Pakistan was holding its first Republic Day parade in seven years on Monday, a symbolic show of strength in the war against Taliban insurgents three months after a militant attack on an army-run high school killed 132 children.
The Pakistan Day parade in the capital, held amid tight security with traffic and pedestrian access blocked, had been cancelled since 2008 amid fears of a Taliban attack.
But the military says the militants have been on the run since the army launched an operation last year to dislodge insurgents from their bases in the northwestern region of Khyber and North Waziristan, along the Afghan border.
The military cut mobile phone voice and text communications across Islamabad during a weekend dress rehearsal, with aircraft flying low over the picturesque, low-rise city, including the Chinese-made Karakorum Eagle airborne early warning and control aircraft launched in February.
Relations between the two nosedived after deadly attacks on Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people were killed. In the last year, cross-border violence in Kashmir has peaked to its worst in over a decade.
Pakistani troops have boasted recent successes against the Taliban, who aim to topple the state and establish strict Islamic rule. Fighter jets have pounded positions in the Tirah Valley in the Khyber region over the last few days.