Paying tribute to national martyrs | By Dr Muhammad Khan


Paying tribute to national martyrs

THE resilient Pakistani nation celebrates Defence Day on September 6, each year with new and enhanced dynamism and fervour.

On this day, the great Pakistani nation pays tribute to the martyrs of 1965 war and those who laid their lives for the defence of motherland thereafter and especially during two decades of global war on terror.

This year (2022) Defence Day was celebrated with extreme simplicity since the nation is suffering from massive flooding all over especially in Sindh and Balochistan provinces.

The military formations of defence forces of Pakistan had already moved to help the masses in relief and rehabilitation activities.

In the history of Pakistan, this day is significant because of the unmatched defence of Pakistan, rendered by its defence forces and masses starting from 6 September 1965, once India suddenly attacked Pakistan without any early warning with ulterior motives of undoing it.

The national level celebration of the Defence Day aims at: remembering and recalling the brave soldiers of September war, paying rich tribute to the martyrs of this war, infusing the spirit of sacrifice among the Pakistani youth and simulating the picture of future battlefields.

Indeed, the future battlefield is intractable, intricate and imperceptible hence requires prudence and a lot of mental appreciation to be the victor.

Going into history, ‘it was 6 September 1965, once the Indian Army launched its offensive against Pakistan while crossing the international border without any warning and formal declaration of war.

This Indian attack was in ‘utter violation of International law, Charter of the United Nations and norms of civilized behaviour among nation states’.

Indeed, India arrogantly swept aside her international commitments in her desire to subjugate the region’.

This Indian aggression towards the regional countries and even outside the region is a continual process.

Indeed, Indian leadership of that time considered Pakistan as a tiny state with very small sized defence forces, thus can be defeated by the gigantic military might of India.

But, things proved otherwise once the defence forces of Pakistan repulsed its offensive in all sectors with a befitting response.

As per the memories of General (Retd) Sardar FS Lodi, on 6 September 1965, ‘Indian attack on Lahore was held and beaten back with heavy losses to the Indian Army.

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’.

After the humiliating defeat at Lahore sector on 8 September 1965, India launched its main attack against Sialkot using its armoured division and other strike formations.

It was the biggest tank battle since World War-II. In fact, ‘It was a hard and bitter struggle fought over many days and nights resulting in casualties on both sides.

Finally, the main attack by India was repulsed with heavy losses to its armour formations and hundreds of soldiers and officers.

South of Lahore, Pakistan launched its own counter-attack and captured India’s Khem Karan and beyond.

This posed a serious threat to the rear of Indian troops facing Lahore. The superior military strategy of Pakistan and bravery of its men and officers indeed threatened Indian positions all along the international border.

In the South sector, Pakistan took the initiative to push back Indian troops and enter Indian Territory.

During the operations India captured about 400 square miles of Pakistan territory but lost around 1600 square miles of its own to Pakistan.

The war ended with the mediation effort of the former Soviet Union through the Tashkent Agreement in 1966.

The hallmark of the 1965 War was that every citizen of Pakistan was solidly united behind the Pakistani military.

The national priorities were clear and unambiguous in those days. The leadership was absolutely clear to defend the national interests, state’s sovereignty, integrity and national pride.

This year (2022), the Pakistani nation celebrated its 57th Defence Day with simplicity but with enthusiasm and a lot of spirit.

The nation and its defence forces have passed through a phase of very difficult time in the last two decades.

It was a very difficult war against terrorism and extremism which is still going on. In Afghanistan, the foreign forces have just pulled out of the country and Taliban are in the process of establishing their Government.

Last two decades marked the beginning of a new and renewed pledge to uphold the national prestige and to defend the motherland at all costs.

Today, Pakistan is facing a non-traditional warfare, indeed, the 5th generation warfare in the form of terrorism, extremism, media exploitation and changing perception.

This non-kinetic warfare, imposed on Pakistan has enabled our defence forces to learn the new techniques to counter all those.

The nation is fighting this unending war with great courage and enthusiasm. Owing to international and regional conspiracies, Pakistan still faces a lot of problems at all levels – domestic, regional and international.

In fact, the conspiring forces are slowly and gradually penetrating into our society and causing misperception and deviation from the basic concept of ideology, integration and national cohesion.

Resultantly, as a nation we are forgetting the golden principle of Unity, Faith & Discipline. Today, we need a national integration and cohesion among the larger Pakistani society for a better and secure future of every Pakistani.

The best way to pay tribute to our martyrs and national heroes is to make a renewed pledge for making Pakistan impregnable, secure, stable and economically prosperous.

The defence forces of Pakistan have played their part by physically defeating the terrorism and militancy from all over Pakistan and nowadays rescuing the masses after massive floods.

Now it is the responsibility of our national leadership and civil society to counter the narratives which create fault lines and promote disharmony on the basis of ethnicity, sectarianism and sub-nationalism.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.


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