RAWALPINDI: The main ceremony with regard to Defence and Martyrs Day was held at General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi on Thursday, with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, senior civilian and military leaders, and other dignitaries in presence.
Families of martyrs, members of the federal cabinet, heads of political parties, lawmakers and celebrities were also among the attendees at the ceremony.
The Pakistani nation celebrated the day to pay tribute to its martyrs on the 53rd anniversary of the 1965 war.
On this day, 53 years ago, Indian forces had crossed the international border in the darkness of night to attack Pakistan, but the nation foiled the nefarious designs of the enemy.
COAS vows to avenge blood being shed on border
Addressing the ceremony, the COAS said today was a day of solidarity with martyrs of Pakistan and that they all were united for the defence of the motherland.
He said that September 6 was an important day in the country’s history and that they had learnt a lot from the 1965 and 1971 wars.
“Our forces and nation have rendered sacrifices in the war against terrorism,” General Bajwa said. “Our houses, schools and leaders were attacked. Efforts were made to weaken us internally.”
Noting that more than 70,000 Pakistanis were martyred and injured in this war, the army chief vowed to collectively fight this menace of terrorism.
He said that enlightened nations do not forget their martyrs, adding, “We will avenge the blood flowing on the border.”
General Bajwa said the country passed through a very difficult phase during the past two decades and the war is still continued.
He also said that continuity of democracy was necessary in the country. The army chief further paid a tribute to the Kashmiri brethren for their struggle for right to self-determination.
Following the address, the prime minister, together with the army chief, laid a floral wreath on the martyr’s monument.
Pakistan will not fight anyone else’s war, says PM
In his address with the ceremony, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the country will not be part of anyone else’s war.
The premier said that he was against the involvement of armed forces in the foreign war from the very first day.
He said that if there is one functionally intact institution in Pakistan, it is Pakistan Army.
“The Pakistan army is functioning at its best because of non-political interference and its priority for merit,” the prime minister said. “Political interference destroys institutions.”
He said he still remembers the 1965 war and acknowledged the passion of the nation during the wartimes.
PM Khan said that the country’s foreign policy will be for the betterment of the nation under his command.
He further stated that there is no civil-military tension among the institutions as all have the shared objective of taking the country forward.
Earlier in the morning, a change-of-guard ceremonies was held at the mausoleums of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi and at Allama Iqbal’s in Lahore.
During the ceremony at the Quaid’s mausoleum, a smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Air Force assumed guard duties.
In Lahore, Garrison Commander Major General Muhammad Aamir laid a floral wreath and offered Fateha.
Meanwhile, a special ceremony to mark Defence Day took place at Fortress Stadium in Lahore under the aegis of Pakistan Army.
Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar was the Chief Guest on the occasion. Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and Corps Commander Lahore Lt Gen Aamir Riaz attended the ceremony.
Special events to pay homage to the martyrs were also held at all district headquarters, with families of martyrs participating in them to commemorate their sacrifices.
Wreath laying ceremonies were also held at the mausoleums of the recipients of Nishan-e-Haider and attended by senior officials of the respective areas across the country.
After fajr, special prayers were offered in mosques for the country’s progress and prosperity. Fateha and Quran Khawani events for the martyrs were also held later in the day.