Defence Day (Youm-e-Difa) is celebrated in Pakistan as a national day on 6th September to commemorate the epic struggle of Pakistani nation, led by its valorous armed forces, in beating off the Indian military attack on Pakistan. In that conflict, the Pakistan armed forces successfully countered the design of the much stronger Indian military with superior military stratagem.
The history of 1965 War is replete with the tales of Pakistan armed forces rendering supreme sacrifices in the line of duty. While sacrificing their lives for the state’s defence, Pakistani forces portrayed practical version of our national poet Dr. Iqbal’s verse i.e.
“Soft like Silk in the Company of Mates
And Steel is Momin if Truth and False Awaits”2
Pakistan Army, Navy and Air force, all of them took part in the 1965 War beyond their capacity, as Pakistan, being a nascent state was short of any sound defence infrastructure at that time. The initial thrust of Indian Military on Lahore-Kasur front was soon stalled, but, later on it escalated into a full scale war. Though Pakistan armed forces could not match the Indian forces in terms of number and weaponry, yet their morale and commitment to defend their Motherland was certainly matchless. On one hand, there was the tank battle at Chawinda (Sialkot front), where world witnessed the courage and passion of our ground forces. And on the other hand, there were world records of PAF fighters and the successful Naval Operation Dwarka, which reflected professionalism, determination and dedication of PAF and PN, respectively.
The entire nation was united to defend the homeland and to counter adversary’s malice. The Pakistan armed forces paid Indian Military in same coin; therefore, Indian Army suffered immense losses of men and material beyond their expectations. Eventually, Pakistan took the war on Indian soil and then the Indian leadership found no alternative but to rush to the UNSC with a ceasefire request.
Nevertheless, the issue between both states was settled later on in Tashkent Declaration 1968.
Since then the day is celebrated to pay homage to those national heroes who were martyred in the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965. From the beginning, common rituals of the day included a variety of social activities which involved not only military but civilian participation.
Therefore, these activities were quite helpful in strengthening the bond of civil-military relationship. That dynamic civil-military interaction gave birth to a mutual harmonious relationship and a sense of mutual trust between these two concomitant building blocks of state.
Another motive to celebrate September 6th as a national day is to make youth aware of the hardships their elders faced while defending the state.
The awareness will make the young generation realize the price their predecessors paid to deliver them a free state. Hence, it would enhance the spirit of nationalism, which ultimately, integrate a nation firmly.
Moreover, with reference to the day, youngsters are also encouraged to participate in extra-curricular activities. Print media too plays a vital role in nation building. It publishes war based stories of martyrs and special editions in the memory of the 1965 War. And then there is electronic media- a dynamic source of massive information, it broadcasts entertainment programs based on true stories of war heroes and other military related documentary programs. It also does coverage of the ceremonies held in the memory of martyrs. It not only enhances the sense of nationhood among masses but also make them proud of their responsible military forces. September 6th also provides the nation with the opportunity to once more recall the very ideology for which this piece of land was acquired.
Pakistani nation still celebrates Youm-e-Difa every year, but for past few years, the zeal and zest among the masses-an integral component of the day’s celebrations, is a little faded. A sordid reason of this fact is the wave of terrorism which has engulfed the state for nearly a decade.
Consequently, this situation has abandoned many civil-military gatherings due to engagement of Pakistan Military forces at several fronts in and outside borders. Nevertheless, the facts remain certain and the nation believes it, that Pakistan’s armed forces are always vigilant to secure the states’ boundaries. Because this is what armed forces are meant for, the essence of their very being is to secure the country and national interests. From the sea shores of Karachi to the heights of Siachen, the national defenders are fully alive. They risk their lives for the Motherland’s security and always willing to sacrifice their lives in the line of duty.
Pakistan’s Military with broad national support has the capability and the courage, to counter any threat imposed against Pakistan’s national security, sovereignty and integrity. The military must be appreciated, for; it is playing a pivotal role not only in the maintenance of South Asian regional peace and stability but also contributing to the world peace with its irrefutable involvement in the global War on Terror. Thus, at both national and international forums, Pakistan’s forces are proving themselves as strong as steel when truth and false awaits.