Mohammad Jamil

Every year, on September 6 the nation pays homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives while defending their country during 1965-war between Pakistan and India – six times bigger in population and size. This is one of the most important events in the annals of Pakistan’s history when our military officers and soldiers heroically foiled India’s attempt to undermine the citadel of Islam. During 17 days of war, the entire nation was cast into the mould of a cohesive unit. Politicians shunned their differences; and despite the fact that nation was divided after presidential election between Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah and General Ayub Khan all political parties and people of Pakistan stood by the armed forces. Though efforts are being made to denigrate military by some pseudo-intellectuals, political analysts and some politicians, yet the people of Pakistan hold the military in very high esteem because of the supreme sacrifices they made in defence of the motherland, and they also always helped them whenever natural calamity hit the nation.

The Defence Day of Pakistan has significance in many ways, but national unity and trust between the people and the army is the spirit of September 6. During 1965 war, people irrespective of sect, language, region or province had demonstrated what Quaid-i-Azam had exhorted - Unity, Faith and Discipline. It is relevant to recount the achievements so that the present generation is also aware of the past events, and do not fall a prey to the propaganda of detractors of Pakistan. From Khyber to Coxes bazaar in former East Pakistan, people paid tributes and lauded the jawans and officers of Pakistan army, navy and air force for having displayed the valour when India attacked our motherland. The coordinated action of the army, navy and air force from Lahore, Karachi, Runn of Kacch to Chamb Jorian, had made all sectors the graveyard of ruined dreams of Indian leadership and army commanders who had dreamt of celebrating victory in Lahore. Pakistan with a relatively small army and limited resources had indeed given adequate response to the enemy on more than two thousand miles long border.

India's invincibility as a regional power was shredded into bits when Pakistan army in various sectors including Chwinda frustrated India's pernicious designs. Pakistan navy had played its part by launching a successful attack on Dawarka, when fear from submarine Ghazi kept the enemy at bay and away from Pakistani coasts. Pak Navy's complete control over the waters despite very limited resources was indeed a miracle. Pakistan Air Force had also proved its mettle by continuous air attacks from Pathankot to Agra; and Pakistan Army's resistance for every inch of land would go down in the annals of history as a remarkable and memorable performance. But successive governments became complacent and did not focus on enhancing defence capabilities. On the other hand, India started preparing for the next round and was looking for Pakistan's soft belly for an attack. In Pakistan, contradictions between the Centre and the Provinces were there which had provided India an opportunity to incite nationalists in former East Pakistan, though such contradictions are resolved with dialogue in other developing countries.

During the last few years of united Pakistan, opulent Hindu minority had worked on misguided elements and also those who had not weaned off the poison of sham nationalism. India had trained Mukti Bahini to create chaos and unrest in former East Pakistan. It was a tremendous shock for Pakistan when Pakistan's allies did not ask India to refrain from interfering in internal affairs of Pakistan. They rather stopped military as well as economic aid, with the result that Pakistan could neither get spare parts for the planes and other military hardware nor could it replenish the outdated fighter planes and other equipment. Since then, Pakistan army, navy and air force have been striving to enhance combat capability, and have also succeeded in developing tanks, missiles and other military hardware. By the grace of God, Pakistan today is an atomic power and has also developed surface-to-surface; surface to air, and air-to-air missiles. Pakistan possesses Intermediate Range, Medium Range and Short Range Ballistic Missiles capable of carrying conventional and nuclear payloads and hit the enemy with a pinpoint accuracy from 500 kilometres to 3000 kilometres.

But above all, we have jawans and officers of the armed forces who are committed to defend the country. They always helped the civil government to rescue the people whenever a catastrophe hit the country like 2005 tragic earthquake or flash floods of 2008. During the last few years, our armed forces have fought terrorists, enemy agents and misguided elements in Swat, Malakand Division and South Waziristan. And they have successfully demolished terrorists’ infrastructure. However, there are some remnants of the militants, and the military is resolved to destroy them hook, line and sinker. Historical evidence suggests that even the strongest army cannot succeed unless it has the backing of the people. In 1965, armed forces had the support of people of Pakistan and frustrated the vicious designs of the hostile neighbour. In 1971, the nation stood divided because of the ineptness of the rulers, who could not resolve the contradictions between the provinces, and as a result Pakistan was disintegrated.

But the nation should not lower its guards, as there are some agents’ provocateurs, palmed-off media men and politicians who criticise the premier agency ISI and the armed forces for either intelligence failure or an incident like 2nd May in Abbottabad. They also resorted to scathing criticism when terrorists attacked GHQ, Mehran Naval base or any other military assets. They should remember that invariably all the countries have intelligence agencies; however, CIA, KGB, RAW, ISI, Mosad and few others who had experienced intelligence failures, but people in those countries do not disgrace their military or agencies for their failures. After 9/11, there has been a paradigm shift in the policies of all the countries. Pakistan is under tremendous pressure because of situation in Afghanistan. Our leadership should, therefore abandon confrontation and focus on meeting the challenges faced by the country, otherwise enemies of Pakistan and terrorists would feel emboldened and hurt Pakistan. All pillars of the state should also shun confrontation and work in unison to safeguard integrity of the country.n