The national flag hoisting ceremony was held at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad Wednesday morning to mark Pakistan's 73rd Independence Day.
President Arif Alvi was the chief guest while Prime Minister Imran Khan is in Muzaffarabad to celebrate the day with Kashmiris.
While addressing the ceremony in Islamabad, President Alvi said that today the world was watching how the people of Pakistan were standing with their Kashmiri brothers.
“We will never leave our Kashmiri brothers alone whatever the circumstances," he said. "Kashmiri [people] are our [people] and we are [the] Kashmiris'. We think of their pain as our pain." He went on to say that Pakistan has remained with them and will continue to do so.
President Alvi said Pakistan does not accept Indian measures which violated Simla Agreement, referring to New Delhi's revocation of Kashmir's special status.
"Pakistan fully supports Kashmiris' right to self-determination," he said, adding that Pakistan has always supported Kashmiris and will continue to stand by them.
He said the presence of 900,000 troops has made Kashmir the highest militarized zone. “Blocking of communication and freedom of expression is a serious violation of human rights of Kashmiris,” said the president.
He urged India to stop its brutal treatment of Kashmiris, grant communication access to people and restore their civic and social liberties.
He said India has also been violating the ceasefire agreements by firing at civilian populations along the Line of Control. President Alvi added that Pakistan is a peace-loving country and wants to project the message of peace and love. “We want to resolve the issue of Kashmir through negotiations and dialogue. However, India should not misunderstand our policy of peace as weakness,” he warned.
He said Pakistan does not want war but will fully defend itself if war is imposed on it. The war will not be limited between the countries; rather its impact will be felt in the whole world, said President Alvi, urging India to be reasonable.
The president also demanded the human rights arm of the UN and OIC constitute an inquiry commission to investigate the human rights violations in Indian-Administered Kashmir.
The chiefs of armed forces, members of the federal cabinet, parliamentarians, foreign diplomats and a large number of people also attended the event.
The government has said that Independence Day will be celebrated as Kashmir Solidarity Day to express full support for the people of Kashmir. Protest rallies will be held across the country and seminars are being organized to highlight the plight of oppressed people in Indian-Administered Kashmir.
The government of Pakistan has revealed a special logo for Independence Day which reflects its theme of 'Kashmir Banega Pakistan'.
Flag hoisting ceremonies were also held in the provincial capitals.
A change of guard ceremony was held at Quaid-i-Azam's mausoleum in Karachi. Pakistan Naval Academy cadets assumed ceremonial guard duty at the mausoleum to mark the Independence Day celebrations. A floral wreath was laid by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah along with the naval staff chief as well as officers and personnel of the Pakistan Navy. Later, they offered Fateha and CM Shah wrote some remarks in the visitors' book.
A change of guard ceremony was also held at the mausoleum of Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal where the Pakistan Army assumed guard duties.