Islamabad: Pakistan president Mamnoon Hussain in his Independence Day speech echoed the issue of alleged rigging in the recently held elections, saying the election commission should address the complaints of major political parties to make the poll process "fully transparent".
Addressing an official function held at Jinnah Convention Centre to commemorate the country's 72nd Independence Day, Hussain said it is crucial for the country to make state institutions powerful and independent.
Various political parties alleged that elections won by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) of Imran Khan were not fair and demanded probe. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif on Monday alleged that "historical rigging" took place during the 25 July elections.
The PML-N came second in Pakistan's National Assembly with 82 seats compared to Khan's PTI which emerged as the single largest party with 158 seats in the 342-member lower house.
Hussain said the elections and celebration of Pakistan's Independence Day were held in close proximity which is a reminder that the way this country had come into being with the people's will, in the same manner, the decisions regarding its fate will be made through the vote." He said the polls were organised under new laws enacted by the previous government to make the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) powerful and independent.
He also said there is a complete unity in the nation to make process of elections fully transparent and the previous elected representative made laws to empower the ECP. But if some groups express disquiet over the issue of elections despite the efforts to make them transparent, then it is the responsibility of the ECP to pacify them and take such steps that makes voters confident that decisions about matters of state would be accepted and implemented, he said.
PTI chairman Khan, nominated by the largest party in the National Assembly to be the country's next prime minister, is expected to take oath on 18 August. Raising the Kashmir issue, the president said, Pakistan will continue to provide its political and moral support to resolve the Kashmir issue under United Nations resolutions. He called upon the international community to raise its voice to get the Kashmiri people their "due rights".
Pakistan celebrates 14 August as the Independence Day which marks the transfer of power by last British viceroy to the new government of Pakistan in Karachi. Though, the first day of independence was 15 August. The day-long festivities began with special prayers in mosques and the hoisting of the national flag at all important public buildings in the country, which have been decorated with bunting and lights.
To mark the day, a 31-gun salute was held in the capital, followed by 21-gun salutes in all four provincial capitals, the Dawn reported. Earlier, sirens were sounded and the moving traffic came to a halt as mark of national solidarity. The main ceremony was held at Jinnah Convention Centre, where Hussain hoisted the national flag.
The ceremony was also attended by caretaker prime minister Nasirul Mulk, the three chiefs of the armed forces and other notable personalities and foreign dignitaries. Flag hoisting ceremonies were held in the provincial capitals as well as district headquarters.
Change-of-guard ceremonies were also held at the mausoleums of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal in Karachi and Lahore, respectively. Pakistan Rangers officials at the Wagah border crossing exchanged sweets with Indian Border Security Force personnel.
In his message, the prime minister said the occasion "reminds us of the epic democratic struggle of our forefathers for securing a separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent where they could fashion their lives according to their religious, cultural and social values."
Updated Date: Aug 14, 2018 15:05 PM