The nation celebrated Pakistan Day on Saturday across the country with traditional zeal and fervor. Pakistan Day marks the passing of the Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940, when Muslims of the Subcontinent demanded the establishment of a separate homeland to safeguard their rights. A grand military parade at Parade Ground near Shakarparian in Islamabad was the highlight of the day.
The guest of honour at this year’s parade was Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad. Prime Minister Imran Khan, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Jawed Bajwa, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi attended the parade.
Air Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan led a fly-past as a salute to the chief guest. After which a formation of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets of Pakistan Air Force performed aerobatic skills, followed by formations of F-7PG and Mirage fighter aircraft. Contingents of Pakistan Army, Frontier Corps, Pakistan Rangers, Mujahid Battalion, Tri Services Lady Officers, Special Services Group (SSG) and others held a march-past. Troops from Azerbaijan, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain and Sri Lanka also took part in the parade. After the troops, contingents of armoured and mechanised infantry held a march-past.
A day earlier, the two sides signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for five big projects. Malaysia is interested in purchasing JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, halal meat and rice from Pakistan. The two sides have also agreed to open branches of their respective banks in each other’s countries. To revive tourism in the country, Pakistan would try to learn from Malaysia’s knowledge and experience in the industry. At the Round-table conference of Pakistan – Malaysia Business leaders both the premiers highlighted the need to further accelerate the economic and trade activities between both the countries. The conference also noted that Pakistan and Malaysia have strong business relationship since 1970 when Pakistan imported Palm Oil from Malaysia for the first time.
A the same time, China has extended generous hand towards Pakistani by depositing $2.1 billion into State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign currency reserves to help Islamabad in making international payments mainly on import and debt repayment counters. This development reflects Chinese friendly approach towards Pakistan to help out Pakistan in financial hard time. In the meanwhile, there are reports about Malaysian possible inclusion in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as Malaysian automobile manufacturer Proton in Karachi. According to experts, Proton will further expand car exports to China, Central Asian Republics and beyond through Pakistan.
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