KARACHI: Activities in connection with the 54th Defence of Pakistan Day, commemorating the heroic front and supreme sacrifices of Pakistan’s armed forces, against its aggressor and numerically superior enemy with an unprecedented display of unity and resolve during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, started early in the city on Friday with the change of guard ceremony at the Quaid’s mausoleum.
A contingent of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in their ceremonial attire presented the guard of honour before assuming guard duty at the mausoleum. Air Vice Marshal Hamid Rashid Randhawa, the chief guest on the occasion, inspected the parade. He also laid a wreath at the grave of the Father of the Nation and offered Fateha. The national anthem of Pakistan was also played at the ceremony.
Prayers were offered at all PAF bases and installations. Federal Interior Minister retired brigadier Ijaz Shah also visited the house of Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas and met the mother of the youngest Nishan-i-Haider of Pakistan.
‘On this day, our valiant armed forces routed the false ambitions of the enemy on all the three fronts’
Later in the day, there was the aerial and static display of PAF aircraft at PAF Base Masroor, where Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah was the chief guest while Air Officer Commanding, Southern Air Command, Air Vice Marshal Abbas Ghuman was also present. The chief guest inaugurated the event and witnessed the aircraft and various stalls. A flying display by PAF aircraft, including F-16, JF-17, Mirage, F7 PG and AW-139 helicopter, was thoroughly enjoyed by the spectators.
As a part of the army celebrations on the day, Commander Karachi Corps Lieutenant General Humayun Aziz together with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah laid wreaths at the Yadgar-i-Shuhada at Malir Garrison. Later both the corps commander and the Sindh chief minister met the families of martyrs.
Speaking on the occasion, the Karachi corps commander said that the supreme sacrifices of the martyrs would not be forgotten. Later, they also visited the family of Major Moeez Maqsood Baig and offered Fateha. Major Baig was among the four army personnel who had lost their lives in an improvised explosive device explosion in the Kharqamar area of North Waziristan’s tribal district in June this year. While the other four belonged to Hunza, Lakki Marwat and Chakwal, Major Baig belonged to Karachi.
The significance of the day was also highlighted at special gatherings of officers and men of the Pakistan Navy (PN) at all their units and establishments following the flag hoisting ceremony.
All ships and establishments were decorated and illuminated in accordance with naval tradition. Other activities of the day included various sports activities, declamation, quiz and national song competitions at the PN-administered schools and colleges. Meanwhile, in the Karachi harbour, there were fishing boats rallies and races organised by the PN. Similar events were also held in Ormara, Gwadar and other coastal areas of the country in connection with Defence Day celebrations.
Earlier, in his message on the occasion, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi paid rich tributes to the martyrs and ghazis who rendered immense sacrifices for the nation which stood united behind its soldiers, sailors and airmen.
“On this day, our valiant armed forces, through their sheer grit and resolve, routed the false ambitions of the enemy on all the three fronts,” he said.
Expressing complete solidarity with the Kashmiri brethren, the admiral said that Indian actions in Occupied Kashmir had endangered the peace of the whole region.
He reiterated that Pakistan would continue to support the just and rightful struggle of the Kashmiris on all fronts. He also called for a renewed pledge to work selflessly for a brighter and better tomorrow. “By anchoring our unswerving faith in Allah and drawing strength from the glorious traditions of our predecessors, we must commit to do our utmost to transform Pakistan into a prosperous and vibrant Islamic state,” he said.
Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2019