Like every year, a grateful Pakistani nation is celebrating Defence of Pakistan Day in a befitting manner on September 6 2018, thus paying rich tributes to its Shuhadas and Ghazis who defended its geographical as well as ideological borders in the September 1965, defeating the enemy squarely on the ground, in the air and on the seas. They had thus written a golden chapter in the history of the country which had come into existence with the blessings of Almighty Allah under the inspiring leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on August 14, 1947.

It was on September 6, 1965 when India crossed the international border and attacked Pakistan through Lahore without warning or a formal declaration of war. By doing so India, which claims to be the largest democracy in the world, utterly and totally violated the international charter of the United Nations and also all norms of civilised behaviour among states. In her desire to subjugate the neighbouring countries of the region, India had quite arrogantly and blatantly brushed aside all international commitments.

Even after a lapse of 54 years, those who had witnessed the sneaky and treacherous Indian attack like this scribe and are still alive, have vivid memory of those 17 days and celebrate the Defence of Pakistan Day on September 6 every year and keep reminding the new generations about how the armed forces of Pakistan, solidly backed by the entire nation, defeated the Indian invaders.

The then Indian Army Chief General J.N. Chaudhry was so confident of victory, defeating Pakistani troops and straightaway capturing Lahore that he had announced very proudly of planning to have a big peg of whisky at the Gymkhana Club (then located opposite the Governor House in Bagh-e-Jinnah and now housing the Quaid-i-Azam Library) in the evening of September 6, 1965.

But he could not accomplish his cherished desire as India’s attack on Lahore was beaten back by our troops, inflicting heavy losses to the attackers. The Pakistan Army officers and jawans defending on the ground and fully supported by the Pakistan Air Force’s daring fighters, were able to blunt the Indian offensive and roll it back forcefully. The dogfight of PAF Sabres over Lahore chasing the Indian aircrafts is still fresh in the memory of many like this scribe who witnessed the great demonstration of high morale and spirit in the air. Afterwards, Indian aircrafts hardly dared to attack Lahore through the days the war was in progress till September 23, 1965 when the war ended with the mediation efforts of the Soviet Union. A peace agreement was signed by both Pakistan and India at Tashkent. If India had captured about 400 square miles of Pakistan’s territory then it had also lost about 1600 square miles of its own territory to Pakistan.

During the 1965 war, while the armed forces were engaged in defending geographical frontiers on the ground, air and sea, the entire nation formed a strong rocklike second defence line, extending and providing all support to their forces. In doing so, the people had forgotten as to which government was in power. Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan was at the helm of national affairs as the President, and his inspirational speech after the sneaky Indian attack over Radio Pakistan had infused great spirit and courage among everyone. The national priorities had thus become very clear and unambiguous in those days, any danger to the motherland called for unity and unwavering support to the government and the armed forces and it was forthcoming in a very strong and firm manner. It is a matter of record that during those 17 days Pakistan was at war with India, crime had been reduced negligibly to its lowest levels. No political party or leader was seen trying to draw any advantage out of the war or berate the government of the day for political or personal gain. They were all one and united in the defence of the motherland and defeating the Indian aggressors.

In all fairness, Pakistan had emerged from the 17 days long September 1965 war with India as a strong and self-confident nation, genuinely proud of itself and its armed forces. The nation had demonstrated utmost unity in its rank and file in facing danger and aggression from India. It is quite rightly said that national unity and full and solid support in an unquestionable manner to the armed forces in the field is essential for our victory in the war.

While we celebrate the Defence of Pakistan Day on September 6 now and in the future as well with continued blessings of Almighty Allah, it should also be observed as a thanksgiving day. In line with the spirit and national unity demonstrated during the September War being over and above all petty personal, political and other considerations whatsoever, we should all be praying for the safety, security and solidarity of Pakistan and also seeking blessings of Almighty Allah for continuously granting the strength, courage, commitment and determination to continue protecting and safeguarding at all costs and offering all sacrifices, the freedom and honour of our God-given motherland Pakistan for now and always.