September 6th is celebrated every year to pay tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives while defending the country during 1965 Indo-Pakistan War.

On this historic day, the people of Pakistan stood united against the onslaught of an enemy that cowardly chose the shadows of darkness to dent Pakistan’s territorial integrity and freedom of its people.

It is imperative to recount the achievements of our brave soldiers so our youth may not fall prey to propaganda of detractors of Pakistan.

With the backing of nation, the coordinated response of the Armed Forces of Pakistan ruined the Indian dreams of celebrating victory in Lahore. Pakistani Forces, despite relative small numbers and limited resources, routed the invading Indian forces in air, land and sea.

On the night of 6th September 1965, the Indian Army crossed the international border and attacked Lahore sector.

The plan was to take over Lahore swiftly as a part of blitzkrieg strategy and get the upper hand in Indo-Pakistan conflict which sparked over the Indian-occupied Kashmir region.However, the Pakistan Army units defending on the ground, supported by the Pakistan Air Force were able to blunt the Indian offensive and roll it back. Major Raja Aziz BhattiShaheed (Nishan-e-Haider) showed an unparalleled courage and gallantry.

On 6 September 1965, as a Company Commander in Burki area of Lahore sector, Major Aziz Bhatti chose to stay with his forward platoon, facing armour division attack under incessant artillery shelling for five days and nights in the defence of the strategic BRB Canal.

Throughout, undaunted by constant fire from enemy small arms, tanks and artillery shelling, he organized the defence of the canal, directing his men to respond until he was hit by a tank shell and embraced martyrdom on 10 September 1965.

Two days later on 8th September, India launched its main attack against Sialkot using its armoured division and other strike formations.

What ensued has been described as the largest tank battle since the Second World War. It was a hard and bitter struggle fought over many days and nights, resulting in casualties on both sides. In the end the Indian main attack was held and severely mauled.

Its armoured division was forced to withdraw owing to very high losses in men and material. In response, Pakistan launched its own counter attack in South of Lahore sector and captured Indian areas of Khem Karan and beyond.

In air, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had also proved its mettle by continuous air attacks from Pathankot to Agra; for the loss of only 06 aircraft, PAF had destroyed 50 enemy aircraft on ground and in the air, and damaged 08, not counting the undermined losses inflicted by PAF’s night bombing.

The PAF pilot Muhammad MehmoodAlam made history by shooting down five Indian planes in less than a minute; his record still remained unbroken. Commonly known as “Little Dragon”, Alamreceived the Sitar-e-Jurat twice for his outstanding flying abilities and valor in air warfar.

On naval front, despite numerically less in size Pakistan Navy (PN) conducted a number of operations for creating strategic deterrence and offering a befitting response to Indian Navy.

The prowess exhibited by PN ensured that Pakistani waters and sea lanes remain operational for ships coming to Pakistani ports. Pakistan Navy had played its part by launching a successful ‘Operation Dwarka’, vehemently destroyed the Indian Radar system which was guiding Indian Air Force to launch attacks against Pakistan.

The core objective of ‘Dwarka’ was multi-fold in effect as it was not only aimed at destruction of the radar but to provoke Indian warships stationed at erstwhile Bombay (now Mumbai) port to come to the Arabian Sea where Pakistani submarine “Ghazi” was prowling and waiting to engage enemy’s ships namely INS Vikrant and INS Mysore to dock out and get destroyed.

This maneuver had adversely affected the Indian Navy’s operational capability .Operation Dwarka was launched on 8th September and the bombardment on identified targets was completed in merely four minutes.

Far away from home, Pakistan was equally fighting another war on the diplomatic front. The US had suspended military supplies to both sides during the Indo-Pak War.

Both the Soviet Union and the United States took a united stand to curtail the conflict within the boundaries of the sub-continent from escalating into a global conflict.

China threatened to intervene and offered military support to Pakistan. It was to keep China away from this conflict that both the Soviet Union and the United States pressured the UN to arrange for an immediate ceasefire.

The main diplomatic effort to stop the fighting was conducted under the auspices of the United Nations and a ceasefire came into   effect on September 23, 1965. The war ended, both armies went back to pre-1965 war positions, but the tale of valor and sacrifice written by Pakistan Armed Forces became immortal.

To conclude, Pakistan Defence Day is a day to pledge that Pakistani nation will never compromise its freedom and sovereignty.

This day reminds us that Pakistan Armed Forces are ready to defend their motherland no matter what may come.

To date, our forces have remained committed to protect Pakistan, be it the territorial sovereignty or war on terror, earthquakes or floods, pandemics or aiding civilian governments to maintain law and order. People of Pakistan pay tribute to martyrs who bled to protect our future, keeping the idea& state of Pakistan alive and thriving.

SufianQazi is Islamabad-based independent researcher.

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