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ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi Saturday said Pakistan once again challenged India on establishing peace in the region, saying Islamabad offered peace to New Delhi but it seemed the neighbour was not ready to reciprocate.

The president said this while addressing the flag-hoisting ceremony at Aiwan-i-Sadr as Pakistan celebrated its 75th Independence Day with traditional zeal, patriotic zest and enthusiasm with special ceremonies held to highlight the struggle of our forefathers and national heroes for acquiring a separate independent homeland.

In his address, President Arif Alvi spoke about the importance of independence and the successes of the country during difficult times.

He said that Pakistan made sacrifices in the war against terrorism and faced various challenges, including economic and health but it continues its journey of development despite trials and tribulations. He also congratulated the nation and Pakistani forces on their victory in the war against terrorism.

The president said the arms race continues in the region and despite this Pakistan has fulfilled the basic requirements to advance in the world. Along with agriculture, now it's making progress in the industrial and IT sector and Pakistan's exports have reached 31 billion dollars, the president said.

Talking about hosting Afghan refugees, he said that nations are formed on the basis of morality. Without naming any country he said, elsewhere refugees are allowed to drown in the sea not given shelter, but Pakistan still hosts 3.5 million Afghan refugees.

The president also spoke about peace with neighbouring India. "We once again offer peace to India but India is not ready to reciprocate and even returning the Indian pilot was also considered our weakness."

He said that Pakistan will continue to support the people of Kashmir in their struggle for self-rule and freedom.

The day dawned with special prayers and a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and a 21-gun salute at all provincial capitals. Special prayers were offered in mosques at dawn for peace, solidarity, and prosperity of the country.

There was be a pause at 8.58 am throughout the country with the sounding of sirens to herald the flag-hoisting ceremonies at 9am.

The main flag-hoisting ceremony was held at the President's House with President Arif Alvi as the chief guest. After the flag-hoisting, the national anthem was played with the military band. After the recitation of the Holy Quran and Naat Shareef, President Alvi will address the nation. National songs and the Kalam-e-Iqbal were presented during the ceremony.

Different public and private departments held special functions and activities including seminars, discussion programmes, photographic exhibitions, painting, poetry, national songs, and debate competitions with the focus on acknowledging the contributions of leaders of the Pakistan Movement and sacrifices of national heroes.

All the major roads and avenues of the federal capital, like other cities, have been decorated with flags, banners, and buntings to present a festive look.

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