–Khan rules out civil-military tension, says all institutions on same page to take Pakistan forward
–Praises Pakistan Army’s policy of merit, says it’s the only functional institution in country
–Army chief Gen Bajwa calls for continuity of democracy in Pakistan, lauds sacrifices rendered by country in war against terrorism
RAWALPINDI: Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday recalled the country’s mistake of becoming a part of the war in Afghanistan and vowed that Pakistan will not become a part of some other country’s war anymore.
Khan expressed these views while addressing a ceremony to commemorate the Defence and Martyrs Day to pay tribute to martyrs on the 53rd anniversary of the 1965 war.
Addressing the ceremony at the Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters, Premier Khan said that he was against the involvement of Pakistani armed forces in the Afghan war from the very first day.
‘NO CIVIL-MILITARY TENSION’:
“Pakistan’s new foreign policy will be for the betterment of the nation,” he said, emphasising that there is no civil-military tension among the institutions as all have the shared objective of taking Pakistan forward. He said that the nations culminate to their desired standing by unity.
Praising the Pakistani armed forces on their conduct, PM Khan said that Pakistan Army is the only functional institution of the country.
“The Pakistan Army is running at its best because there’s no political interference in its affairs and priority is given to merit,” he said, stressing that political interference destroys institutions.
“We will bring this meritocracy to all fields in the country in order to help us prosper as a nation,” the premier vowed.
The prime minister also mentioned that all fields in the country, including agriculture, will prosper once we develop a strong rule of law in the country.
“This nation will rise when the poor man knows that his son is getting quality education on the state’s expense and that education will open opportunities for his son to achieve success in life. That is when the common man will want to become part of this system and own it,” the prime minister said.
“For the past three weeks, I have been seeing presentations on all the problems that this country is facing, and I can tell you this that we will become a nation and rise again. We can overcome these problems once we strengthen the rule of law in this country,” PM Khan said.
Going back to the history of Islam, PM Khan said that we need to look at the way Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) brought together different tribes to form a nation.
“We need to look back and see what Prophet (PBUH) did in order to bring those people together to form a nation so strong that they ruled the world for centuries,” he said.
Talking about his memories of the 1965 war, Khan said that he still remembers the war and acknowledged the passion of the nation during wartime.
Before addressing the audience, Prime Minister Khan, together with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa, laid a floral wreath on the martyr’s monument.
Families of martyrs, members of the federal cabinet, heads of political parties, lawmakers and celebrities were among the attendees at the ceremony.
The Pakistani nation celebrated the day to pay tribute to its martyrs on the 53rd anniversary of the 1965 war.
On this day, 53 years ago, Indian forces had crossed the international border in the darkness of night to attack Pakistan, but the nation foiled the nefarious designs of the enemy.
‘CONTINUITY OF DEMOCRACY NECESSARY’:
Addressing the audience before PM Khan, Army Chief Gen Bajwa said, “September 6 is an important day in the history of our nation. It serves as an important reminder and an inspiration to our youth today.”
“More than 70,000 soldiers were injured and martyred in this  war. To remember these sacrifices we not only celebrate Defence Day but Martyrs Day. Their sacrifices will not go unnoticed or ever be taken for granted,” he said.
“Our forces and nation have rendered sacrifices in the war against terrorism,” Gen Bajwa said, adding that our houses, schools and leaders were attacked and efforts were made to weaken us internally.
He said that enlightened nations do not forget their martyrs, adding, “We will avenge the blood flowing on the border.”
Gen Bajwa said the country passed through a very difficult phase during the past two decades and the war is still continuing.
He also said that continuity of democracy was necessary in the country. The army chief further paid a tribute to the Kashmiris for their struggle for right to self-determination.
Earlier, the ceremony began with a recitation of the Holy Quran, followed by the national anthem.
A short film showing the families of martyred soldiers remembering their sons left members of the audience in tears.
Singer Sahir Ali Bagga opened the ceremony with a patriotic song, as a video paying tribute to the armed forces played in the background. A moving video showcasing Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s vocal prowess was also played. Other entertainers also took the stage as the evening progressed, and a series of short films and videos were shown to the audience.
A smartly outfitted group of soldiers put on an enthralling march performance to the tune of traditional songs played by the marching band of the armed forces.
Earlier, Defence Day was commemorated with traditional fervour and solemnity across the country, beginning with special prayers for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.
Change of guard ceremonies were held at the mausoleums of Allama Iqbal in Lahore and Quaid-i-Azam in Karachi, and a ceremony at the Pakistan Navy headquarters in Islamabad.
In their messages on the day, Prime Minister Khan and outgoing President Mamnoon Hussain expressed solidarity to the nation.
Prime Minister Khan in his message said, “Pakistan believes in peaceful coexistence and wants to promote mutual cooperation with other countries, including its neighbours, on the basis of equality.”
He further said, “The people of Pakistan have the ability to brave all challenges while following Quaid-e-Azam’s principles of Unity, Faith, and Discipline.”
“The people of Pakistan will leave no stone unturned in defending their motherland while standing side by side with [the] valiant armed forces of the country,” he was quoted as saying.
Moreover, he assured the families of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in defence of the country that “all possible steps will be taken for their welfare”.
Outgoing President Mamnoon Hussain also paid tribute to the martyrs and said that “the spirit of sacrifices rendered by the armed forces and the nation should inspire the people to forge unity among their ranks.”
He also emphasised the need to foster collective consciousness and wisdom, saying “these traits are imperative to defeat the evil designs and conspiracies of the enemy”.
The president and prime minister reiterated that the resolution of the Kashmir issue in light of United Nations resolutions is imperative for peace in the region.