The term Defence Day Celebrations is synonymous to the resolve of Pakistani Nation to defend the territorial integrity of its motherland from external and internal aggression while preserving the Ideology of Pakistan. Commonly celebrated on 6th September to commemorate the great sacrifices rendered by Pakistan Armed Forces against the Indian display of its military might, the Defence Day actually denotes each and every occasion when Pakistani Armed Forces supported by all segments of the society defeated both covert and overt attempts by our adversary to inflict damage to the core interests of Pakistan. Since the creation of Pakistan, India has always been conspiring to weaken the newly born state by employing all available means at its disposal. The first act of aggression committed by India was to invade Muslim majority State of Jammu & Kashmir which remains the bone of contention between the two arch rivals in South Asia till to date. Today's Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are the living legends of the bravery and resolve of the people of the newly founded nation. United uprising and response generated by all segments of Pakistani society against this act of external aggression was the first display of the "Defence Day". Baffled by the spirit of the Pakistani nation to not only defend its territorial integrity but the ability to regain Indian Occupied Kashmir, India took shelter of the United Nations.
Misconstrued by its military might India once again ventured to challenge the integrity of Pakistani Nation by attacking West Pakistan in 1965. Indian Generals had fantasised to swiftly brush aside the comparatively small and ill equipped Pakistan Army and have dinner at Lahore Gymkhana. To their surprise entire Pakistani nation rose against this act of external aggression and fought side by side its Armed Forces to defend each and every inch of its motherland. The Indian Strategists had wrongly appreciated the Centre of Gravity of Pakistan as lying only in its Armed Forces whereas it actually lied in the unanimous support of entire Pakistani Nation for its Armed Forces. Ability to get united against any external threat is the hallmark of Pakistani Nation which is acknowledged by all and sundry. From the great sacrifices of Major Aziz Bhatti and Lance Naik Muhammad Hussain at the front line to the morale boosting ever green melodious songs of Noor Jehan to the spirit of Cities of Sialkot and Sargodha all contributed to defeat the nefarious designs of our enemy; this is the true spirit of the celebrations of Defence Day.
In 1965, Indian planners had thought that by capturing vital spaces in West Pakistan they would be able to isolate East Pakistan. Having been thoroughly defeated in the West India shifted its focus to East and ultimately succeeded in dismembering Pakistan in 1971 due to short sighted approach of the then Political and military leadership. On the Western front Indian efforts to capture sensitive spaces were foiled by brave sons of the soil like Major Shabbir Sharif. Though enemy was able to cause severe damage to Pakistan by cutting off one of its arm, India could not succeed in lowering the spirit of the Pakistani Nation as rest of Pakistan stood firm on its stance on vital Kashmir issue.
Russian invasion of Afghanistan in late Seventies and its desire to reach to the warm waters forced Pakistan to become a frontline state. Duly funded by US led allies Afghanistan attracted Jehadies from across the Globe through Pakistan. Huge influx of Afghan refugees brought along Kalashnikov and drug culture and Pakistani society got introduced to bomb blasts and sectarian violence. Taking advantage of the prevailing environment notorious intelligence agency of India, RAW supported proxies in Balochistan and the then NWFP and carried out sabotage activities in Pakistan. The resilient Pakistani society stood firm in response to testing time. Remembering the sacrifices of unsung heroes who laid their lives for the cause of Pakistan is essential part of Defence Day Celebrations.
Indian enmity to Pakistan is perennial as its policy makers are always on the look out to cause damage to our national interests and never miss a chance to embarrass Pakistan. Indian occupation of un- demarcated Siachen Glacier in 1984 was also continuation of same design which generated a coordinated response by Army and the local populace to check its further ingress and ultimate goal of severing our road link with China. Pakistan is fighting a war in the highest battle field of the world for last 31 years. Sacrifices of great sons of the soil like Captain karnal Sher Khan and Havildar Lalak Jan are testimony to the strong will of our nation to defend every inch of the sacred motherland. Shahadat of 140 soldiers and civilians in Gyari in 2012 and Pakistan Army's determination to recover each and every dead body is the true reflection of the strength of our national character; commemorating Shauhada of Gyari by the people of Pakistan is the true reflection of the spirit of Defence Day Celebrations.
Following the overt nuclearization of South Asia, India unveiled its Cold Start Doctrine to keep space for limited conventional war which failed to accrue the desired results during 2001-2002 stand off between the two belligerents. In the aftermath of Mumbai attacks, India threatened to resort to Hot Pursuit Operations and Surgical strikes to coerce Pakistan to regress on its Kashmir Policy. On ground India resorted to Pro Active Strategy in an effort to impose a swift, short duration war remaining below the perceived nuclear threshold of Pakistan to embarrass Pakistan Army. Pakistan checkmated with a superior strategy and denied victory to the enemy as India had to pull back its forces without achieving its military aim. Through a series of War Games Pakistan evolved and matured New Concept of War Fighting to counter Indian Pro Active Strategy further narrowing the space for Limited War. Moreover, Pakistan has been able to develop long range missiles capable of engaging every corner of India which has deterred India to wage war. Acquisition of second strike capability by Pakistan has established credible nuclear deterrence and is major factor in maintaining peace in the region. Defeating Indian design to impose war on Pakistan is a victory attributable to superior Pakistani art of war necessitating expression of joy at national level as part of Defence Day Celebrations.
India is always seeking an excuse to violate the cease fire agreement to keep LOC hot / volatile with a view to maintaining large number of regular / para military forces in Kashmir Valley to quell the indigenous uprising in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Brutalities of Indian Armed Forces have not been able to suppress pro Pakistan sentiments of Muslim and Sikh population of Indian Occupied Kashmir and the Valley keeps on echoing with the slogans like " Kashmir Baney Ga Pakistan". Pakistan Army deployed along LOC and Working Boundary is steadfast to deter any aggression by the India Armed Forces. Remaining within the limited fiscal space Pakistan Army is well configured to face much superior adversary on our Eastern Borders. Entire Pakistani nation is standing shoulder to shoulder with its Army to defend our sacred motherland; this feeling of national solidarity symbolises true spirit of Defence Day Celebrations.
With credible nuclear deterrence in place and evolution of New Concept of War Fighting by Pakistan in response to Indian Pro Active Strategy space for limited war between the two nuclear powers in South Asia has further shrunk. The events of 9/11 totally altered the nature and character of war. US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq greatly impacted the Muslim societies and radicalised a section of its population. NATO operations in Afghanistan forced various Taliban factions to seek refuge across the porous Durand Line and established safe havens in the semi autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Compelled by the prevailing environment Pakistan was left with no choice but to once again become the frontline state against the Global War on Terror. This necessitated Pakistan Army to shift its orientation from conventional warfare to Low Intensity Conflict and redeployment of its forces from Eastern Borders to the Western Borders creating two front war scenario.
Having failed to create space for conventional war, India took to 4th/ 5th Generation Warfare. RAW in collaboration with other hostile intelligence agencies created, funded and trained Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Terrorist activities by Taliban against NATO forces inside Afghanistan afforded a golden opportunity to India to malign Pakistan of harbouring and abetting terrorism in the region and beyond creating doubts among the international community about the safety and security of its Strategic Assets. Pro India Northern Alliance Afghan government facilitated establishment of Indian Consulates along Pakistan- Afghan border to control their proxies in FATA and Baluchistan. Pakistan has provided proofs of Indian involvement in sectarian violence, supporting terrorism and anti state elements to Pakistan to Indian government at various occasions.
With the planning and active support of RAW, TTP gradually took control of FATA and SWAT area projecting threat to Islamabad. Pakistan Army quickly adopted to the new form of warfare and responded with Sub Conventional Warfare Doctrine. Operation Rah-e-Raast was launched to clear Swat Valley of the miscreants. To minimise the chances of collateral damage civilian population was temporarily displaced to safe locations in settled areas. Professional approach adopted by Pakistan Army to systematically clear the Valley is now taught as case study in the leading Armies of the world including US. Officers led their soldiers from the front leaving behind fairy tale stories of valour and sacrifice for the defence of the sacred motherland from the internal threat. Pakistan Army is proud of highest officers to soldiers casualty ratio in the world during War on Terror including Lieutenant General, to number of Major Generals to the Second Lieutenants. The sacrifices of Shuahda will be written in golden words in the history of Pakistan. Defence Day celebrations are organised to pay tributes to the Heroes of Pakistan.
Operation Al- Mizaan was launched to evict the terrorists from South Waziristan, Khyber, Bajaur and other agencies. Compared to conventional war, 4th/ 5th generation warfare is a complex phenomenon and a long drawn war spread over decades. Over the years Pakistan Army cleared these areas less North Waziristan Agency number of times but due to lack of capacity of other LAEs and the civil government it could not retain control of these areas. In the meanwhile our enemy continued to play havoc through bomb blasts, suicide bombing and target killings. Members of LEAs and civilian who became victim to these terrorist activities exceed the staggering figure of 50000. Defence Day celebrations are in the memory of such like Shuahda.
Our strategic installations like GHQ, NHQ, ISI, IB, Kamra Air Base, Naval Base in Karachi, Quetta Air Base, Masajid, Imambargahs and minorities were targeted by the terrorists to weaken our resolve to fight both conventional and war on terror but they never knew that they were pitched against the best Armed Forces of the world which were ever ready to pay highest level of sacrifices to safeguard the territorial and ideological boundaries of the country. All those contributed to ensure safety and security of our strategic installations will be remembered during Defence Day Celebrations.
India has long been involved in destabilising Baluchistan by supporting anti state elements. With the formal launching of CPEC, India has intensified its efforts to pronounce law and order situation in Baluchistan; burning of Ziarat Residency and mass sectarian and ethnic killings in the past notwithstanding, Mastung incident and recent target killings of Hazara minority are cases in point. Pakistan is determined to execute CPEP at all cost. Political and military leadership of Pakistan are at one page to creat environment suitable for development of strategic Gwadar Port and requisite communication infrastructure to move the project as per conceived timelines. Special and dedicated force is being raised to ensure security of CPEC projects being executed in Baluchistan. Sacrifices of LEAs and people of Baluchistan rendered for national integration and prosperity of Pakistan will be remembered as part of Defence Day Celebrations.
Following the successful stealth operation Neptune Spear by US Navy Seals in Abbottabad to eliminate OBL, India got a golden chance to malign Pakistan of playing double game with the US led West in the War On Terror. As the US prepared to drawdown from Afghanistan for impending long term commitment in Asia-Pacific, India invested heavily in Afghanistan to get a greater share of the pie in the post drawdown scenario. Simultaneously, India intensified its terrorist activities across the width and breadth of Pakistan to portray it a weak state struggling against prevailing law and order situation with a view to denying her any role in Afghanistan. There was also growing pressure from the world community on Pakistan to launch operation in North Waziristan Agency against Haqqani Group believed to be epic centre abetting terrorism across the Durand Line. With the change in Political and Military hierarchy in Pakistan the pressure even grew further. In this backdrop, military leadership showed the will and capacity of Pakistan Army to launch a comprehensive operation throughout the country including NWA to eradicate the menace of terrorism once for all; Political leadership was quick in getting go ahead from all the political stakeholders.
Being the staunch believer of the fact that war against terrorism was a must for the survival of Pakistan, General Raheel Sharif took bold decision and Operation Zarb-e-Azb was finally launched on 16 June 2014. Taking advantage of experience gained in Operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat Pakistan Army persuaded civilian population in North Waziristan to evacuate the area to minimise the chances of collateral damage. Concurrently, operation was also launched in Khyber Agency to deny terrorists' liberty of action/ manoeuvring space inside FATA. Speed of the operation took the terrorists and their planners by surprise. RAW and other hostile agencies had no choice but to shift their focus to settled areas and search for softer targets.
16 December 2014 was deliberately chosen by RAW to remind the Pakistani Nation of 1971 debacle by targeting Army Public School in Peshawar and killing 145 innocent students, teachers and school staff. Nation will always remember these heroes as an essential part of our Defence Day Celebrations. This massacre united the whole nation to mount a comprehensive response to cut the roots of terrorism from the sacred land leading to unanimous adoption of Protection of Pakistan bill by the constituent assembly. Frustrated by the shrinking space RAW sponsored terrorists continued to engage softer targets like Yohana Abad, Wahga Border suicidal attack, Safoora Chaurangi Incident, Mastung Incident and target killing of minority Hazaras in Quetta to name a recent few to weaken the resolve of Pakistan Army, Law Enforcement Agencies and above all people of Pakistan against the war on terror.
In a short span of one year Operation Zarb-e-Azb has been able to achieve tremendous success. Over 90 % of NWA area has been cleared of the miscreants at the cost of great sacrifices of brave officers and soldiers of Pakistan Army. Maintaining the tradition of their predecessors officers have once again led the operation from the front. Similarly, Operation Khyber-2 has been successfully concluded. Temporarily displaced persons are on their way back home. Over 9000 intelligence based operations have also been conducted in urban areas of Pakistan to dismantle the logistical support to the terrorists. Since the nature of war has changed, Sacrifices rendered by the valiant sons of soil against the war on terror need to be recognised with the highest possible worldly rewards like NH and SJ etcetera. Pakistan Army has very rightly dedicated 30 April as Yaum-e-Shuhada to commemorate the great sacrifices of all ranks with a clear message to our enemies that we will never forget our sons and as an institution we will keep on looking after their families.
Karachi is the commercial hub of Pakistan and hostile intelligence agencies are always endeavouring to creat law and order situation to discourage investment. Armed wings of political parties and terrorists are engaged in target killings, abduction for ransom, extortion of money, bribery, land grabbing and drug trafficking. Recent BBC report accusing MQM of their involvement in anti state activities in collaboration with RAW has raised alarm bells for the LEAs. Despite resistance by the political parties and threatening statements by their leadership operation by Pakistan Rangers in Karachi is progressing steadily as per plan and achieving its set objectives. The day is not far when the sacrifices of LEAs will bear fruit and Karachi will regain its title of City of Lights.
Hostile intelligence agencies have joined hands to create hurdles in the actualisation of CPEC. India has openly opposed the project as a portion of road, rail and pipeline will pass through disputed Gilgit-Baltistan area. India's proxies in Baluchistan are already quite active to disrupt the project but the COAS during his recent visit to Quetta and Panjgur has clearly stated that CPEC will be completed at all cost. A special security apparatus is being put in place to provide protection to Chinese working on various projects in Pakistan.
The message to India is loud and clear that Pakistan wants to live in peace but with honour and dignity. We have a credible nuclear deterrence with second strike capability, we are ready to fight conventional war and we are ready to fight 5th generation war. Defence Day Celebrations are a reminder to us that India has never accepted the creation of Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister has openly confessed their involvement in disintegration of Pakistan, their ministers are making statements to support anti state elements and terrorists in Pakistan and threatening to go for hot pursuit operations. BBC is reporting RAW training and funding MQM. While India is keeping LOC and Working Boundary hot to keep the pressure on Pakistan the choice is with India; 6th September 2015 is Golden Jubilee of our Defence Day Celebrations.
By Muhammad Latif