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The New Arab

Pakistan marks 70 years of independence

The military has been the backbone of the Pakistani state [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 14 August, 2017

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Pakistan is celebrating the 70th anniversary of its founding, but it also spells a sad chapter in South Asian history when one million were killed in bloody communal violence.
Pakistan marked 70 years of independence on Monday, with crowds and government officials celebrating the country's birth and the end of British occupation.

President Mamnoon Hussain attended a flag hoisting ceremoney, with a 31 gun salute and fireworks lighting the skies.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang was chief guest for ceremony with Beijing being a key Islamabad ally throughout its history.

"Our friendship is higher than the mountains, deeper than the oceans, stronger than steel and sweeter than honey," Yang said.

Other displays of Pakistan's military might included air shows, marching bands and a changing of guard ceremony.

The Pakistani air force were joined by Turkish and Saudi aerobatics display teams.

A hue Pakistani flag was raised on a 400 foot-high pole at the Wagah border crossing with arch-regional rival India.

Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa vowed to "go after each and every terrorist in Pakistan".

"We have made a few mistakes in the past, but we are on the road to development under the guidance of our constitution," he added.

It comes as the Islamic State group attempted to disrupt independence celebrations with a bomb blast last week, targeted Pakistani troops.

Pakistan also faces political turmoil after the Supreme Court sacked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over allegations of corruption. 

Sharif is attempting to retain his influence through family members, as other parties attempt to profit from the vacuum.

Pakistan came into existence with the dismantling of the British Raj in 1947, which saw a split between Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India.

Communal violence left one million dead, with millions more uprooted in one of the biggest mass migrations in history.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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