KARACHI: The Defence Day of Pakistan on Thursday was celebrated in the city from early morning till evening with a change of guard at the mausoleum of the Father of the Nation followed by parades, air shows and demonstrations held at Malir Garrison, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Masroor and the Seaview Beach on Thursday.
The day dawned with a 21-gun salute and special prayers in mosques for those who sacrificed their lives for the country. The change of guard ceremony at the Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum saw Pakistan Air Force cadets from PAF Academy Asghar Khan taking over guard duties from Pakistan Navy cadets, who had been there performing the same duties since Aug 14.
The annual parade at Malir Garrison was attended by families of many martyred soldiers as well as serving and retired army men along with sports and showbiz celebrities. The parade started at 8.15am sharp with Officer Commanding Malir Garrison Major General Zahid Mahmood as the chief guest.
The parade was divided into four phases with the first one being the march past of contingents including various battalions and regiments of the armed forces including the army band and parchum party that played the national anthem followed by many tunes to lift the spirit.
‘Pakistan’s security was neither compromised in the past nor will it be compromised in future’
The second phase comprised the armoured corps and mechanised weaponry including the Al-Khalid tank, other armed tanks, air defence weaponry and artillery, including guns and missile systems, Skyguard radar systems, mobile workshops, mobile bridges, signals mobiles, medical battalions, etc.
The third phase was an air show by the Pakistan Army Aviation unit of Mushshak planes which dipped a wing when flying over the podium as a salute for the chief guest followed by difficult manoeuvres and formations such as crisscrossing or making the figure eight.
The fourth phase of the parade comprised floats representing all provinces and regions of Pakistan starting with the imaginatively decorated Balochistan float followed by Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.
Ahead of each float and on them also children of the Army Public School tried replicating the cultures of all these places with dances in traditional attire.
Later, a wreath was laid at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah along with Karachi Corps Commander Lieutenant General Shahid Baig Mirza.
PAF Base Masroor
A ceremony was also held at the PAF Base Masroor where the Sindh governor was the chief guest and Air Vice Marshal Ahsan Rafiq, Air Officer Commanding, Southern Air Command was also present.
The special feature here was a display of various aircraft and other auxiliary equipment. An air show by PAF’s F-16, JF-17, Mirage and F7 PG aircraft also drew attention and admiration of visitors.
Nishan-i-Pakistan at Seaview Beach
The governor also served as the chief guest at Nishan-i-Pakistan before which the Pakistan Navy held its programme.
Speaking on the occasion, Commander Coast Rear Admiral Mohammad Moazzam Ilyas said that it was an honour to give one’s life for one’s country.
“September 6 reminds us of the 1965 war when thanks to its brave soldiers Pakistan was able to defeat an enemy that was three times its own size,” he said while reminding about PNS Ghazi’s heroics at Dwarka.
“When needed brave soldiers give up their lives for their country without a moment’s thought. It is because of them the enemy remains at bay,” he said.
“Today, Pakistan faces threats from the outside as well as inside but our brave soldiers are our shields against all such threats. We did not compromise when the country’s security was at stake yesterday, we don’t do it today and it will be the same tomorrow as well,” he said.
In his message, Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi also paid tribute to the martyrs and ghazis who rendered immense sacrifices while the nation stood united behind its soldiers, sailors and airmen in the defence of the motherland.
The admiral said Pakistanis needed to remind themselves that as a nation they had been tested on numerous occasions whether on account of aggression from across the border or by extremist elements.
Yet they had always emerged more resolute by adhering to the spirit of Quaid-i-Azam’s golden principles of ‘Faith, Unity and Discipline’.
The admiral reiterated that the Defence Day of Pakistan demands from Pakistan’s armed forces a renewal of their pledge to work selflessly and sacrifice whatever it takes for a brighter and better tomorrow of their future generations.
Meanwhile, the exciting display put on by the navy at the beach included a martial arts demonstration followed by another stunning demonstration of coordinated assaults to rescue hostages by the Pak Marines and SSG (N).
There was also a fly-past by the naval air arm comprising a P-3C Orion, an ATR, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency’s Defender Aircraft and Alouette, and Sea King helicopters.
Finally, the Special Service Group or Navy Marines presented a free fall jump display.
Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2018