Many citizens look forward to the Pakistan Day Parade and so it was great that instead of being cancelled like in previous years, it was postponed. There is something about a parade which cannot be explained in so many words – it arouses different feelings in different people – for some it is a show of strength; for others it is part of the celebration and for most it is part of feeling pride in our armed forces. An upsurge of the feeling of patriotism occurs and can even be felt even if one is not physically present and watching the parade on television.
From the beginning of the ceremonial entrance of the president; the daring and thrilling fly past of the Chief of Air Staff, till the folding of the national flag by those who bring it in front of the dais and handle it with dexterity as they fold it into a neat bundle, it is a treat to watch. As the different contingents march past the dais it is heartening to see the disciplined and well groomed men of the various segments of the armed forces as they present arms and march in perfect unison; the motivating ‘march’ of the commandos; the female participants – just as smart and orderly as their male counterparts – and the army bands playing their uplifting music as they provide the beat to which the contingents march.
While the show of strength as far as military armaments may not be of everyone’s interest, the precision flying of small planes etc: is another feature which is thrilling to watch along with the parachute jumps that the soldiers manage to execute perfectly despite high velocity winds – this year the navy displaying remarkable paragliding skills as well. The floats presented the cultural aspects of the provinces in a colorful manner – this year there appeared to be renewed enthusiasm among those taking part.
This year the parade was somewhat different, entertaining. Some of the noticeable aspects included vocalizing the national anthem by everyone; a longer and more inspiring show of expertise by the Pakistani Air Force and Turkish pilots – a thrilling display of flight maneuvers. There was a tribute to the mountaineer Sadpara who lost his life recently. Flags of different countries whose representatives were present or participated, were folded and presented to President Arif Alvi after he had met a number of Pakistani icons who attended the parade – and the grand finale in which young singers sang a medley of national patriotic songs. All in all it was a grand show, so hopefully it will take place every year despite the naysayers who say it is a waste of money and should be done away with!
And in the end, all the hard work put in by the armed forces, especially the army and the hundreds of civilians who took part must be appreciated. The parade ground looked so beautiful with all the flowers and greenery in front of the seating area and areas not used for the parade, adding color and atmosphere to the occasion. Most of all accolades to those soldiers who spent nights in tents to keep watch even during the heavy rains that caused the parade to be postponed.