for the day was set by Pakistan's acting high commissioner to New Delhi who said Islamabad wants friendly relations with all its neighbours, including India, in yet another sign of thawing of relationship, the report said.
'For the larger interest of the region, peace within South Asia is inevitable,' said Pakistani Charge d’ Affairs Aftab Hasan Khan said in New Delhi at an event to mark the Pakistan Day.
According to a statement issued by the Pakistani mission in New Delhi, Khan said Pakistan wants to have friendly relations with all countries, including India.
To achieve peace between Pakistan and India, both countries shall resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue, he said.
There have been indications of positive movement in ties between India and Pakistan.
Last month, the Indian and Pakistani armies recommitted themselves to the 2003 ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
On Monday, a delegation of Pakistani officials arrived in India for a two-day meeting of the permanent Indus commission, which started on Tuesday . It is the first such dialogue in over two-and-a-half years.
According to the Express Tribune report, the UAE was trying to mediate between the two countries. PTI SH SCY SCY