Great nations never forget the sacrifices of their martyrs. Every Pakistani celebrates 6th September as Defense Day every year. On this very day, Pakistan’s forces valiantly stood against the Indian aggression in 1965 when New Delhi started almost full-scale war against Pakistan. India threatened the territorial integrity of Pakistan through an all-out war. Despite having limited economic options and pressure from international community, Pakistani forces bravely fought against India and won the tough battle. The background of Pakistan Defense Day can be traced back to the conflict between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region. The 1965 Indo-Pak War began on April 6, 1965, when India launched an attack on Pakistan. This war continued for 17 days and ended on September 23, 1965, after a ceasefire was brokered by the Soviet Union and the United States.
Pakistan Defense Day is observed to pay tribute to the armed forces and civilians who defended the country during this war. The day is marked by various activities and events, including military parades, special prayers, and ceremonies held at military and civilian institutions to honor the sacrifices made by Pakistani soldiers and civilians during the conflict. One of the most iconic events associated with Pakistan Defense Day is the 1965 Victory Parade held in Lahore, where Pakistan showcased its military might and the resolve of its people. This parade has become a symbol of national pride and unity. Additionally, on Pakistan Defense Day, the country remembers and honors those who received military awards for their bravery and valor during the war. The President and Prime Minister of Pakistan often lay wreaths at the graves of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country.
In his book, “Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945”, Creveld identifies the elements of ‘moral force’, whom he calls fighting power, the willingness to fight and the readiness, if necessary, to die. The greater these elements, the less vulnerable an armed force will be to demoralization.
‘Moral force’, then, is the crucial factor in determining the combat power of any belligerent. During the 1965 war such elements like will to fight and ‘moral force’ have been more found in the personnel of Pakistan’s Armed Forces then those of India.
Likewise, this very day has come at a time when Pakistan is facing multiple challenges and issues of grave nature externally and internally, which are worrying all the citizens. As regards internal challenges, by imbibing the same spirit of the 1965 war, Pakistan’s Armed Forces, during the successful military operations, Zarb-e-Azb, Radd-ul-Fasaad and Operation Khyber 4 have killed many terrorists through ground offensive and many of them surrendered before the Army. And during street to street fighting, without bothering for their lives, and by air-dropping commandos at the risky places, our forces made a great headway in disrupting the militant’s supply routes and links. While country’s primarily intelligence agency ISI also recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from the possession of the terrorists. Thus, security agencies have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists.
Peace has been restored in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Karachi as well, including other vulnerable regions. Regrettably, under the cover of so-called democracy, some irresponsible leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and recently-ruling alliance of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) have changed their political differences into political enmity. These rival entities also blamed each other regarding this year’s May 9 events—attacks on the military and civil installations, which have been condemned by every segment of society. At this critical juncture, Pakistan is facing multi-faceted crises and challenges like corruption, inflation, soaring prices of commodities, energy-shortage, lack of investment, upsurge of the US dollar, increase in oil prices, load shedding, inability of the importers to open letters of credit (LC) due to lack of dollars etc., and continued dependence upon the US-led developed countries, IMF and World Bank for financial aid—and decline in the foreign exchange reserves of the State Bank of Pakistan.
Instead of decreasing, political unrest in Pakistan is rapidly increasing, taking the country
towards lawlessness. So, the Defense Day demands that the former government of the PDM’s parties, the PTI, media owners, Army, including all other segments of society must show selfless national unity practically, which is very essential to pull the country out of the ongoing serious crises and, and to meet the Indian war-mongering designs. Overall, Pakistan Defense Day is a day of reflection, remembrance, and celebration of the resilience and courage displayed by Pakistanis during a challenging period in the nations’ history. It serves as a reminder of the importance of defending the country’s sovereignty and upholding the principles of unity, faith, and discipline.
The writer is an Islamabad based expert of strategic affairs.