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Safar 11, 1440

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August 14

Pakistan Standard Time 10:02 am


Pakistan's day of rejoicing

Guardian Newspapers - March 23, 1956

Pakistan today celebrated the inauguration of the republic with pomp and ceremony in Karachi and fireworks and illuminations in every town and village. Flags and leaflets were showered down from aircraft in many areas, food and clothing were distributed to the poor, and thousands of prisoners were released.

The new president, major-general Iskander Mirza, pledged in a broadcast that the republic would be "friend of all and enemy of none." He set out the country's ideals as peace and democracy, fair play towards minorities, freedom from fear and want, but also promised: "The territorial integrity of Pakistan will always remain an invincible article of faith for us."

Five hundred guests watched the ceremony at which he was sworn in as president and Mr Mohammed Ali as prime minister. The gathering of leading Pakistanis and distinguished visitors assembled at dawn under canopies on the lawns of the president's house. President Mirza and his wife sat on gilt chairs flanked by bodyguards in gold and blue turbans. After a recitation from the Koran, the republic was proclaimed and the oath to defend the constitution was administered by chief justice Monahham Munit.

Parade of Armed Forces

The president afterwards took the salute of Pakistan's defence forces at a big ceremonial parade on the polo ground, to which he had driven in a black and gold open coach. Mr Allan Noble, under-secretary for Commonwealth relations, was the chief British guest at the ceremonies, which were also attended by Mr Mikoyan, Soviet deputy premier.

At a public meeting later in Jehangir Park, where the representatives of many countries to a crowd of 100,000, Mr Mikoyan said that there were a great many possibilities for co-operation between his country and Pakistan, which were still "far from being utilised." He added : "The Soviet peoples regard with deep interest and sympathy the aspiration of the people of Pakistan to strengthen their independence."

There was a mild disturbance at the meeting when a section of the crowd refused to hear Mr Chand Khanna, the Indian representative. Mr Ali, who was presiding, immediately went to the microphone and reprimanded the people for their behaviour reminding them that they were insulting a guest. Mr Khanna was then given a quieter reception.

About 5,000 prisoners were released from West Pakistan prisons this morning. At Dacca, capital of East Pakistan, there was a 31-gun salute, a ceremonial parade, and special prayers in mosques.

DISCLAIMER: The public material presented here is taken from various sources as it becomes available. It is presented without any bias to, or interpretation of, the contents whatsoever. We would be grateful for any help anyone can provide in obtaining other such public material of national importance to Pakistan in order to aid intellectual discourse and debate.

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