An impressive grand military parade was held in the capital Islamabad on Thursday as part of the Pakistan Day celebrations.

The annual military parade, usually the main event on March 23, was rescheduled for March 25 this year due to rain and inclement weather in Islamabad.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi, besides senior government and military officials, attended the event. But Prime Minister Imran Khan could not participate as he is currently in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

The parade was also attended by military dignitaries from the UK, Sri Lanka, and Bahrain.

The ceremony, which was broadcast live on the state-run Pakistan Television, started with a performance by Pakistan Air Force fighter jets led by Pakistan Air Chief Zaheer Ahmad Babar Sidhu.

The skies of Islamabad were filled with rainbow colors coming from roaring jets dazzling.

This year, a very limited number of people were allowed to attend the event due to the pandemic.

The event commemorates the adoption of an independence resolution – commonly known as Pakistan Resolution – in the northeastern Lahore city in 1940, which demanded for the first time an independent state comprising Muslim-majority states in then-United India under the British colonial rule.

The passing of the landmark resolution subsequently led to the creation of Pakistan on Aug. 14, 1947, marking the end of almost 90 years of British colonial rule.

Soloturk and Turkish band performances

The special appearance of Soloturk, the famed Turkish Air Force aerobatic team, alongside Pakistani Air Force aircraft made the mega-event even more special.

A Soloturk pilot did a demo flight of spectacular maneuvers to demonstrate Turkey and Pakistan’s deep fellowship.

When Soloturk pilot Serdar Dogan’s jet landed near the parade ground, the Turkish military band surprised the crowd by playing a Pakistani national song, “Dil Dil Pakistan-Jan Jan Pakistan.”

The band also won the hearts of millions of Pakistanis watching TV when it played “Jeeway Jeeway” (Long Live) Pakistan tune during the parade. Emotional crowds gave a standing ovation to the Turkish band wearing the traditional Ottoman-style attire.

Turkish F-16 demo and stunt team Soloturk was founded in 2011 in honor of the Turkish Air Forces’ centennial anniversary.

At the 2011 Royal International Air Tattoo in Britain, Soloturk was awarded the King Hussein’s Sword for the best overall flying demonstration among 29 air demonstrations and was also selected the best solo display team in the 2013 Air Show Season in England.

‘Pakistan capable of defending territorial integrity’

In his speech, the president said the country is fully capable of defending its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

“Pakistan is a strong nuclear power, achieved self-reliance in the defense sector, and now making progress in the socio-economic sectors,” Alvi said.

Expressing his deep concern over the situation in the Indian-administered Kashmir, Alvi said: “Kashmir became a human tragedy as Indian forces are committing human rights violations and killing innocent people in the occupied valley.”

“The whole Pakistan nation is with the Kashmiri people and will continue to stand by them,” he vowed.

Speaking on growing Islamophobia in the western world, the president said his country has good relations with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states and called on the Muslim world to join hands, strengthening the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and raise voice against the growing Islamophobia.

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