KARACHI - Karachiites celebrated the 61st Independence Day with usual zeal and fervour. The celebrations started on Wednesday night when different political parties took out rallies. As the clock struck 12 mid night, spectacular fireworks lightened the cloudy skies of the metropolis creating enchanting scenes. All government offices, petrol stations and skyrocketing buildings of the multinational companies and banks in the city were profusely illuminated to mark the historic occasion. Hundreds of private cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses carrying huge national flags filled the streets from North Karachi, Malir, Landhi to Sadr and Sea View where hundreds of vehicles jammed the space. The day in the provincial capital dawned with special prayers at mosques for the stability, prosperity and progress of the country. Armed forces presented 21-gun salutes. A contingent of Pakistan Naval Academy cadets assumed ceremonial guard duties at the Mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam in an exciting ceremony where hundreds of Karachiites had gathered to pay homage to the Father of the Nation and his companions. A national flag hoisting ceremony was also held at the Mausoleum. Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah hoisted the flag while Governor Ishratul Ebad, members of provincial cabinet and Sindh Assembly also attended the ceremony. Later, the Chief Minister and Governor laid floral wreaths at the Mausoleum and offered 'Fateha'. Girls and boys students of different schools were carrying green flags while sitting on the marble steps of the Mazar and were singing national songs. People from all walks of life continued to visit the Quiad's Mausoleum throughout the day. Bikers had removed silencers from their motorcycles and started driving on the thoroughfares from 12 am at night and continued this practice throughout the day on Thursday. Loud noise emitting from their two wheelers became a nuisance for the residents who had their houses close to thoroughfares. MQM organised a splendid firework at Five Star Chowrangi on Thursday night. The PPP held a similar ceremony at the People's Secretariat located just few hundred yards from the Mazar. Representatives of three armed forces laid floral wreath at the Mazar of Quaid-e-Azam and offered 'Fateha'. All units and headquarters of three services were beautifully illuminated and 'bara khana' was organised in the units after special darbars highlighting significance of the day. Sports competitions including swimming, cricket, kabaddi and football, between various naval units, were also an important part of the Independence Day celebrations. Local and multinational restaurants also took part in the celebrations by decorating their business spots with colourful balloons and national flags. University of Karachi arranged a special programme to celebrate the event. Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr. Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, attended the flag hoisting ceremony at the administration block of the university and students of girls hostel sang national song on the occasion.