Defence Day is celebrated in Pakistan as a national day of commemoration. Also referred to as Youm-e-Difa, the 6th of September is recognised throughout the country as a day to remember the sacrifices made by Pakistani soldiers in order to protect its borders, as well as to preserve the values and beliefs that Pakistan stands for.
The day is now commonly commemorated through flag-hoisting ceremonies, military exhibitions and other patriotic events, but the detailed background of the day’s history in particular is remembered and discussed.
Defence Day’s concept stems from the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. On the 6th September of that year, Indian troops crossed the border to attack the Pakistani Punjab region and this was then countered by Pakistani soldiers. Many Pakistani soldiers lost their lives during this conflict and have been commemorated through posthumous awards and commemorative vigils in their memory. We feel it necessary to highlight that the war of 1965 was not a simple affair, and often, conflicting narratives blur the truth of history, leaving us lost. The lessons learnt, however, continue to play significant roles in not just our lives, but Pakistan’s entire ideology: from foreign policy to peacekeeping efforts. The war of 1965, and the many people and resources we lost to it, show the great extent to which conflict impacts the world – not just at the time, but for years and years beyond that.
It is important to remember the many that laid down their lives for their belief in what Pakistan was and what it still could be – both meeting and exceeding Jinnah’s vision of a land of peace and tolerance. Appreciating those who, with blind faith, go out to protect their nation solely in the name of love and pride, in the search for hope and light, and in an effort to nurture the security and peace of Pakistan.
Defence Day’s significance is also rooted in the opportunity it presents to us to further Pakistan’s true ideals and strive towards bringing the country to its utmost potential. As well as appreciating the military and the work they have done for defence of our borders, it is also important to value the efforts of the everyday Pakistani, who work hard to feed their families, with faith and honesty. The Many of Pakistani institutions working alongside the military to provide better quality services, ranging from healthcare to education play just as important a role in the success of Pakistan.
This Defence Day, we must learn to remember, each and every day, the sacrifices that went into making Pakistan a land so beautiful. We must learn to play our part in ensuring peace and security across the world because that is what the Land of the Pure truly stands for. By standing united against conflict and advocating for freedom, you are embodying the true values that Pakistan was established with – and selflessly helping many around the world as a result. By raising your voice for issues that question our values, you are supplementing the cause of Jinnah, of Iqbal, of every martyr of the war of 1965. By working to build a better mind, household and nation, you are building a better world, and we salute to that.