Muhammad Zahid Rifat
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 Shuhdas and
Ghazis who had defended geographical as well as ideological borders of the motherland
boldly and courageously in September 1965 defeating the enemy squarely on the ground,
in the air and on the sea. They had thus written a golden chapter of history of the country
which had come into existence with the blessings of Almighty Allah under inspiring
leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah only on August 14, 1947.
Like the Independence Day, the Defence of Pakistan Day is also being celebrated by the civil, military and political leadership and the entire nation to demonstrate and reiterate
solidarity with the Kashmiris who are struggling indigenously unarmed against occupying
India security forces to secure their birth right of self-determination in accordance with the
lingering unimplemented resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
Kashmir is life line of Pakistan and agenda of sub-continent partition is incomplete without
the Kashmiris exercising their fundamental right and deciding their future themselves.
Following August 5, 2019 unilateral action of Modi Government of India, Pakistan civil and
military leadership as well as the entire nation brushing aside all political and other
differences are persistently availing every opportunity to reiterate their continued moral,
political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris. The lingering and burning Kashmir issue
was discussed by UN Security Council on an urgent request of Pakistan and support of China and other friendly countries after more than five decades as a result of hectic diplomatic efforts of Pakistan.
It on September 6 , 1965 that India had crossed the international borders and attacked
Pakistan through Lahore without a warning or a formal declaration of war even. By doing so
India, which day and night claims to be the largest democracy in the world, had utterly and
totally violated the international charter of the world body United Nations and also all
norms of civilized behavior among the states. In her desire to subjugate the neighbouring
countries of the region , India had quite arrogantly and blatantly brushed aside all her
international commitments. Even after lapse of 54 years, those who had witnessed sneaky and treacherous Indian attack like this scribe and are still alive having 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, had 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
having a big peg of whisky in 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 not only held but also 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 daring fighters were able to blunt the Indian offensive and roll it back forcefully. Dog fight of PAF Sabres over Lahore chasing the Indian aircrafts is still fresh in the memory of many like this scribe who had witnessed the great demonstration of high morale and spirit in the air. Afterwards, the Indian aircrafts hardly dared to attack Lahore through the daysthe war was in progress till September 23, 1965 when the war had ended with the mediation effort of the then Soviet Union and a peace agree was signed by both Pakistan and India at Tashkent. If India had captured about 400 square miles of Pakistan territory then it had also lost about 1600 square miles of its own territory to Pakistan.
Great battle of tanks at Chowinda in Sialkot sector , the largest tank battle since the second World War, was a hard and bitter struggle fought over many days and nights resulting in heavy casualties on both sides. However, the main Indian attack was held, repulsed and heavily mauled. India had used its armoured division and other strike formations in the tankbattle but still could not penetrate in Pakistani territory any further and was forced to withdraw after suffering very heavy losses in men and material. The large number ofdamaged and destroyed Indian tanks remained in the battle field for days together tellingthe visitors from all over the country story of spirited fight of Pakistani troops with limited number of tanks.
During the 1965 war , while the armed forces were engaged in defending geographical
frontiers on ground,air and sea, the entire nation formed strong rock like 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 the unity and unstinted 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 the lowest level ever. 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
In all fairness, Pakistan had emerged from 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 ranks and file in facing the danger and aggression from India. It is quite rightly said and believed that the national unity and full and solid support in unquestionable manner to the armed forces in the field is essential for victory in the war.And this was amply proved during the September 1965 War. With the unstinted support of the entire nation, the armed forces of Pakistan were able to repluse the naked Indian aggression across the international border forcing her to pay the price for it by capturing four times more territory than what India had occupied and forcing her to accept a ceasefire, return to the negotiating table and to vacate each others captured territory.
It was certainly the finest hour of glory of Army, Air Force and Navy and a day to be always
remembered by future generations and paying tributes to the Shuhdas and Ghazis of the
September War. While paying tributes to the Shuhdas and Ghazis of the 17 days war with
India , we should also be offering tributes and prayers also for those officers and jawans of
the armed forces martyred in action since 1948 in the defence of the ideological and
geographical frontiers of the motherland including those laying down their lives in the
ongoing war against the militants, extremists and terrorists to ensure safe and secure
Pakistan for the posterity.
And, while we celebrate the Defence of Pakistan Day on September 6 now and in 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 up 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. All of us should also be paying tributes to the Shuhdas and Ghazis of the
September War and reaching out their families , taking care and thus reiterating that they
are alone and the entire nation is with them in every difficult hour of theirs, please.
(The writer is Lahore-based Freelance Journalist, Columnist and a retired
Deputy Controller (News) Radio Pakistan Islamabad)