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Pakistan observes sombre Independence Day

world Updated: Aug 14, 2010 11:00 IST
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One of the worst floods in the history of Pakistan eclipsed the Independence Day celebrations on Saturday, as many events were cancelled by the government and festivities across the nation wore a sombre look.

Pakistani citizens have celebrated Independence Day every Aug 14 since 1947 to mark the creation of the country after the Partition. Cars and rooftops are festooned with flags and flower garlands on the occasion.

But this year, the euphoria has vanished.

"We have no interest in celebrating either Independence Day or Eid because of the widespread devastation caused by the floods," an activist of a political party in Karachi was quoted as saying Saturday by Geo News.

Floods have displaced millions of people and left over 1,600 dead in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces, said Sharmila Farooquil, adviser to the chief minister of Sindh.

Government officials were reluctant to organise functions and participate in Independence Day festivities as they visited flood-hit areas, said officials at the chief minister's secretariat in Sindh.

There was no Independence Day ceremony at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the official residence of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, who is scheduled to spend the day with flood victims in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, according to a statement from the president's office.

The army also cancelled its Independence Day celebrations, donating the fund it would have spent on the day's activities to flood victims instead.

The army has also scrapped plans to observe Defence Day on Sep 6, a statement said.