The nation marked its 55th Defence Day on Sunday to commemorate the sacrifices of fallen heroes during the 1965 war.
The main ceremony for Defence Day was held in the morning at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, according to Radio Pakistan, where Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa laid a floral wreath at the Martyrs Monument.
A change of guards was 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, according to Radio Pakistan.
In the evening, President Arif Alvi conferred honours to soldiers of the armed forces for their valour and bravery, during a ceremony at Aiwan-i-Sadr. The ceremony was attended by senior officials of the army, federal cabinet members as well as families of serving and martyred officials.
The president presented the honours for martyred soldiers to their family members.
Wing Commander Mohammad Noman Ali Khan, who shot down an Indian air force aircraft that attempted to invade Pakistan's airspace in February 2019, was conferred with the prestigious Sitara-i-Jurat.
'Reminder of spirit and valour'
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.
'Armed forces fully capable of defending our country'
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 via Twitter.
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.
PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz 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".
Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that the nation paid tribute to its martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the security, defence and peace of the country. "Today we also reiterate that Pakistan is standing with its Kashmiri brethren and will continue to do so."
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said that Sept 6 was not only a reminder of the bravery of the armed forces in the 1965 war but was also a reminder that "when the nation is united, no power in the world can defeat them".
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Asim Saleem Bajwa also took to Twitter to pay tribute to the martyrs.
"The whole nation stands behind [the armed forces] with full trust. Let’s not forget ours are the best and only forces in the world to have won war on terror so comprehensively," he said.
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.