The celebrations of the 73rd year of independence on Friday began with traditional zeal and fervour across the country as change of guard ceremonies were held at Mazaar-i-Quaid and Mazaar-i-Iqbal in Karachi and Lahore, respectively. Flag hoisting ceremonies were held at public and private offices across the country and special programmes were scheduled to observe the Independence Day. Messages were also shared by President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan, who recalled the sacrifices of the forefathers and those who fought for and laid down their lives in defence of the country. The president called upon the nation to “stand firm and work for progress and prosperity” of the country. He urged the people to stay united in order to meet the challenges that are being faced by Pakistan. Later, at a flag hoisting ceremony at the President House, Alvi noted that Pakistan had faced several challenges since its inception and was now at a “tipping point where improvements are being witnessed in various areas”. He lauded Prime Minister Imran’s government for working against corruption and for the development of the country. Prime Minister Imran, whose message was posted in a series of tweets by the PM Office’s Twitter account, said that the day was “an occasion to pause and to reflect as to how far we have been able to achieve those ideals that led to creation of an independent state”. He also paid tribute to “all those sons of the soil who laid their lives while defending and protecting territorial as well as ideological frontiers of the motherland” and pledged to “continue pursuing” the ideals of the nation’s founder Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. “We have battled against odds both at external as well as internal fronts,” the prime minister said.