Islamabad: Pakistan armed forces marched at the Shakarparian ground where some of Pakistan’s latest military machines were on display to celebrate Pakistan Day (March 23) on Tuesday.
The advanced tanks, missiles and drones made its way through the ground as formations of jets and helicopters painted the Islamabad skies green and white, the colours of Pakistan’s flag.
The military parade is held annually on March 23 but was postponed due to bad weather.
President Arif Alvi attended the parade as the chief guest along with top government and military officials. Prime Minister Imran Khan could not attend the ceremony as he is in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus last week.
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Nadeem Raza, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Baber and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi attended the ceremony.
Commander of the Royal Saudi Land Forces Lt Gen Fahd bin Abdullah Al- Mutair attended the parade along with military dignitaries from Bahrain, Sri Lanka, UK and other countries.
In his speech, President Alvi said Pakistan was prepared to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty, categorically stating “In case of any misadventure, Pakistan is capable of thwarting it with full force.” From barren deserts to the high-altitude Siachen and the vast skies to the depth of oceans, our armed forces are acting as a strong defence line to deal with all challenges from terrorism to natural disasters, he said, paying tribute to the military. Pakistan desires peace, security and development in the region and extends a message of goodwill to regional countries for common prosperity. But its peaceful “intention must not be misconstrued as weakness.” President Alvi also paid tribute to frontline healthcare workers tirelessly battling the pandemic.
Stunning air show
Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy fighter jets and helicopters that flew over the parade ground included J-17 Thunder, F-16s, Karakorum Eagle 3, SAAB 2000, P-3C Orion, as well as Mi-35, Bell 142, Puma and AgustaWestland helicopters.
Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder fighter jet dazzled spectators with breathtaking aerial maneuvers and daring stunts while demonstrating the PAF’s capabilities. Sherdils, the aerobatics team of PAF, enthralled the guests with a high-adrenaline show of seamless formations, painting the sky with colours of celebration. One of the highlights of the air show was the marvellous spectacle by Solo Turk, aerobatic team from the Turkish Sir Force that received a huge round of cheers and applause from the crowds.
Some of Pakistan’s advanced military hardware, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, unmanned aircraft system (UAS), air defense systems, were exhibited at the military parade. The cavalry of tanks included the modern VT-4 main battle tank and the indigenously developed Al-Khalid tanks. The LY-80 and FM-90 air defence missile systems were also displayed along with Pakistan’s locally developed Air Command and Control System (ACCS). The short and long-range missiles including Raad (range of 350 km), Nasr (70 km), Babur (450 km), Ghaznavi (290 km) and Shaheen-III ballistic missile with a range of 2,750 kilometres were also showcased on the occasion.
For the first time, Pakistan also unveiled its latest indigenously developed armed drones at the parade that have played a key role in the counterinsurgency domain. The combat drone ‘Burraq’, displayed on the occasion was first inducted in 2013. It can fly at an altitude of 20,000ft and has a maximum endurance of 8 hours at a speed of 220 km per hour. Another medium-range ‘Shahpar’ UAV that has an endurance of 7 hours and speed of 200 km per hour, was also revealed. Other drones Huma, Uqab and Scout were also part of the formation.