Islamabad [Pakistan], Aug.14 : Pakistan began celebrating its landmark 70th Independence anniversary on Monday with commemorative ceremonies held in cities across the country.
The main ceremony is being held at Islamabad's Convention Centre, where President Mamnoon Hussain hoisted the Pakistani flag. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, who is the chief guest, and the three service chiefs are present at the ceremony.

According to the Dawn, flag hoisting ceremonies were held in the provincial capitals and district headquarters. A change of guard ceremonies were held at Mazar-i-Quaid in Karachi and the Mazar-i-Iqbal in Lahore.

Later in the day, the president, prime minister, Chinese vice premier, chairman Senate and speaker National Assembly will lay a floral wreath on the memorial of forgotten heroes of democracy inside the Parliament.

Addressing the ceremony at the packed Convention Centre, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang congratulated Pakistan on its 70th Indepence Day.

Yang said China and Pakistan have stood by each other in difficult times and "this friendship will stand the test of time and grow with coming generations".

"Our friendship is stronger than steel [and] sweeter than honey," he said, adding that China will work to strengthen strategic cooperation with Pakistan.

In his message, President Mamnoon Hussain urged the nation to reiterate the resolve to always uphold the values of determination and dedication for the objective of development of Pakistan.

"Let us join hands for development and prosperity of the motherland by keeping aside our differences. Let us promote love and harmony by overcoming hatred and misgivings and secure the future of our nation by turning despondency into hope in order to celebrate freedom in its true sense," he said.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in his message emphasised the need to strengthen the state institutions so that they can play their prescribed role within the limits of law and the constitution.

"We may belong to different tribes, fraternities and ethnicities; we may be working in different spheres of national life; our political vision and thinking can be different and our economic vision may have different perspectives but ascendancy of national interests and invincible defence are common objectives of the entire nation, for which we have to make collective endeavours," he said.

(Posted on 14 August 2017, 1675571382 3O236O47O240)