Islamabad:President Mamnoon Hussain on Wednesday called Kashmir the “jugular vein of Pakistan” even as he sought a peaceful resolution of the long-standing dispute with India over it. “We are a peace loving nation and want peaceful relations with other nations, especially our neighbours,” Hussain said in his address at the Pakistan Day parade ceremony where the country’s armed forced showcased their military might. He said Kashmir is the “jugular vein of Pakistan” but his country would continue efforts for the peaceful resolution of the long-standing dispute.
Hussain reiterated support for Kashmiri people, saying, “Pakistan will continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people in their right to self-determination.” Last year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing a joint session of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s assembly in Muzaffarabad, had described Kashmir as his country’s “jugular vein”.
In 2014, army chief General Raheel Sharif had also termed Kashmir as the “jugular vein” of Pakistan and said the issue should be resolved in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiris. Hussain said Pakistan’s desire for “peaceful ties should not be misconstrued as our weakness”. He said Pakistan was not part of arms race with any country and its weapons were for the purpose of self-defence.
Amid tight security, a parade by armed forces, showcasing of latest weapons and a cultural show marked the Pakistan Day celebrations here. The last parade was held on March 23, 2008, reviewed by General Pervez Musharraf as a civilian president, but was discontinued owing to security concerns. The Pakistan Day is observed to commemorate a resolution passed by a gathering of Muslims in Lahore in 1940, urging a separate country for Muslims.
The day dawned with a 31-gun salute at the federal capital and 21-gun salutes at the provincial capitals. The ceremony of the Pakistan Day parade kicked off with a fly past of Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy planes led by Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman. The formations of F-16, JF-17 thunder, Mirage, F-7PG AWACs, P-3C Orion presented salute to the chief guest by flying over the dais. Different regiments of Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force, Rangers, Police, SSG and girl guides marched past the dais presenting salute to the President.
Prime Minister Sharif, President Hussain, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah, and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif witnessed the parade.