The sixth September - Defence of Pakistan Day - has significance in many ways. Firstly, Pakistan’s armed forces could repel the attack by India, a country more than six-time bigger in population and land mass. Secondly, national unity and trust between the people and the army was the spirit of 6th September. It was manifestation of what Sallust (86-34 BC) a well-known historian, friend of Julius Caesar, politician, one of great Latin literary stylists, and a witness to the waning Roman Empire, had said: “By union (harmony) smallest states thrive, by discord the greatest are destroyed”. During 1965 war between Pakistan and India, entire Pakistani nation was cast into the mould of a cohesive unit that frustrated sinister designs of India to decimate the citadel of Islam. Every year on sixth September the nation pays homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives while defending their country, which was 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 destroy or destabilize Pakistan.

During 1965 war, people of Pakistan were united, and as a result Pakistan was not only able to repel the attack but also made advances in Kashmir sector and Sindh sector, as the political parties and people of Pakistan stood by the armed forces. Although some pseudo-intellectuals, political analysts and a few politicians in their writings and talks try to denigrate Pakistan armed forces by stating that Pakistan was defeated, yet the people of Pakistan hold the military in very high esteem because they are privy to the sacrifices made by them in the defense of the motherland. It was in this backdrop that during 1965 war, people irrespective of sect, language, region or province had demonstrated what Quaid-i-Azam had exhorted - Unity, Faith and Discipline. From Khyber to Coxes bazaar in former East Pakistan, people lauded the jawans and officers of Pakistan army, navy and air force for having displayed the valor when India attacked our motherland. It would be relevant to recount the achievements so that the present generation is also aware of historical facts. 

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 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 army had advanced in Sindh right up to Mona Bao station across the desert. Pakistan navy had played its part by launching a successful attack on Dawarka, whereas fear from submarine Ghazi kept the enemy at bay and away from Pakistani coasts. Pak Navy’s complete control over the waters 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 history as a memorable performance of our officers and jawans.

Unfortunately, successive governments became complacent and did not focus on enhancing defence capabilities. And their ineptness failed to maintain the cohesion and national unity achieved during 1965 war. On the other hand, India started preparing for the next round and was looking for an opportunity to attack Pakistan. In Pakistan, internecine conflicts between political parties and contradictions between the Centre and the provinces had provided India the opportunity to incite nationalists and separatists in former East Pakistan. Especially after 1965 war, opulent Hindu minority had started working on disgruntled and misguided elements in then East Pakistan. It has been admitted by retired Indian Generals and at least one former RAW chief who while narrating their experiences confessed in their books that India had trained Mukti Bahini to create chaos and unrest in former East Pakistan that led to disintegration of Pakistan. It transpired that then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had instructed the Indian armed forces to make preparations one year before the civil war to capitalize on the disaffection in then East Pakistan.

In fact, after 1965 war, Pakistan’s so-called allies had stopped especially military aid to Pakistan, 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. However, Pakistan army, navy and air force have been striving to enhance combat capability, and have 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 Medium Range and Short Range Ballistic Missiles from 500-km-range to 3000-km-range, capable of carrying conventional and nuclear payloads and hit the enemy with a pinpoint accuracy. But above all, we have Jawans and officers of the armed forces who are committed to defend the motherland. 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.

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, thus they could frustrate the vicious designs of the hostile neighbor. Whereas 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. Of course, there was international conspiracy with India on the frontline, which had trained Mukti Bahini, and Indian army had also physically supported the rebels by crossing international borders. The hearts of die-hard Pakistanis sink to find that due to odious notions of some elements in the garb of religion and nationalism even today the nation finds itself divided on various planes and into various segments destroying the roots of cohesion and solidarity among its components. Our politicians and people of all strata of society should reinvent the spirit of September 1965, display unity in their ranks to frustrate the designs of the hostile enemy and so-called friends of Pakistan.n