Pakistanis dance, gather and wave flags on 75th independence day

Former prime minister Imran Khan used the occasion to rally supporters

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Pakistan marked its 75th independence day with a weekend of celebrations to commemorate the end of British rule in 1947.

Celebrations began on Saturday evening, as thousands of people flocked on to the streets in the country's largest city Karachi, dancing, waving flags and beeping car horns.

The colourful sight provided respite from the country's continuing economic woes. Celebrations in Islamabad also saw national flags raised at government buildings.

Memorabilia commemorating the day is also being widely sold in the form of flags, badges, shirts, headgear and wrist bands, while buildings in the country were also illuminated for the occasion.

On August 14, 1947, power was transferred to the man now recognised as the country's founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Firework displays were scheduled to take place at the weekend near Jinnah's mausoleum.

A trader sells Pakistani national flags along a roadside in Lahore.  AFP

Former Karachi mayor Dr Farooq Sattar said the country needed “unity and young leadership”.

“The senior leadership should be united on a national agenda. And those aged less than 35 years of age should be brought forward,” he said.

Under the 1947 Mountbatten Plan, Pakistan was born out of the north-western and eastern parts of the British-ruled Indian subcontinent.

The division sparked tension and violence between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs as they migrated to different regions based on their faiths.

At the time of independence, Jinnah said: “We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another.”

In Lahore, thousands of supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf party took part in a rally on Saturday.

Mr Khan vowed that a “fight for real freedom will continue until we get rid of this imported government and elections are held. We will struggle together.”

He has pledged to hold anti-government rallies across the country. The former prime minister was ousted from power in April this year following a no-confidence vote. He has since alleged his political opponents unseated him as part of a US plot.

Updated: August 14, 2022, 1:02 PM
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