'Defence Day of Pakistan' commemorates the day when our armed forces successfully defended the attack of Indian forces on our beloved country in the 1965 war. It is a tribute to our armed forces and all the martyrs of the war and is celebrated each year on 6th of September.
It was on this day in 1965, that India launched her forces and attacked Pakistan across the international border without a warning or a declaration of war. this action of India, which claims to be the largest democracy in the World, was in utter violation of International law, charter of the United Nations and norms of civilized behavior among states. India arrogantly swept aside her international commitments in her desire to subjugate the region.
The memory of India's treachery is vivid and uncompromising. At dawn on 6th September Indian forces crossed the border, pushed back the Pakistan Rangers and advanced towards Lahore on two axis. The Indian Army Chief, Gen. J. N. Chaudhry was so confident of defeating the Pakistani troops guarding the area and capturing Lahore that he announced to all that he would have a large peg of whisky at the Lahore Gymkhana Club in the evening of the 6th.
He had reason to be confident as he was known in India as the 'conqueror of Hyderabad in Deccan'. It was 17 years earlier that Gen Chaudhry had attacked the princely state of Hyderabad in Deccan, at the head of an armoured division. This was part of India's multi-pronged attack by three divisions, inspite of a stand-still agreement that India had signed with the state. But Nehru's (First Prime Minister of India) new-India had started to proclaim that her agreements and commitments national and international could be violated at will to suit her purpose.
India's attack against Lahore was held and beaten back with heavy losses to the attackers. 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. Two days later on 8th September India launched its main attack against Sialkot using its armoured division and other strike formations. What ensued has been described as the largest tank battle since the second World War.
It was a hard and bitter struggle fought over many days and night's resulting in casualties on both sides. In the end the Indian main attack was held and severely mauled. Its armoured division was force to withdraw owing to very high losses in men and material. 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.
In the South 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 USSR and a peace agreement was signed at Tashkent.
During the 1965 war every citizen of the country was solidly united behind the government. The national priorities were clear and unambiguous in those days, any danger to the country called for unity and unstinted support to the government and the armed forces. There was no question of any political party or leader taking advantage of the war to berate the government for political or personal gain.
Pakistan emerged from the September 1965 war with India, a strong and self-confident nation, proud of itself and its armed forces. It was a nation that was united in facing the danger from India. National unity and full support for the armed forces in the field is essential for success in war.
With the nation's support the Armed Forces of Pakistan repulsed India's naked aggression across the international border and made her pay a price for it by capturing four times more territory than India and forcing her to accept a ceasefire, return to the negotiating table and to vacate each others territory. It was certainly their finest hour of glory and a day to be remembered by future generations of soldiers and civilians.
India has consistently used force as an instrument of her foreign and domestic policy against all her neighbours including China, and internally against her own small states and occupied Kashmir to the detriment of her religious and ethnic minorities. This has been reflected by all the main Human Rights organizations of the World. Recently the New York based Human Rights Watch released its report condemning India for its atrocities in Indian-held Kashmir.
This year we celebrate Defence of Pakistan Day to observe Sept 6 as Defence, Kashmir Solidarity Day. There has been some criticism within the country of the government's handling of the situation particularly of the Prime Minister's visit to Washington.
Unfortunately all the criticism emanates by and large from those political parties in opposition to the government and as such the credibility of their arguments is reduced to that extent. Some writings have appeared, particularly in the English press who fail to understand the Kashmir issue in its proper perspective and there are others who may well be inspired from within or without for reasons better known to them.
It is the opinion of neutral experts at home and abroad that the Kashmir dispute cannot be forced back into cold storage again in view of the determination to fight and die by Kashmiris. It should now be the concern of the World community to find a solution to the Kashmir dispute under a democratic process, of the will of the people of Kashmir.
The 6th of September should also be a day of thanksgiving. We should all pray for the safety and solidarity of Pakistan and also that God gives us the strength, courage and determination, to protect and safeguard at all costs, the freedom and honour of our homeland.
Very often we take for granted our freedoms as citizens of an independent country and the peaceful surroundings of our city and other places in Pakistan that we visit. This freedom and peace is ensured by the military and security agencies that work round the clock to protect our country from foreign and other kinds of domestic threats.
Their role is to work for the defence and security of the country under the guidance of the civilian government and their personnel make great sacrifices, if necessary, in the course of their duty. The contributions of the defence services provided by our military forces are marked by the annual celebration of the national Defence Day in our country.
Many of our martyred national heroes were given awards for their gallantry and bravery. The highest military award of Nishan-i-Haider was awarded to Major Raja Aziz Bhatti, for his extraordinary role in defending the Lahore Bedian area in 1965. He is among a handful of other gallant and brave military personnel who were martyred and awarded the same award in other battles and wars. They gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in the defence of Pakistan.
Defence Day is also a day to renew our pledge that we are a strong, proud nation, and that we would not be intimidated by any foreign nation, no matter how strong it is. Our military is a symbol of all that and much more. It embodies the fighting spirit, bravery and tactical acumen of the great nation of Pakistan. And Defence Day is the day to celebrate and remember all that so that we can be strong and give the right message to the youth and children of the country.
A series of military parades and events are organised on Defence Day all over the country. Latest technologies and advancement in military warfare are also displayed in military parades. Sometimes, test launches of newly-developed weaponry also happen on this day. The obvious aim of these events is to remember our heroes and showcase our strength in military terms. Our television channels and social media also play their part towards that aim.
We all should be proud of our strong military forces and their constitutional role in guarding the physical frontiers and security of our country. We might be facing economic issues, but we are protected from foreign threats by what many around the world regard as one of the best military forces in Asia. When we salute our past war heroes, we pay respect to their sacrifices.
But our military not only engages in combat during war, but also contributes to the nation in peacetime. The forces also often perform humanitarian activities in disaster-hit areas and provide national relief services in the events such as floods, earthquakes, etc. Many of the armed forces’ institutions such as their schools, colleges, hospitals etc. working under the control of military, provide valuable services to civilians as well.
It is never late to honour and salute our national heroes. Any school or community function can be arranged at any time to honour all those men and women in uniform who have served to defend our country. Awareness of their importance and efforts can be raised on social media as well by us. Our chats and conversations with family and friends can also involve the topic of the importance and constitutional role of the military.