Hajra Saeed - Defense as we know is important for every country, but as history reveals; it has particularly been a matter of grave magnitude for our country ever since it came into being, as various geographical, religious and political factors have contributed to that.

The month of September marks our first and most important war which was fought for seventeen days.  Every year we pay tribute to all those people who defended the country magnificently in very dire circumstances. However while we remember those whom we owe so much, our debt is even greater to our present heroes; which include the army, air force, navy, police, security personnel and every single person who has done something in his or her capacity for the defense of Pakistan. Without them we would be at the mercy of our enemies, whom we are surrounded by, a fact that we are all aware of. Hence they are engaged in an ongoing process of serving and sacrifice. This is why every day we continue to lose countless precious lives whose loss is not only for their families, but for the nation as well. 

Here I would especially like to mention those serving in Siachin. The Siachen Glacier is the longest glacier in the world, outside the Polar Regions. It was discovered in 1907, yet it remained an uninhabited and unexplored region due to the extreme cold climate. However in 1984 the Indians invaded it; since then it has become the world’s highest battlefield, as a silent war is being fought by the Pakistani soldiers with immense resilience and bravery for these past 29 years. Something most of us don’t even realize.

It is their unwavering endeavor to foil any attempts by the Indians, to occupy or capture more territory, which could prove to be very damaging for us. To do this they have to endure the most precarious of conditions. They are living at a height of nearly 6,000m, where it can sometimes be even upto -80°C in the winters, which is worsened by regular snowstorms that blow away or bury tents, stores and shelters. This is why usual means of sending and receiving information or fortification is not possible because men and equipment cannot move about freely. 

Furthermore natural calamities in such an area are often the reason of casualties. We were witness to a great tragedy last year when on 7th April, 139 men lost their lives in a massive avalanche. (These avalanches have also been caused by noisy aircrafts flying close to the mountains or heavy firing, both done by the adversary).

Therefore I would like to accolade all these people.  In the words of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (current Indonesian President):

“Every society needs heroes. And every society has them. The reason we don't often see them is because we don't bother to look. There are two kinds of heroes. Heroes who shine in the face of great adversity, who perform an amazing feat in a difficult situation.

And heroes who live among us, who do their work unceremoniously, unnoticed by many of us, but who make a difference in the lives of others. Heroes are selfless people who perform extraordinary acts. The mark of heroes is not necessarily the result of their action, but what they are willing to do for others and for their chosen cause. Even if they fail, their determination lives on for others to follow. The glory lies not in the achievement, but in the sacrifice.”

So we must never let the blood and efforts of our heroes go to waste at any cost. We cannot let the existing younger generation and the future generations to come, at any point say that all their efforts have been in vain. And although our circumstances and human failings have given way to pessimistic thinking, nevertheless ‘they’ have remained true to their oath in spirit and heart, and that is what we shall remember and celebrate!

Pakistan Zindabad, Pakistan Paindabad. n