With gun salutes, Pakistan marks 71 years of independence

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Students visit the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, to celebrate the 71st Independence Day in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, Aug. 14. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)
Students visit the mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan, to celebrate the 71st Independence Day in Karachi, Pakistan, Tuesday, Aug. 14. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

Islamabad (AP) — Pakistan kicked off a day of celebrations Tuesday to mark the country’s 71 years of statehood and independence.

This year, the anniversary comes amid political change with a new government taking over following the July 25 general elections. Pakistan’s former cricket-star-turned-politician Imran Khan is to become the next prime minister.

President Mamnoon Hussain hoisted the national flag at a ceremony in Islamabad while Pakistanis across the country raised the banner at their homes and on their cars.

Fireworks erupted over the capital, Islamabad, at midnight on Monday, ushering in the festivities. During the day, gun salutes were held in Islamabad and the four provincial capitals.

Festive rallies and school functions were also taking place.

Pakistan gained independence when British left India and split the subcontinent in 1947.