ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Dr. Arif Alvi thanked the military leaders of Saudi Arabia and other friendly countries for joining a Pakistan Day parade on Thursday despite challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, saying their presence at the event was proof that they always stood by Pakistan.
The Pakistan Day military parade is observed each year on March 23, but was postponed by two days this year due to bad weather. The event is at the center of celebrations to commemorate a 1940 resolution that called for the establishment of an independent homeland for the Muslims of British-ruled India.
The commander of the Royal Saudi Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Mutair; commander of National Guard of Bahrain. Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin lsa Al-Khalifa; Sri Lankan Army commander Gen. L.H.S.C. Silva; and UK Strategic Command commander Sir Patrick Sanders were among military leaders at the parade and air show.
Paratroopers from Bahrain, Palestine, Iraq and Turkey took part in the show.
“Grateful to the military forces of friendly countries, pilots and other participants whose presence here proves that they always remained and are with us in strengthening, development and prosperity of Pakistan,” Alvi said during his address at the parade in Islamabad.
“We have very strong friendly, religious, cultural and historic relations with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other Gulf states, and we want to further enhance them.”
Alvi added: “There is a need to forget internal differences and strengthen inter-Muslim unity and Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in order to counter the growing wave of Islamophobia in the world today.”
The Pakistani prime minister’s special adviser on religious harmony and the Middle East, Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, said Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries “have strengthened and at the moment they are at their best,” adding that the participation of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in the parade showed that the relationship was “multidimensional.”
He said: “Our ties with Arab world have strengthened not only religiously but also socially, economically, diplomatically and defensively.”
Pakistan Day celebrations this year were also dampened by a growing third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this week, the Pakistan army said its parade had been postponed due to “inclement weather and rain” and now will be held on Thursday instead of Tuesday.