While we celebrate Defense Day on 6 September we must honor memory of men who offered supreme sacrifice to defend their motherland. There is a long list of such valiant brave sons of this soil starting from Nishan e Haider recipient Capt Muhammad Sarwar Shaheed who laid down his life in First Kashmir War on 27 July 1948 and Naik Saif Ali Janjua who embraced martyrdom on 26 April 1948 and was decorated Hilal-e-Kashmir equivalent to Nishan e Haider and Major Tufail who offered supreme sacrifice on 7 August 1958.

Men like Shaheed Major Aziz Bhatti were given Nishan e Haider for displaying extra ordinary courage against advancing Indian Army in Burki Sector of Lahore in 1965, while Rashid Minhas a young Pilot Officer died while trying to prevent hijacking of a jet to India in 1971. Major Shabbir Sharif was another icon posthumously awarded Nishan e Haider for extra ordinary display of courage in 1971. The 11nth recipient of Nishan e Haider was Havaldar Lalak Jan who embraced shahadat during Kargil war in 1999. All these men sacrificed their today so that rest of us can live with dignity as free citizens of Pakistan.

History must never be distorted and recognition must always be given to those who have earned it The people of Pakistan owe their freedom to pioneers of freedom struggle led by politicians of integrity and commitment like poet philosopher Allama Iqbal, Quaid e Azam MAJ and others. Both Allama Iqbal and MAJ returned from Europe after getting higher education to wage a political struggle. They sacrificed their lucrative careers in Europe to devote their life and lead political struggle which finally culminated in creation of Pakistan on 14 August 1947, inspite of opposition by Congress Party and bias of last Viceroy Lord Mountbatten. Allama Iqbal died in Lahore on 21 April 1938. He was President of Punjab Muslim League and in 1930 espoused idea of separate Muslim majority nation-hood, which became basis for 1940 Resolution. We must always remember that foundations of Muslim league were laid in Dacca on 30 December 1906 under leadership of Nawab Waqar-ul-Mulk, Nawab Salimullah, Zafar Ali Khan and others.

It is a travesty of justice when you see picture of Chaudhry Rehmat Ali displayed next to Quaid e Azam and Allama Iqbal in Lahore. Ch Rehmat’s sole claim to fame was issuing a pamphlet at University of Cambridge Now or Never; Are We to Perish Forever in 1933 and coining word Pakistan. Ch Rehmat Ali belonged to Gujjar Muslim family from Hoshiarpur Punjab. He never returned back to India after he left in 1930 for England where he completed his BA in 1933 and MA in 1940, except for a brief visit on 6 April 1948 where he was critical of Quaid e Azam and dissatisfied with its geographical composition. He was expelled by PM Liaquat Ali Khan and he left in October 1948 never to return back. There are numerous other political leaders like Nishtar, Haji Haroon Abdullah, Qazi Essa, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, Malik Barkat Ali, A K Fazalul Huq known as Sher-e-Bangal etc who lived and died in their motherland and waged struggle for its creation. Even Dalit Hindu minority leaders from Bengal led by Jogendra Nath Mandal was one of founding Fathers of Pakistan and his services were recognized by Quaid who appointed him as First Law Minister.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore.