LAHORE - The nation is celebrating 69th Independence Day with enthusiasm and the commitment to protect the country against any threat.

The day will dawn with 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salute in four provincial capitals of the country. After Fajr, special prayers will be offered for peace, prosperity‚ integrity and solidarity of the country, and for success in war on terror and the long drawn struggle of Kashmiris.

As it is a public holiday, the main event will be a flag hoisting ceremony at Jinnah Convention Center Islamabad‚ where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be the chief guest. Sirens will be played at 8.58 am and all moving traffic on road‚ rail and sea will come to a halt for one minute and play the national anthem.

Change of guard ceremony will be held at Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi and another at the mausoleum of Allama Muhammad Iqbal in Lahore.

Flag hoisting ceremony will be held at the provincial capitals and districts headquarters; in addition to all important buildings of the country.

On this special day, different events have been arranged to highlight the need for unity, discipline and faith, which the founding fathers wanted the nation to follow. These events include seminars, conferences, lecturers, declamation contest, quiz programme, photo exhibitions, sport competitions in national and the local languages.

All major public and private buildings, roads and avenues have been decorated with national flags, buntings and hoardings. Newspapers will publish special editions and supplements while TV channels and Radio Pakistan will broadcast corresponding programme with the day.

In Lahore, all main arteries including Shahrey Quaid-e-Azam, Ferozepur Road, Defence, Canal Road and others have been tastefully decorated. All main buildings at Shahra Quaid-e-Azam including Governor’s House, Chief Minister Secretariat, Civil Secretariat, Punjab Assembly Staff College, GPO, Punjab University, Wapda House and others have been elaborately illuminated.

Cake cutting ceremonies have also been arranged by different organisations. Hall Road traders association, political parties and civil society associations have set up camps where the national anthem and national songs begun to play in the evening on Thursday while a huge number of citizens came out to enjoy the scene.