Some of the ‘Heroes’ of 1965 war are still alive to narrate their actions on various fronts, but unfortunately, the celebration of Defence Day has taken a different turn and does nothing to motivate our youth to join the armed forces. Despite many private and government TV channels there was very little done to bring forward the ‘Ghazis’ of 1965 war, who saved Pakistan to tell their stories of bravery and gallantry. This day is called ‘Defence of Pakistan Day’ and it used to be a public holiday on which the veterans used to wear uniforms and display full medals.

I for one felt very emotional and depressed on this September 6, as I remained at home watching TV programs of no consequences. Though the 1965 war lasted for only 17 days, I fought on 4 fronts starting from Rann Kachh operations (April'65) to Kashmir (Aug'65) to Chawinda (Sep'65) to Rajasthan from Oct'65 to Jan'66. When President Ayub Khan was having agreement with Lall Bahadur Shastri at Tashkent on 10 Jan 1966, my guns were firing on Indian positions in Sundra sector as Indians were trying to recapture their lost territory of 1600 square miles in Rajasthan. 8 FF and 18 Punjab were holding the captured territory till the Tashkent Declaration was signed on 10 Jan, 1966.

The officers of these infantry units are still alive to narrate the tough operations of Rajasthan desert. The area was not mapped but we managed to engage the enemy. Our great sportsman Brig Zafar Hayat was one of the company commanders with me who saw the desperate enemy action in that sector to recapture their lost territories.

I suggest that actual 1965 war veterans should be invited by the electronic media on September 6, rather than calling general officers who were commissioned after 1971 war to narrate book versions. Air Vice Martial Shahzad Chaudhary was just 13 years old during 1965 war who was called to a programs to get his views which was not required. Similarly some soldiers who faced the bullets could be called. Lets us celebrate the September 6 in a more objective manner rather than showing change of guards at Mizar-e Iqbal at Lahore or Mizar-e-Quaid at Karachi.

COL (RETD) AZHAR KHWAJA,

Lahore, September 7.