KARACHI: Pakistan is celebrating Defence Day today to mark the 52nd anniversary of the 1965 war with traditional fervour and renewed pledge to defend the motherland against all threats.
The celebrations commenced with a change of guard ceremony at the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal in Lahore and Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi.
Special prayers were offered after fajr in mosques for progress and prosperity of the country. Fateha and Quran Khawani were also held for the martyrs.
It was on this day in 1965 when Indian forces crossed the international border in the darkness of night to attack Pakistan but the nation foiled the nefarious designs of the enemy.
A number of events are being held across the country to mark the day.
The main event of the day will be held at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi to pay tributes to the martyrs. Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa will address the ceremony, expected to be held in the evening.
At Naval HQ Islamabad, deputy naval chief Rear Admiral Farrukh Ahmed laid floral wreaths at Yadgar-e-Shuhada. Special ceremonies are being held at military garrisons across the country to mark the significance of the day.
An exhibition of defence equipment is under way at Capt Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed Stadium in Peshawar.
Former army chief Raheel Sharif paid a visit to the grave of his brother, Major Shabbir Sharif Shaheed in Lahore.
Events, seminars and rallies are also being organised in Azad Jammu and Kashmir today to highlight the significance of the day.
In Muzaffarabad, the main function will be held at Neelum Stadium which will also be attended by AJK President Sardar Muhammad Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan.
‘Nation to combat challenges with determination, unity’
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, in his special message on Defence Day, vowed that enemies of the country “shall fall short of their bullets, but our resolve shall not.”
In his message on the occasion, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman vowed that the nation would combat any challenges facing it with fierce determination and unity.
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah said Pakistan is now making progress on every front with sure-footed determination and resolve. He added that there is a need to stay vigilant regarding the challenges confronting the region.
‘Pakistan fully capable of defeating aggression’
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in their separate messages on Defence Day, paid homage to all those who laid down their lives in defending the motherland.
The president said the government has launched the National Action Plan under which the armed forces, police and law enforcement agencies are successfully rooting out the menace of terrorism and extremism from the country.
The prime minister said the nation is stronger today than it was in 1965 and stressed that enemies can only be defeated through strict adherence to the cardinal principles of unity, faith and discipline laid down by the Father of the Nation.
Pakistan is on the path of accelerated development and the country is being viewed as an emerging economy by the global economic community, he said.
Abbasi lauded the professional excellence of Pakistan’s military and noted that it has been victorious in the war against terrorism. Operations Zarb-e-Azb, Radd-ul-Fasaad and Khyber-4 have broken the backbone of terrorists, he added.