Pakistan today marked the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war with India by holding nationwide ceremonies and special prayers, while the Pakistani leadership vowed to “frustrate” any threat to the country’s existence.
The annual Defence Day celebrations began with a 31-gun salute here and with a 21-gun salute in provincial capitals.
Across the country, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of nearly 4,000 soldiers killed in the war, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif laying a wreath at the war memorial in Lahore.
According to Radio Pakistan, numerous functions have been organised across the country, including at the army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.
Prayers were held in mosques for progress and prosperity and also included special invocation for the dead soldiers.
Strict security have been put in place across the country in face of the Taliban threat to disrupt the celebrations.
In his message, President Mamnoon Hussain said: “In the successful Zarb-i-Azb operation, Pakistan Army has proved that any kind of threat posed to country’s security and existence will be frustrated. Pakistani nation and its armed forces can go to any extent in securing its borders and safeguarding its sovereignty.”
Prime Minister Sharif said: “The exemplary unity demonstrated by the political and military leadership in curbing terrorism is yet another splendid chapter of our national history.”
“We desire to have good and peaceful relations with all our neighbours on the basis of sovereign equality,” he said.
Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid claimed Pakistan was observing the start of 1965 war as Defence Day as India failed to achieve its objectives through aggression.
“Today is Defence Day for us while it is day of aggression for India as it attacked Pakistan,” Rashid said.
He claimed that since India failed to defeat Pakistan in the battlefield, it has turned to militancy. “What India could not get through wars, it wants to accomplish through terrorism.”
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Air Force presented a special aerobatics display over F-9 Park in Islamabad. The PAF has arranged an exhibition of aviation paintings and aircraft models at Nishtar Hall in Peshawar.
In Lahore, an exhibition of Calligraphy and Portraits of Pak-India 1965 war heroes was held at a museum yesterday. In Multan, a two-day exhibition of weapons of the Pakistan Army began at the Ayub Stadium Garrison yesterday.