President Dr Arif Alvi Saturday said Pakistan, being a strong and peaceful nuclear state as well as an emerging economic power, believes in peaceful co-existence and does not want war.“But our desire for peace should not be misconstrued as our weakness. With the grace of Almighty Allah, our defence is impregnable,” he said while speaking at an impressive Pakistan Day joint parade by the country’s armed forces here at the Shakarparian Parade Ground. Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the guest of honour at the ceremony, which was also attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan, cabinet members, provincial governors, chief ministers, services chiefs, foreign diplomats and various segments of the country and society.The president said Pakistan with its strong nation is a reality, which should be accepted by India as its short-sighted and imprudent approach is a threat to the regional peace. He said there is a need to wage war against the challenges of poverty, unemployment, health and education in the region. He said Pakistan, which believes in a democratic approach of resolving the issues through dialogue and peaceful means, does not want war and desires to move forward by leaving behind the bitterness of past. He, however, mentioned that the inappropriate attitude of India poses danger to peace in the region. “India put the blame of Pulwama incident on Pakistan without any evidence and created a war-like situation through its threatening statements. Pakistan used its right of defence and retaliated against the Indian aggression with an effective strategy and response after their jets violated the country’s airspace,” he added.The president said Pakistan’s effective response also depicted the high professional standards and capabilities the country’s armed forces, which have never discouraged the nation and its expectations in challenging hours. “I salute the armed forces of Pakistan. No doubt, you are the pride of Pakistan,” he maintained. The president said the holding of Pakistan Day parade despite tension at borders also depicts the high spirits of the country and nation as well as their desire for peace. “But we are not oblivious of our defence,” he asserted.President Alvi said Pakistan has successfully confronted the challenge of terrorism, but still more efforts and measures are needed by all to root out the menace. He said Pakistan desires a peaceful and sovereign Afghanistan, and will continue to play its role for achieving the objective. The president said the participation of China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Bahrain in the Pakistan Day Parade is the reflection of their friendship with Pakistan, for which he is thankful to the people and governments of those countries.He thanked Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr Mahathir Mohamad for gracing the occasion as the guest of honour. He also thanked the Azerbaijan Minister of Defence and the Chief of Bahrain National Guards for attending the parade. The president congratulated the whole nation on Pakistan Day. “We should thank Almighty Allah who bestowed us with the bounty of independence and enabled us with the capabilities to protect it,” he said, adding that March 23 is a day to express determination to turn Pakistan into a true and model Islamic welfare state as visualised by the founding fathers and for which the Muslims of the sub-continent struggled and also rendered sacrifices under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam.Dr Alvi said as the nations have to render sacrifices to maintain their independence, Pakistan also faces various challenges and conspiracies in the past, including the menace of terrorism, and successfully confronted those challenges. He said Pakistan being an alive, strong and a flourishing nation is a reality and India should accept it. The region, which is faced with challenges like poverty and hunger, requires peace and not war.Earlier, the president reviewed the parade and was presented a salute by different columns of the armed forces as well as the flypast of Pakistan Air Force fighter jets led by Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan. The fighter aircraft, which participated the flypast included JF-17 Thunder, F-16, Mirage and F-7.Published in Daily Times, March 24th 2019.