Pakistan Cancels Military Parade on National Day amid Rising Political Instability, Economic Woes

Edited By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Last Updated: March 07, 2023, 09:45 IST

Pakistani soldiers stand beside a Ra’ad II cruise missile during Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad in this file photo from 2022. This year the parade is cancelled due to political instability and economic crisis (Image: Reuters)

‘Nuclear power’ Pakistan will not be able to display its military prowess on March 23 as the government struggles due to an ongoing economic crisis and political instability

The Pakistan Day parade which is held every year on March 23 has been cancelled due to rising political instability and worsening economic situation in the country, people familiar with the developments told CNN-News18.

Pakistan Day is celebrated to commemorate the passage of the 1940 Lahore Resolution, with Pakistan’s army showcasing its weaponry and military prowess. However, people mentioned above said the event was cancelled this year owing to current political and economic conditions.

People familiar with the developments within the Pakistan military further added that the decision to not celebrate Pakistan Day with a military parade was taken by the top leadership. The joint services Pakistan Day parade is also affected by the economic crisis and the political instability.

The people mentioned above said Islamabad finds itself in a position where it is unable to invite foreign leaders or dignitaries as it did on previous occasions. The government also finds itself in a position where it cannot host an event of such magnitude.

The decision to not host a parade commemorating Pakistan Day was taken by the top commanders of the Pakistan Army at a meeting held last week in Rawalpindi’s General Headquarters, the people mentioned above said.

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They further added that the decision was taken due to high inflation and a struggling economy while it also faces pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cut down defence spending.

The IMF this week also asked Pakistan to assure that its balance of payments deficit is fully financed for the remaining period of the programme. The nation’s lawmakers need to ensure that they fulfil the external financing requirement the IMF wants it to pledge to.

The Pakistan Day parade begins with a 31-gun salute in Islamabad while the provincial capitals mark it with 21-gun salutes. The event was cancelled in 2020 as well due to the Covid-19 pandemic and in 2022 the event was postponed due to bad weather.

Pakistan Army and its security establishment continues to come under fatal attacks from Baloch insurgents, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamic State in several parts of the country. A suicide bomb blast on Monday led to the deaths of at least nine security personnel in Balochistan’s Bolan.

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