Published Sep 01, 2018 06:01am

Defence Day: For honour and inspiration

Arif Iftikhar

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.

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.

Defence Day, as the name suggests, commemorates the day when our national armed forces successfully defended the attack of Indian forces on our country in the 1965 war. It is a tribute to our armed forces and all the martyrs of the war. It is celebrated on September 6 each year.

Defence Day is celebrated each year in memory of the sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani armed forces in the 1965 war

The enemy attacked our borders on September 6, 1965, with a view to invade the attacked areas. It was a reaction to stop the advance of Pakistani military in India Occupied Kashmir. They mainly attacked the regions of Lahore, Sialkot and the desert areas of Sindh. The battle lasted till September 22, 1965, when both sides accepted the United Nations-administered ceasefire.

Our military was successful in defending not only the areas attacked but also in protecting the lives of thousands of civilians and their homes. As such, we owe a duty to honour and respect all the military personnel of our country who gave up their lives so that we, our relatives and our fellow countrymen could live peacefully. This respect and honour should also extend to all those military personnel who supported our martyrs, risked their lives and lived to tell the tale.

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.

If that provides inspiration to youngsters to join the military to selflessly serve the country, that would be a noble result.

Published in Dawn, Young World, September 1st, 2018

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