ON Friday, Pakistan celebrated Defence of Pakistan Day with patriotic zeal and fervor. This year
it has added significance in that Pakistan has frustrated India’s designs when its planes dropped bombs at Balakot killing trees; and in retaliation Pakistan shot down two Indian planes and arrested Wing Commander Abhi Nandan. India made a strategic blunder when it revoked Article 370, and the Kashmir issue is in focus throughout the world. Addressing a news conference in Rawalpindi on Wednesday, Director General Inter Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor emphatically stated that Pakistan would go to any extent in support of the Kashmiri brethren in their struggle for right to self-determination. The DG ISPR said: “Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan as declared by the Quaid-i-Azam, and there will be no compromise on the Kashmir cause”. He expressed the confidence that the people of Kashmir will sooner than later achieve the goal of independence.
In regard to Defence of Pakistan Day, Director General ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor in a twitter message stated: “Let us reach out to families of our Shaheeds. Every Shaheed be remembered.” The sixth September – Defence of Pakistan Day – has significance in many ways. Firstly, Pakistan’s armed forces could repel the attack by India, a country more than six-time bigger in population and land mass. Secondly, national unity and trust between the people and the army was the spirit of 6th September. It was manifestation of what Sallust (86-34 BC) a well-known historian, friend of Julius Caesar, politician, one of great Latin literary stylists, and a witness to the waning Roman Empire, had said: “By union (harmony) smallest states thrive, by discord the greatest are destroyed”. During 1965 war between Pakistan and India, entire Pakistani nation was cast into the mould of a cohesive unit that frustrated sinister designs of India against Pakistan.
Every year on sixth September the nation pays homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives while defending their country. This was one of the most important events in the annals of Pakistan’s history when our military officers and soldiers heroically foiled India’s attempt to destroy or destabilize Pakistan. During 1965 war, people of Pakistan stood united, and as a result Pakistan was not only able to repel the attack but also made advances in Kashmir sector and Sindh sector. Of course, political parties and people of Pakistan had stood by the armed forces. Although some pseudo-intellectuals, political analysts and a few politicians in their writings and talks try to denigrate Pakistan armed forces, the people of Pakistan hold the military in very high esteem because they are privy to their sacrifices in the defence of the motherland.
During 1965 war, people irrespective of sect, language, region or province had demonstrated what Quaid-i-Azam had exhorted – Unity, Faith and Discipline. From Khyber to Coxes bazaar in former East Pakistan, people lauded the jawans and officers of Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force for having displayed the valour when India attacked our motherland. It would be relevant to recount the achievements so that the present generation also becomes aware of historical facts. The coordinated action of the Army, Navy and Air Force from Lahore, Karachi, Runn of Kacch to Chamb Jorian, had made all sectors the graveyard of ruined dreams of Indian leadership and army commanders who had dreamt of celebrating victory in Lahore. Pakistan with a relatively small army and limited resources had, indeed, given adequate response to the enemy on two thousand miles long border.
India’s invincibility as a regional power was shredded into bits when Pakistan Army in various sectors including Chwinda frustrated India’s pernicious designs. Pakistan Army had advanced in Sindh right up to Mona Bao station. Pakistan Navy had played its part by launching a successful attack on Dawarka, whereas fear from submarine Ghazi kept the enemy at bay and away from Pakistani coasts. Pak Navy’s complete control over the waters was indeed a miracle. Pakistan Air Force had also proved its mettle by continuous air attacks from Pathankot to Agra; and Pakistan Army’s resistance for every inch of land would go down in the history as a memorable performance of our officers and jawans. Unfortunately, successive governments became complacent and did not focus on enhancing defence capabilities. And their ineptness failed to maintain the cohesion and national unity achieved during 1965 war.
However, India was looking for an opportunity to attack Pakistan, and took advantage of internecine conflicts between political parties and contradictions between the Centre and the provinces, and incited nationalists and separatists in former East Pakistan. In 1965, armed forces had the support of people of Pakistan, thus they could frustrate the vicious designs of the hostile neighbour. Whereas in 1971, the nation stood divided because of the ineptness of the rulers, who could not resolve the contradictions between the provinces, and as a result Pakistan was disintegrated. Of course, there was international conspiracy with India on the frontline, which had trained Mukti Bahini, and Indian Army had also physically supported the rebels by crossing international borders. It is hoped that the new government and people of Pakistan would reinvent the spirit of September 1965, display unity in their ranks to frustrate the designs of the hostile enemy and so-called friends of Pakistan.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.