ISLAMABAD The nation Tuesday celebrated Pakistan Day (23 March) with traditional fervour and zeal and a renewed pledge to make country a progressive, strong, flourishing and prosperous Islamic welfare state. The day was started with the booming of a 19-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salute in provincial capitals besides special prayers were offered for the progress, stability and strength of country. In connection with the Pakistan day, national flag was hoisted on principal public and private buildings throughout the country and all Pakistan missions abroad. It was a general public holiday, as people from different walk of life participated in different programmes to mark the occasion befittingly. Marking the importance of day, seminars, functions, speeches were organised all over the country to pay homage to the Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and great poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Speakers highlighted the sacrifices rendered by the people for the creation of a separate homeland for Muslims. President Asif Ali Zardari conferred awards on outstanding civil and military personalities in recognition of their meritorious services at an investiture ceremony. The contingent of Pak Air Force taken charge from Sutlaj rangers and assumed responsibility of guards at mausoleum of Iqbal. Air Vice Chief Marshal of Pak Air Force Suhail Iman laid floral wreath at Iqbal mausoleum on the behalf of Chief of Air Staff and offered Fateha. The contingent of Pak Air Force presented guard of honour to Chief Marshal while a smartly turned troop of Pak Air Force played national anthem. Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah and Governor Sindh Dr Ishrat-ul-Abad visited at Quaids mausoleum, laid floral wreath and offered Fataha. Countrys newspapers also brought out supplements to underscore the significance of the day and the ideals of Quaid-i-Azam, under whose leadership Muslims passed Pakistan Resolution in Lahore on March 23, 1940, a momentous milestone in the history of Pakistan movement. The Public and private radio and TV channels also aired special programmes. Thanks giving prayers were offered in all places of worship. Boy scouts, girl guides and students held rallies while cinema houses exhibited relevant documentary films to school children and the public at large. In addition, special exhibitions of photographs, documents etc relating to the Pakistan Movement were hold. Qirat contest, debates, essay competitions were also held and the winners were awarded prizes. Governors and Chief Ministers hosted receptions at the provincial capitals. On this day in 1940, the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent had pledged to create an independent homeland, where they could live in accordance with their religious and cultural values. From March 22 to 24, 1940, the All India Muslim League held its annual session at Minto Park, Lahore, which turned historical. The nation celebrated Pakistan Day with traditional fervour and zeal to rejoice the emergence of Pakistan that marked the emancipation of an independent Muslim state in the subcontinent from the British-Hindu domination on August 14, 1947. Over six decades ago, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah had led the independence movement that culminated in the establishment of separate homeland for the Muslims despite resistance by the British rulers and the Hindu Congress. Allama Iqbals dream was thus redeemed as the Quaid responded to his vision with resolve, commitment, sincerity and devotion. He virtually fought single handedly to carve out Pakistan. It is an auspicious occasion for the Pakistani nation that calls for evaluation of our failings and achievements to seek guidance for the future. Pakistan has endured many ups and downs in the course of its history over the past six decades. Pakistan is a country of over 170 million people determined to safeguard their freedom, integrity and sovereignty, who shall never give in to the forces of evil. Pakistan is bound to triumph over its predicaments. No one should have any doubt or misperception on this count.