Islamabad Celebrates Pakistan Day By Showcasing Nuclear-Capable, Conventional Arms

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Islamabad Celebrates Pakistan Day by Showcasing Nuclear-Capable, Conventional Arms

Islamabad celebrated on Saturday one of the country's biggest national holidays, Pakistan Day, with a two-hours-long military parade, involving nearly 4,000 people, both military and civilians, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

ISLAMABAD (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 23rd March, 2019) Islamabad celebrated on Saturday one of the country's biggest national holidays, Pakistan Day, with a two-hours-long military parade, involving nearly 4,000 people, both military and civilians, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

The holiday commemorates the adoption of the Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940, which called for the establishment of independent states for Muslim-majority northwestern and eastern parts of then UK-controlled India. On the very same day, 16 years later, Pakistan adopted its first constitution, becoming the world's first Islamic republic.

The parade began with a march involving troops from various branches of the Pakistani Armed Forces, as well as their comrades from Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia.

The Pakistani Armed Forces have not also missed the chance to show off their nuclear arsenal, with the short-range Nasr missile, Babur cruise missile, medium-range Ghauri ballistic missile, short-to-medium Shaheen-I and medium-range Shaheen-III missiles, each capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads, being wheeled out for the parade.

Other armaments showcased during the event included the Al-Khalid and Al-Zarrar tanks, F-16 and JF-17 aircraft, as well as various weapon systems.

The troops were followed by floats representing cultural heritage of the country's four provinces - Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh.

Then, for nearly an hour, hundreds of people, who gathered at the Shakarparian parade ground, could not take their eyes off the sky, enjoying the colorful performance by the Pakistani, Turkish and Chinese aerobatics squads. Paratroopers from Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Sri Lanka became yet another highlight of the event.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, who started his three-day visit to Pakistan on Thursday, became the parade's honorary guest, joined by Azerbaijani Defense Minister Col.

Gen. Zakir Hasanov and Bahrain's National Guard Commander Lt. Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa, as well as Oman's government officials.

Though the 2018 Pakistan Day parade was attended by an Indian delegation, this year's celebrations in Islamabad were overshadowed by the recent escalation of tensions with the neighbor.

Relations between the two countries have been tense because of the Kashmir territorial dispute, but soured in February when India carried out an airstrike against what it claimed to be a camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group in the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir, in retaliation for the deadly terrorist attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy on February 14.

Pakistan later said its forces downed two Indian jets above Kashmir in response and captured an Indian pilot. New Delhi, in turn, admitted to losing one jet and said that its MiG-21 Bison had shot down a Pakistani plane. The Indian pilot was later released by Islamabad as a "peace gesture."

With the situation still remaining rather tense, India not only skipped the parade this year, but also decided not to send any representatives to the Pakistan Day reception in New Delhi, organized by the Pakistani diplomatic mission. The Indian Foreign Ministry explained on Friday that the move was prompted by the fact that Islamabad invited Kashmiri separatists to attend the event as well.

In the run-up to Pakistan Day, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistani Armed Forces, even released a catchy patriotic song dubbed Pakistan Zindabad (Long live, Pakistan), which was performed on stage during the Saturday festivities. The music video, released two days prior to the parade, became viral with over 1,000,000 views, and not only featured Pakistani troops, tanks, artillery and aircraft, but also took on Pakistan's perspective of the events that took place over the past weeks.

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