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Pakistani students marking the country's 72nd Independence Day on August 14, 2018. Pakistani students marking the country's 72nd Independence Day on August 14, 2018.   (AFP or licensors)

Pakistan celebrates 72nd Independence Day

August 14 marks the day when Pakistan gained independence when British left India and split the subcontinent in 1947. India marks its Independence Day the following day, August 15.

People across Pakistan celebrated their 72nd Independence Day on Tuesday, with traditional zeal and fervour.   At the stroke of midnight fireworks erupted over the capital, Islamabad to usher the festivities across the country.   

Pakistan’s Independence Day began with a 31-gun salute in the capital Islambbad, followed by 21-gun salutes in all four provincial capitals.

President hoping on new generation

President Mamnoon Hussain hoisted the national flag at a ceremony on Tuesday while Pakistanis across the country raised the banner at public buildings, their homes and on their cars.  Festive rallies and school functions also took place. 

Hussain and caretaker prime minister Nasir-ul-Mulk addressed the people and asked them to take the country forward. "The dream of taking the country to the zenith would not come true unless we singularly concentrate on our national goals and objectives," Geo News reported Mamnoon as saying. The president expressed his elation over the country's new generation, which he said, was brimming with patriotism and passion for progress and development.

Pakistan Rangers officials at the Wagah border crossing exchanged sweets with Indian Border Security Force personnel.

Imran Khan optimistic

This year, the Pakistan’s Independence Day came amid political change with a new government in waiting following the July 25 general elections. Imran Khan, a former cricket star turned politician who is slated to be the next prime minister, said he was filled with great optimism.

“Despite our grave economic crises, due to corruption and cronyism, I know if we are united in our resolve, we will rise to the challenge and Pakistan will become the great nation,” as envisaged by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the father of the Pakistani nation, Khan wrote in a tweet. 

First parliament assembly after elections

On Monday, the eve of Pakistan’s Independence Day, the country’s newly elected parliament met for the first time since the July 25 general elections that saw Khan’s Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party winning 115 seats.  However Khan needs 172 lawmaker votes to be become prime minister.

The new lawmakers were sworn in at a brief ceremony in the 342-seat National Assembly, the decision-making lower house of parliament.

Khan's promises

The 65-year-old Khan had campaigned on the promise of a "New Pakistan" with justice for all, pledging to wipe out corruption and help the poor.  He has said he would run the country like it has never been run before, though some of his popular and influential backers, who joined his party weeks before the elections, have questionable pasts and some of them even face charges.

He has also promised to create 10 million jobs in Pakistan, where employment rate is high and more than 65 percent of the country's 200 million people are under the age of 35.

The parliament is to elect a speaker and his deputy on Wednesday and vote on the prime minister the following day.  The swearing-in ceremony for the prime minister is scheduled for Saturday.

14 August 2018, 15:58