Celebrating 6th September as Pakistan’s Defence Day | By Col Muhammad Hanif (Retd)

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Celebrating 6th September as Pakistan’s Defence Day

It is a regular feature in Pakistanthat 6th September is celebrated every year as Pakistan’s Defence Day.

In August 1965, in,India’s illegally occupied part of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir (IIJ&K), the indigenous Kashmiris had started their violent freedom struggle.

As a consequence, to divert the world attention from the Jammu and Kashmir disputeand the Kashmiris’ struggle for their freedom, India had started cease fire violations across the then cease fire line (CFL).

Ultimately these violations had turned into theskirmishes/military operations between the Indian and Pakistan armies.

Although the Indian army was suffering reverses, the operations remained confined to the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir.

But, on 6 September 1965, India, without declaration of a war,launched a major military offensive against Pakistan, when the Indian armed forces stealthily crossed the international borders between the two countries and attacked in Lahore, Sialkot and other areas of Pakistan, with heavy thrust of their tank formations.

The Indian Army’s plan was to capture Lahore on the morning of 6th September 1965 and the Indian army’s high command had declared that they will capture Lahore and will have the breakfast in the Jimkhana Club of Lahore.

On that day, the Pakistani nation and the Armed forces rose to the occasion and defended Pakistan with exemplary unity, spirit and bravery.

The armed forces fought for the country in a heroic manner.To defend Lahore, Major Aziz Bhattiand his troops stood like a rock and fought like lions and did not allow the enemy to get near Lahore. Major Aziz Bhatti embraced Shadat and was awarded Nishan-Haider.

Thus, the Indian army’s dreams of having breakfast in Jimkhana Club Lahore were blown away. The major tank battle was fought in Chawinda, Sialkot and Pakistani tank formationsfought in a heroic way and caused major damages to the enemy and the Indian tank unitshad to retreat.

The Pakistan Air Force and Navy fought with an exemplary bravery and had almost crippled the Indian Air and Naval assets/bases.

The Pakistani nation stood like an Iron wall in front of the enemy during the 1965 war, especially after hearing a very charismatic, daring and morale boosting speech by the then President,Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan.

The Pakistan Army, Air Forceand Navy gave an outstanding performance and the Pakistani forces, being a half in numbers than the Indian armed forces, were able to capture more Indian areas and cause more damages to India than what the Indian armed forces could do to Pakistan.

The Pakistani media, writers, poets and film industry singers also played an important role by writing and singing the mili-naghmas/songs to raise the morale of the nation and the armed forces’ officers and men.

However, after about three weeks the war came to an end with the mediation of the UN and the then Soviet Union.

In the light of the above mentioned spectacular success of the Pakistan’s armed forces and Pakistani nation in defending Pakistanin the 1965 war,6th September is celebrated every year as Pakistan’s Defence Day with a lot of pride and fervor to: remember and pay tribute to our armed forces’ successes in the war and to the sacrifices of our Shaheeds and Ghazis of that war; to pay respect to their families;to tell our younger generation about our armed forces, war heroes’ sacrifices and the Nation’s exemplary unity shown during that war;to display Pakistani nation and armed forces’ resolve to defend Pakistan against our enemy’s any future such aggression.

On 6 September, the Defence Day celebrations start with the prayers for Pakistan’s safety and security and for the 1965 war shaheeds and Ghazies who have left this world.

The day is marked by holding various kinds of national and armed forces activities/programmes including, flag hoisting ceremonies, holding debates and gathering to discuss/remember the Pakistan’s armed forces excellent performance in the 1965 warand about the brave acts of the officers and men of the armed forces during that war, which have been preserved in the form of the war history.

During the day the armed forces also organize exhibitions displaying the war fighting equipment for the people, the families, especially students/the young people to witness the equipment and weapons of war that generate general awareness about the armed forces.

A lot of interest is shown by the people to witness and enjoy the exhibitions. Such exhibitions also provide them a chance to interact with the armed forces officers and soldiers and see their discipline and love for the country. These events also attract the young people to join the armed forces.

On 6 September, in the evening the armed forces, the Army, Air Force and Navy, also organizetheir reception meetings, where parents and families of the Shaheeds and Veterans of the 1965wrare ted to pay homage to the Shaheeds, respect to their families and show solidarity with them.

During these events, where Shaheeds’ spirit of fighting and their success stories are discussed and projected by warphotographs and videos, the Veterans describe their deeds of bravery and success stories and they also talk about the events describing the overall war fighting spirit, and sacrifices rendered by our armed forcesduring the war.

This year also, 6th September as Pakistan’s Defence Day is being celebrated with the same love, zeal and fervor,  but in a very simple way because, because while about two third of the country is hit by the devastating floods, and a vast population have lost their homes and belongings and are living in tents at higher places, the government, the armed forces, other related institutions, and the people are busy in acolossal task of flood relief operations, such as evacuation, food supply, medical aid and peoples rehabilitation.

The people of Pakistan and the armed forces are carrying out the flood relief task in the support their countrymen with the same spirit and a sense sacrifice as they had defended Pakistan during the 1965 war.

In this context, Pakistan is thankful to our friendly countries for providing it the colossal flood relief assistance with the same spirit as they had supported us during the 1965 war.

[The writer is also a former Research Fellow of IPRI and Senior Research Fellow of SVI Islamabad.]

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