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Pakistan Marks 70 Years Of Independence

Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain (R) hoists national flag during a ceremony to mark the country's Independence Day in Islamabad on August 14.

Pakistan has kicked off a day of celebrations marking the country's 70 years of statehood and independence.

President Mamnoon Hussain hoisted the national flag at a ceremony in the capital, Islamabad, on August 14 attended by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and visiting Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang.

Later, Hussain will hand out medals to noteworthy citizens.

The festivities began with gun salutes in Islamabad and in each of the four provincial capitals.

Pakistan gained independence when the British left India and split the subcontinent in 1947, sparking one of the most violent upheavals of the 20th century.

For the Pakistanis, the anniversary comes amid political turmoil that has characterized successive civilian governments of the country, which has been dominated by military rule through much of its history.

India, the historic rival of Pakistan, marks its independence one day later -- on August 15.

The two nuclear-armed states share a tense relationship, primarily over the disputed territory of Kashmir, which sparked two wars between the sides.

Based on reporting by AP and BBC