ISLAMABAD/MUZAFFARABAD: As the nation along with the armed forces observed Defence and Martyrs Day with a renewed pledge to protect geographical and ideological boundaries and territorial integrity of the motherland against all threats, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday said Kashmir was an unfinished agenda of Pakistan’s completion.
Speaking at the main ceremony of the day held at the General Headquarters, he said it would remain so until a solution was found on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. He emphatically stated that Pakistan’s armed forces had not refrained and would not refrain from any sacrifice for the defence of the motherland. “A peaceful, strong and prosperous Pakistan is our destination and we are steadfastly moving towards that end,” he remarked.
Gen Bajwa said the country’s armed forces ensured the security of the motherland by rendering sacrifices both in the conventional war and the fight against terrorism. He pointed out that Pakistan achieved unparalleled successes in the war against terrorism which were an example for the whole world.
He said that today there was better environment of peace in Pakistan and the country gave the message of peace and security to the world. He said Pakistan had fulfilled its responsibilities in the war against terrorism and now it was the responsibility of the world community to fulfil its responsibility and reject all forms of terrorism and extremism. “Our fight now is against poverty, unemployment and economic backwardness following successfully confronting the menace of terrorism.”
PM, army chief meet victims of ceasefire violations, troops at LoC; ceremonies expressing solidarity with Kashmiris, paying tribute to martyrs held across country, AJK
Paying tribute to the martyrs and Ghazis, the army chief said the entire nation was proud of their courage and resolve.
The army chief voiced serious concern over the prevailing situation in occupied Kashmir and said its population was the victim of the oppression and tyranny of India’s Hindutva government. “State terrorism is on the surge in the held valley.”
Gen Bajwa assured the Kashmiri people that Pakistan would not leave them alone or at the mercy of circumstances and said the hearts of both Pakistanis and Kashmiris beat together. He said the valiant people and armed forces of Pakistan were ready to sacrifice anything for their Kashmiri brethren.
“Kashmir is our jugular vein. We will fulfil our commitment towards Kashmir till last bullet, soldier, breath and drop of blood,” he said, adding that Pakistan would go to any extent in support of the oppressed Kashmiri people.
The army chief said Pakistan had played a very positive role for regional peace and stability, adding that Pakistan had strived for peace and stability in Afghanistan and would continue these efforts in future as well. He said Pakistan had always supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, adding that due to intense diplomatic efforts of the last few months, the destiny of peace appeared to be very close in Afghanistan.
Earlier, Gen Bajwa laid floral wreath at the Martyrs Monument. Bereaved families of the martyrs attended the ceremony at special invitation.
PM, army chief visit LoC
Later in the day, Prime Minister Khan and Gen Bajwa visited the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the military’s media wing said.
According to a brief statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the prime minister, who was also accompanied by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Chairman of the Special Committee on Kashmir Syed Fakhar Imam, was briefed on the ongoing situation along the LoC.
The statement did not mention the area where the visit took place. It, however, said the prime minister interacted with the victims of ceasefire violations by the Indian army and later spoke to the troops stationed there.
Mr Khan lauded the state of readiness, effective response to Indian ceasefire violations and high morale of the Pakistan Army.
Talking to the families of martyrs and injured persons, he appreciated their resilience, spanning over decades. “India’s deliberate targeting of unarmed civilians in AJK and continued siege of innocent Kashmiris in occupied Jammu and Kashmir are [the] worst examples of human rights violations,” he told them.
The prime minister reiterated Pakistan’s unflinching resolve to firmly stand by the Kashmiris struggling for their inalienable right to self-determination. “While our current efforts are to expose the fascist Indian regime to the world, our armed forces remain fully capable and prepared to thwart any misadventure or aggression by India,” he declared.
Meanwhile, three young boys were injured on Friday after Indian troops
resorted to firing with small arms and mortar shells from across the restive dividing line, officials said. The boys were wounded in Seri sector of Kotli district after a group from among the participants of a rally defied warnings by the administration and got close to the LoC. They were caught in firing from across the LoC.
Special prayers, ceremonies
The day dawned with special prayers in the mosques for the well-being and prosperity of the country. The day began with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salutes in the provincial capitals. Special prayers were also offered after Fajr prayers for the independence of occupied Kashmir as well as for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.
Wreath laying ceremonies were held at the mausoleums of the recipients of Nishan-i-Haider (the highest gallantry award), which were attended by the leaders and senior officials of the respective areas across the country.
Radio Pakistan and TV channels aired special programmes based on interviews of family members of martyrs. This year the Defence and Martyrs Day was officially declared as Kashmir Solidarity Day.
A special ceremony was held at the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal in Lahore where Maj Gen Mohammad Aamir laid a wreath on the mausoleum.
A special ceremony, including the changing of the guards, was also held at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam in Karachi. A ceremony was also held at the Naval Headquarters in Islamabad.
Government offices throughout the country were closed at 3pm to mark the day and show solidarity with the Kashmiris and martyrs. People were encouraged to visit the families of the martyrs to assure them of their full support.
A highlight of the day was visits by dignitaries, including governors, chief ministers and federal and provincial ministers to the houses of martyrs.
While visiting the house of a martyr in Islamabad, Foreign Minister Qureshi said all of Pakistan was proud of the nation’s martyrs and veterans. He said the curfew in occupied Kashmir had been in place for 33 days, adding that the full picture of the situation was not yet presented before the world, but reports coming from the region were frightening.
Special Assistant to the PM on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan also visited the house of a martyr in Rawalpindi.
Like other parts of the country, Defence and Martyrs Day was also observed in Azad Kashmir to reaffirm the support for the oppressed people of occupied Kashmir. In Muzaffarabad, the day dawned with a 21-gun salute, followed by a sober ceremony at Neelum Stadium, where AJK President Sardar Masood Khan was the chief guest.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Khan paid homage to those who had sacrificed their lives while defending geographical frontiers of the country, describing them as heroes of the country and the nation. He also paid tribute to the people of occupied Kashmir, saying they were actually fighting a war for the completion of Pakistan.
Addressing the function, General Officer Commanding Murree Maj Gen Amir Ahsan Nawaz paid tribute to the people of AJK for valiantly resisting the cowardly acts of India at the LoC. “Kashmir is our lifeline, like the blood running in our veins, and Pakistan will remain incomplete without Kashmir,” he said.
Members of the AJK cabinet and assembly, senior civil and military officials and a large number of family members of the martyrs were present on the occasion.
Earlier, President Masood Khan and Maj Gen Nawaz laid floral wreaths at a monument to the martyrs.
Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2019