Pakistan’s Unity and Cooperation in Times of Crises
Prosperousand resilient nations are those that become stronger and tougher in the face of challenges, whether there is a war outbreak in the country or a natural disaster.
It is a matter of pride that the Pakistani nation remained strong and resolute when the enemy in 1965 war attempted to challenge its existence.
At the dawn of 6th September 1965, the nation was awakened with the clarion call of Field Marshal Ayub Khan, “India has attacked Lahore and Pakistan is at war”. Indian army illegally crossed the international border and cowardly launched an unprovoked attack on Lahore sector, dreaming to capture the entire city.
However, with limited resources,the Armed forces quashed Indian plans of celebrating victory in Lahore. On8th September, India launched their main attack in Sialkot sector with an Armoured division and strike formations. What ensued has been described as the largest tank battle since WWII.
Our army not only repulsed the attack but also captured vast Indian territory of Khem Karan and beyond in a counter attack. As a result, Indian army suffered heavy losses in men and material.
The spirit of nationalism surged and the whole nation came out to support its defenders. The people of Pakistan responded with faith and belief. This year is the 57th anniversary of Defence Day.
Pakistan Defence Day is celebrated on 6 September to pay homage to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives while defending the country during the war of 1965. All citizens played their role, from civil bureaucracy, academics and intellectuals, law enforcement like the police, students and the youth, artists including writers and singers. Ex-service man rushed to recruiting areas for the allocation of service with troops at the front.
Patriotic songs galvanized the nation in the same way that the speeches of Churchill mobilizedBritain during WWII. Even the shopkeepers donated generously during the time of war. Items that were in demand for the army were donated by locals and werepiled up at Army Centres.
Pakistani women also played a major role during this time, specifically the Girl Guide movement and All Pakistan Women Association who collected funds, arranged blood donation camps, and offered services to the medical corps as nursing volunteers.Students and young people thronged the roadsides, where troops were moving, offering them food, water and snacks.
Public order was exemplary during the war-days; even the crime rate declined to almost zero. Such a display of national unity galvanized the already spirited armed forces in their fearless fight against the enemy.
It is apparent that in the time of crises, both Civil and Military leadership were on the same page, andpeople were less concerned about taking credit or being recognized for the services which they rendered. Everyonewas united as a nation to act selflessly to protect the country.
Same spirit should be seen now of the Pakistani people, but what we see is otherwise. In the recent times of heavy flooding, it is unfortunate thatthe society is focusing more on taking credit and preoccupied of building a positive image of themselves rather than helping people.
Videos are surfacing of notable persons of distributing relief funds publicly. The Holy Prophet (PPUH) also advised us to give charity in secrecy in a way that yourleft hand shouldn’t know what the right is doing.
It is unfortunate that society is focused more on taking credit and preoccupied of building a positive image of themselves. At this need of hour, it is important for all key actors in Pakistan, whether it be politicians, public servants, establishment or the ordinary citizen, to do what they can do to encourage society to donate as much as possible.
The onus is on them toprovide better information as towhat the affected people of the flood require. Are the victims in need of tents, emergency kits, menstrual hygiene items, nutritious food and clean water? They should act as abuilding bridge between the flood victims and donators.
In this manner,society together can make life of the flood survivors a little better by providing them what they actually need.In such a critical time, we should not leave the survivors on their own, we should rather try helping them in every possible way.
Just as Martin Luther King Jr once said, “we must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
Defence day is a pledge that nation will always remember the sacrifices of its indigenous people by honouring the martyrs while acknowledging their courage and fighting spirit. The day reminds us that our people are committed to national freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It is my wish that Pakistan does not forget these sacrifices, and that the people of Pakistan, act with the same zeal, patriotism and fighting spirit in times to come. Pakistan should remain as united as it was decades ago. Long live Pakistan.
*The writer is associated with Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) and currently doing her major in Strategic Studies from National Defence University, Islamabad. She can be reached at [email protected]