After a gap of seven years, Pakistan will hold a joint military parade of its armed forces on its national day next month where Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to be the chief guest.
The decision came just days after India held its grand 66th Republic Day parade in which US President Barack Obama was the chief guest. Obama's visit had raised eyebrows in both Pakistan and China.
The joint military parade of the three branches of armed forces had been the hallmark of the Pakistan Day festivities, which features display of military hardware and cultural activities.
"The decision has been made to hold a joint military services parade on March 23," a "top military source" was quoted as saying by the Dawn daily. Quoting diplomatic sources, the daily said "(Xi) Jinping is expected to attend the Pakistan Day parade as chief guest".
The parade will be organised by joint staff headquarters in Rawalpindi, which oversees the entire Pakistani military. The venue for the parade is yet to be finalised, with two vast compounds shortlisted as potential sites. The last military parade took place on March 23, 2008 during the tenure of Gen Pervez Musharraf as president.
The parade was not held since then due to security reasons.