Celebrations kicked off in Pakistan Wednesday with an annual military parade near the landmark Shakarparian hills in Islamabad. The parade showed off the country’s military might, as the government vowed to eliminate terrorism and support economic growth and political stability.
The date marks the landmark moment in 1940 when the Lahore Resolution was adopted, demanding the establishment of a separate homeland for subcontinent Muslims. It paved the way for Pakistan. The day is considered a national holiday, celebrated annually.
The largest celebration is held in the country’s capital Islamabad. It is often attended by high-level officials, including the president, prime minister and military chiefs. All major government and many private buildings hoist the Pakistani flag in a show of national pride. Special prayers are also offered for those who protect the country. Mosques often hold special prayers for unification and solidarity across the country.
The ceremony Wednesday began with the national anthem, followed by addresses from the country’s leaders. President Mamnoon Hussain praised the country’s army and said it was intent on fighting terror, adding that the country’s nuclear stockpile and weapons were purely for the country’s defense.
“We are a peaceful nation. Pakistan never has and never will participate in any arms race,” he said.
Pakistan Day was also expected to be celebrated for the first time in the United Nations with a concert in the General Assembly hall, Times of India reported. It was organized by the Pakistan mission to the U.N., and will feature a concert by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, a popular Pakistani singer.
The date is separate from Pakistan’s Independence Day, which celebrates Pakistan won its independence from the British in 1947. That date is often a larger, more widely-celebrated national holiday, which often features displays of patriotism and national unity. Many people dress up in green and white — the colors of the Pakistani flag — and visit national monuments.