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50th Defence Day celebrated

07 September, 2015

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KARACHI: The 50th Defence Day celebrations marked its beginning on Sunday morning with a 21-gun salute followed by special prayers in mosques across the metropolis.

An impressive change of guard ceremony held at the Mazar-e-Quaid also drew massive attention of the citizens, with around 75-cadet squad belonging to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Academy, Risalpur, taking over duty at the venue.

Air Vice Marshall Asim Zaheer, the chief guest at the ceremony, laid a floral wreath on the Quaid’s grave and inspected the parade held on the occasion.

Later, talking to media persons, he said all three services of Pakistan the armed forces were prepared to meet any challenge, as they did in 1965 with the support of the masses.

In consonance with other parts of the country, a minute of silence was observed at 9:29am for the martyrs of 1965 war and also for those who laid down their lives in the defence of the country over the years.

Static as well as aerial display arranged at PAF, Masroor Base, Mauripur was another centre of attraction as many of the citizens came out of their house appreciating skills of PAF pilots making low fly manifesting their expertise and command.

GOC Major Gen Shahzad Naim Khan inaugurated weapons and war gadgets exhibition at Malir Cantonment.

Tanks, APCs and small-sized weapons used in the battlefield were the centre of attraction for the citizens that mainly consisted of youngsters, children and women, besides retired and serving officials of the Pakistan Army.

A parade held at Pakistan Naval Base Karsaz was also among the major events of the day in city.

A special ceremony was held at the Sindh CM House with Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani as the chief guest.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah has said that the Pakistan Army fought a war in 1965 and won it, and that “our army is fighting a war today against terrorism, and God willing we will also win it”, because in both the wars the army had the support of the nation.

He said that in 1965 war, the Pakistan Army fought with the Indian Army, which was more equipped and had more numerical strength than ours, but “our army had full support of the nation and even our artistes such as Mehdi Hassan and Noor Jenah further inculcated national spirit in our nation with their songs. As a result, we defeated a big army,” he said.

The chief minister said that the Pakistan Army is considered one of the best armies in the world. “We are proud of our forces. We cannot forget the sacrifices of our soldiers who saved with country with their blood. On this day, I salute the mothers, sisters and sons who lost their dear ones for the sake of this country,” he said.

Qaim Ali Shah further said that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto strengthened the defence of the country by making it a nuclear power. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto developed the missile technology. “Today the borders of our country are more secured because of our professionally strong forces,” he said.

Talking about the war against terrorism, the chief minister said that tremors of terrorism were felt by everyone, but Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif felt them the most. “I must praise him for his courage and spontaneous respond. He moved his forces in the epicentre of terrorism (northern areas) and launched a vigorous operation which has produced encouraging results,” he said, adding that today terrorist activities had come down by 80 percent in Karachi.

He also praised the political leadership, including former president Asif Ali Zardari, for supporting the operation launched under the National Action Plan (NAP). “This is a collective effort where the civil and army leadership is on the same page,” he said.

He also praised Rangers DG Major General Bilal Akbar and Sindh IG Ghulam Hyder Jamali for their collective efforts to restore peace in Karachi. “Our police and Rangers personnel have laid down their lives for the sake of peace in Karachi and I cannot forget their sacrifices,” he said, and recalled the recent Eid shopping and outing of Karachiites on the seaside as worth-mentioning examples of improved law and order n Karachi. Qaim Ali Shah was sure that the armed forces would shortly uproot terrorism from the country. Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani speaking on the occasion said that the Pakistan Army has always played its due role under the constitution of Pakistan. “Wars cannot be won merely by army until they have the support of the nation and our nation has always stood by our forces whether it was the war of 1965 or the ongoing war against terrorism,” he said.

Talking about present situation, the Senate chairman said that on the international border, the LoC or the Working Boundary, tension was persistent. “Innocent Pakistanis are being killed by Indian forces. I have visited Sialkot and my heart moved deeply when I saw five- to eight-year-old children lying on stretchers in serious condition. I think these kids would lead their entire life on crutches,” he said.

Raza Rabbani lamented that the US leader (NSA Susan Rice) visited Pakistan and made the demanded of `do more’, as a matter of fact she should have visited Sialkot to witness the aggression of India Army and their designs, but she did not.

It was not the first deceit of the US but “we have witnessed your (US) previous deceits. We were waiting for your fleet, which never turned up”, he recalled.

He also criticised OIC for their silence on Indian aggression. “Our people come out in the streets when anything wrong happens in any Muslim country anywhere in the world, but not a single Muslim country has raised its voice against Indian shelling,” he deplored.

The Senate chairman said that the role once given to shah of Iran was being played by Indian Prime Minister Modi. “We would not accept it because we stand united against you,” he said.

He thanked the chief minister for arranging such a beautiful function where civil and army leadership was sitting together under one roof.

Air Vice Marshal Salman Ahsan Bukhari said that the spirit of the pilots he had witnessed in 1965 has multiplied many times today. “In 1965 we had limited resources, even then with the spirit of nationalism and unity of the nation we had destroyed the Indian forces,” he said, and added that the inclusion of JF-17 in the fleet had further strengthened the air force of the country.

Vice Admiral Arifullah Hussaini said that today “we are not celebrating the war but we are celebrating the national spirit, which was high in 1965”.

Vice Admiral further said, “We are a great nation. In our country there is no stratification as evident in our
neighbouring country. The nations fail when they lose unity and faith. Today with grace of God we have exemplary unity and faith in our ranks,” he said.

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