Nation celebrates Defense Day with zeal, fervor

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-PM warns against misconstruing Pakistan’s desire for peace
-Says Armed Forces are fully capable of defending motherland
-COAS lays floral wreath at Martyrs Monument in a ceremony held at GHQ tocommemorate war heroes’ sacrifices
-Says Pakistan Armed Forces ready to thwart any kind of aggression

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: The 55th Defence Day was observed on Sunday to commemorate the sacrifices of fallen heroes during the 1965 war with India and to renew the pledge to safeguard the country’s geographical and ideological boundaries in every situation and at all costs.
The day commenced with special prayers in mosques for the peace, prosperity and solidarity of the country and to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for the protection of their motherland. The main ceremony was held in the morning at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, according to Radio Pakistan, where Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa laid a floral wreath at the Martyrs Monument.
A change of guards was also held at the Quaid’s mausoleum with Air Vice Marshal Shakeel Ghazanfar as the chief guest of the ceremony. A contingent of 46 cadets of the Pakistan Air Force Asghar Khan Academy took over guard duties. A ceremony was also held at the Naval Headquarters in Islamabad, Radio Pakistan reported. Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan’s desire for peace must not be misconstrued as its weakness, adding that the country’s armed forces were “fully capable” of defending the country. “The resilient nation and the battle-hardened armed forces of Pakistan have time and again proved that they are fully capable of defending the country and are fully prepared to meet any kind of eventuality,” the premier said in a series of tweets. In his message, the premier honoured the fallen heroes of the war, saying that 55 years ago, the nation and the men in uniform “proved that it is not the size that matters, but it is the courage and devotion that matters the most”.
“September 6 is a day in Pakistan’s glorious history that is commemorated as a symbol of courage, strong will and unmatched spirit of sacrifice by our gallant armed forces.” In his message to the countrymen on Defence Day, President Arif Alvi said that Pakistan would never compromise on its sovereignty and security, making it clear that any kind of misadventure by the enemy would be dealt with severely.
“It makes me happy to state that we have achieved self-reliance in the defence field We have thwarted external aggression; we have successfully defeated terrorism and extremism, and now we are on the path towards economic prosperity.” He said the day was a reminder of the spirit and valour of Pakistan’s armed forces and the nation through which they thwarted the evil designs of the enemy on this day, 55 years ago. The president said the nation saluted the martyrs as well as their families for their fortitude as they set a great example of patriotism by sacrificing their loved ones for defence of the country. “The spirit of September 1965 still lives in our hearts and I can proudly say that because of this, we have been successful in many testing times. Our armed forces’ professional excellence, combat readiness, and above all their unwavering faith in Allah has made Pakistan invincible,” he added.
The opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and National Assembly (NA) Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif tweeted that while the country paid homage to its martyrs, “we must invoke the spirit of sacrifice and national cohesion that marked this day to take Pakistan forward”. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that those who “sacrificed their lives in the line of duty are the nation’s heroes” and the martyrs would remain alive in the memories of generations to come.
Meanwhile, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) released a song to pay tribute to the national heroes. According to the military’s media wing, the song “Har Ghari Tayyar Kamran” is a remake of an old patriotic song of the ’80s. Country’s top voices, including Ali Hamza, Ali Azmat, Ali Noor and Asim Azhar, collaborated for the Defence and Martyrs’ Day. The singers paid tribute to the services rendered by Pakistan Armed Forces and its operational readiness.
The music video showcases the sacrifices of Pakistan as a nation in fighting terrorism and the evolution of our Armed Forces as a cutting-edge military structure; second to none. Moreover, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Sunday said that Pakistan is a peaceful nation, however, if war is imposed on them then they would respond to it in a befitting manner. Addressing the ceremony to give away military awards on the occasion of Defence Day at General Headquarters (GHQ), General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that the country has responded in a befitting manner when it was attacked owing to a foiled attack in Balakot.
Praising the war heroes of 1965, the COAS said that it was an unforgettable event in the history that witnessed remarkable stories of courage, valour and love for the nation. “We mark this day to remember martyrs of 1948, 1965, 1971, Kargil and war against terrorism,” he said adding that it reminds them as to how the nation defeated an enemy far bigger than them and gives the courage to repeat the history again.
While lauding the families of the martyrs, present during the ceremony, COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa assured them that the nation would not forget the sacrifices they had rendered for the country. They are our heroes and any nation that forgets its heroes will never be remembered in history, he said. The army chief also lauded the army officers who received awards during the ceremony and said that they maintained the traditions of the armed forces while serving their duties. “The medal on your chest is also a matter of pride for us,” he said.
He said that Pakistan got independence on the ideology of Islamic identity and the enemy is continuously involved in hatching a conspiracy to form a nexus against the identity. He, however, said that the armed forces and the nation would foiled such attempts.
Qamar Javed Bajwa said that it was an honour for him to represent one of the finest and bravest armed forces in the globe. “The world has recognized the abilities of our forces,” he said. While diverting attention towards the challenge of fifth-generation or hybrid war imposed on the nation, the COAS said that it was aimed at defaming the country and armed forces to create anarchy. “We are aware of its threat and will also win this war with the support of the nation,” he said.
COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa said that the country had passed through testing times during the past 20 years as it continued to face wars on eastern and western borders. “We fought a nerve-wracking war against terrorism that saw sacrifices from thousands and displacements of many more,” he said.