PAKISTAN unfortunately has faced credible threat to its security from India ever since its inception. Inebriated by its bigger size and the military might at its command it has imposed four wars on Pakistan. It is said that the worth and character of a nation is tested during times of adversity and war. The 1965 war between India and Pakistan was the one during which the armed forces of Pakistan and the nation proved their worth and character through their unprecedented unity and bravery to thwart the nefarious designs of the enemy. I still remember a brief speech by President of Pakistan Field Marshall Muhammad Ayub Khan on radio around mid-day on sixth of September 1965 informing the nation about the Indian aggression in these words “The enemy has opened a war front of its own choice and its army has attacked Lahore after crossing the international border. Our armed forces are fully capable of defending the motherland and will not spare any sacrifice to thwart designs of enemy.
The 70 million people of Pakistan whose hearts are resonating with the voice ‘There is nobody worth worshiping except God’ will not rest until the guns of the enemy are silenced”. This enthusiastic and zeal-inspiring speech by him had an electrifying impact on the masses who listened to it on the radio. Rising above their linguistic, religious and regional differences, they forged an impregnable and unprecedented national unity. Farmers, labourers, businessmen, civil servants and employees of the Civil Defence exhibited extreme patriotism in supporting the valiant armed forces. This national unity was undoubtedly nurtured and reinforced by the war songs sung by icons like Noor Jahan and Mehdi Hasan. These artists fought a unique war by creating a wave of patriotism and nationalism among the people. The songs sung by them also raised the morale of the soldiers fighting on the front and instilled new zeal in them to defend the mother land.
Pakistan armed forces were fighting a war to defend the territorial integrity of the country against a formidable enemy. They did defend the country in a befitting manner. When the war ended Lahore and Sialkot were far away from the reach of the enemy. The enemy suffered heavy losses in terms of military hardware. The tank battle at Chawinda in which India lost 100 tanks, will forever haunt military strategist of India. Our Air Force decidedly had an upper hand and destroyed 110 Indian planes ( 35 of them in dog-fights) as against its own loss of 19 planes; a fact corroborated by the independent international sources. Downing of five Indian planes in a single dog-fight over Sargodha by M.M.Alam wrote a new history in the air war fare of the world. The achievements of our soldiers on the battleground particularly on the Lahore and Sialkot fronts not only baffled the enemy but also proved the invincibility of the faith-inspired fighting force like the Pakistan Army. The Pakistan armed forces whose martyrs had written a new history with their blood and defended the territorial integrity against an enemy, five times bigger than its size and strength deservedly earned unqualified gratitude and appreciation of the nation.
Since 1965 6th September is celebrated as Defence Day of Pakistan to express gratitude of the nation to the martyrs of the war, keep the same spirit alive, apprise the younger generation of the achievements of the benefactors of the nation and to eulogize their acts of valour and sacrifices that preserved our independence. The commemorations are also meant to reiterate the resolve of the nation not to hesitate from rendering any sacrifice in case it is ever subjected to any aggression. The nation surely remembers the sacrifices of the martyrs and manifested unswerving commitment to commemorate their valour and sacrifices by celebrating 50th anniversary of 1965 war in 2015 in a befitting manner to rejuvenate the same spirit. The story of Pakistan Army rendering sacrifices to save Pakistan from the nefarious designs and security threats posed by the internal and external enemies did not end with the 1965 war. The way the army has fought the war against terrorism which has internal and external dimensions and continues to render sacrifices to take it to its logical end, has made the nation proud once again. The martyrs undoubtedly are the pride of the nation.
The decision to celebrate September 06, this year as ‘ Defence and Martyrs Day’ at an unprecedented scale was a prudent move in regards to pay a befitting tribute to the martyrs of the nation, revive the spirit of 1965 and also to send a loud and clear message to our internal and external enemies particularly India that while Pakistan has an abiding commitment in pursuing regional peace and resolving its disputes with her including Kashmir, it is also fully prepared and capable of defending its territorial integrity and forestalling any external threat. Regrettably the peace initiatives by Pakistan have been spurned by the Modi regime. It is trying to avoid meaningful dialogue with Pakistan and is treading the path of confrontation. Repeated violations of the LOC and the working boundary are a ranting testimony of the aggressive designs of India. It is hell bent to destabilize Pakistan through covert operations of RAW. But probably Modi, like the previous Indian rulers, has miscalculated the prowess and resolve of Pakistani nation and its armed forces to scuttle the internationally conceived conspiracies to foment instability in Pakistan.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.