Islamabad, Aug 14: A 31-gun salute in the capital and 21-gun salute in all the four provincial capitals early in the morning marked the begining of Pakistan's celebration of its 62nd Independence Day.
A change of the guard ceremony at the mausoleum of Mohammed Ali Jinnah took place in Karachi following which the Pakistan Naval Academy's contingent assumed charge of the guard on Friday, Aug 14.
All vehicular traffic stopped for two minutes across the country at eight o' clock in the morning to show respect to the national anthem.
Several cultural functions and rallies have been organized to mark the occasion.
The main ceremony was held in Islamabad where Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani unfurled the national flag at the premises of Parliament, The News reports.
Addressing the National Assembly on the occassion, Gilani said he looked forward to the day when he could hold Independence Day celebrations outside Parliament.
Gilani said it was a practice in the past that the Prime Minister along with the chairman Senate and Speaker National Assembly would attend Independence Day celebrations in front of Parliament House, but regretted that it was no more so due to security concerns.
Gilani stressed on the need for making national institutions strong, and particularly praised the judiciary for making itself independent after a long struggle.
He urged the members of the house to make their institution strong.
"It should be so strong that no dictator in future will dare cast an evil eye on the parliament," Gilani said.
Gilani said the parliamentarians should strive to change the system and not merely the prime ministers.
"You should change the destiny of this nation and change the system. The system will only change once the masses feel a positive change in their lives," he added.