Defence Day of Pakistan—new challenges

  • Indian actions in Kashmir make this Defence Day doubly important

September 6th is celebrated by the nation as the Defence Day of Pakistan to commemorate Pakistan’s finest hour when its armed forces frustrated a surprise attack by the numerically superior Indian armed forces on 6 September 1965. On this memorable day, the people of Pakistan stood united as one solid edifice to meet the onslaught of an enemy that chose the cover of darkness to achieve its heinous ends of occupying our motherland.

Events have moved beyond the 1965 Pak-India conflict. War was forced upon Pakistan in 1971, when India, beginning with sowing seeds of dissension, leading to the Agartala Conspiracy, creation of a guerrilla force, Mukti Bahini, and under its cover sneaking into East Pakistan for insurrectionary operations to blow up bridges and other installations, which damaged the morale of Pakistani troops. India won the war even before the battle began; thanks to its notorious intelligence agency RAW, as its agents had infiltrated every nook and corner of erstwhile East Pakistan. The armed forces of Pakistan fought valiantly against overwhelming odds, but the result was inevitable.

The armed forces of Pakistan, despite being outnumbered and having fewer state-of-the-art weapons, by dint of their superior training, being battle hardened in the GWOT and imbibed with the spirit of sacrifice, are fully prepared to defend every inch of the motherland as well as provide moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris and surmount the new challenges

The Kargil conflict was a near-war in 1999, in which many brave soldiers of the Pakistan Army made the supreme sacrifice of their lives to wrest control of the Kargil heights and sever Indian road links with Siachen and most of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and force India on the negotiation table to resolve the Kashmir imbroglio. The operation ended in a stalemate, but the valiant sacrifices of the Pakistan Army emblazoned a new trail of glory.

9/11 ushered a fresh challenge for Pakistan, when it unconditionally joined the Global War on Terror (GWOT), since it was in its own interest as the bane of terror was right at its doorstep and could have had severe repercussions on Pakistan, if it had been left unchecked.

The Pakistan Army, which has borne the brunt of the GWOT, was at a handicap since it had never been exposed to war against insurgency, or fought a faceless enemy, battled against the scourge of suicide bombers, saboteurs, seditionists and terrorists. It adapted to the new ordeal with fresh gusto and gave a good account of itself despite being faced with heavy odds and at times uncalled-for criticism by other allies in the GWOT.

The miscreants, who had taken advantage of the ongoing war in Afghanistan, were abetted, trained and equipped by the enemies of Pakistan, found it opportune to challenge the writ of the government and harass the people of Swat, tribal regions and FATA. Their internecine warfare was targeting politicians, law-enforcing agencies and even visiting dignitaries to destabilize and embarrass Pakistan.

The armed forces of Pakistan launched various military operations to fight terrorism and extremism, which had taken a huge toll of human lives. Prominent among them are: Operations Al-Mizan, Rah-e-Haq, Sher-e-Dil, Zalzala, Sirat-e-Mustaqeem, Rah-e-Raast, Rah-e-Nijaat, Koh-e-Sufaid, Zarb-e-Azb and now Radd-ul-Fasaad.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb began in 2014 against the last stronghold of the militants in North Waziristan after peace talks with the Taliban leaders failed. The Operation was conducted against the Tehreek-i-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, East Turkestan Islamic Movement, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Al-Qaeda, Jundallah and the Haqqani Network. The military strategy used for this was SEEK-DESTROY-CLEAR-HOLD. The Pakistan Air Force and some elements of the Pakistan Navy combined to seek the target, and destroy its infrastructure, training complexes and weapons’ arsenal. Zarb-e-Azb resulted in phenomenal success as the terrorists’ backbone was broken and their structure dismantled. Nexus sleeper cells were largely disrupted and with the Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) the remaining sleeper cells were busted.

Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad was launched in 2017 for the conduct of Broad-Spectrum Security (Counter Terrorism) operations in all four provinces of Pakistan, and achieve countrywide de-weaponization and mop up the remaining miscreants.

New annals have been added to the already emblazoned trail of glory of its predecessors by a fresh group of martyrs from Pakistan Army, who laid down their lives in the operations against terror. The Army, Air Force and Naval Chiefs have boldly led from the front inspiring their men to gallantly combat the enemy. According to South Asia Terrorism Portal, to date 70,452 Pakistani lives have been lost in terror attacks, out of which 7,802 are security personnel. Thus, fresh blood has been infused in the list of martyrs, who have displayed exemplary courage in the defence of Pakistan.

February 27, 2019 will go down as a Red-Letter Day for Pakistan and its Armed Forces. Our eastern neighbour India, being governed by the Butcher of Gujarat, a parcharak (activist) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Narendra Modi, has been baiting Pakistan with false-flag operations. The 16 February 2019 false-flag operation at Pulwama took a toll of 45 Indian soldiers. Using it as a plea and blaming Pakistan for the assault, Modi ordered Indian Air Force fighters to attack a fictitious terror training camp at Balakot. The attackers dropped their munitions in a forest and beat a hasty retreat, causing no damage apart from a few Pine trees. The next morning the PAF retaliated, sending its fighter aircraft to deliver weapons in an open area, taking care not to hit military or civilian installations. IAF fighter aircraft gave chase and, in the melee, the PAF shot down two Indian aircraft, a MiG-21 and an Su-30. The pilot of the MiG-21 Wing Commander Abhinandan, was captured alive. The Su-30 fell in IOK and its pilot was killed. India had grossly miscalculated Pakistan’s defensive and offensive capabilities and was shocked by Pakistan’s aggressive and swift response. Modi kept making excuses that if India had Rafale fighter aircraft, it would have taught Pakistan a lesson. However, Modi used the failed surgical strike into Pakistan as his moral victory and his party BJP won the elections in May 2019.

On August 5, after having been re-elected as the Prime Minister, Modi made a sinister move by converting IOK and Ladakh into Union Territories. IOK has been in a state of curfew for over a month and people are dying of hunger, and there is a lack of medicines and milk for the babies. RSS goons are attacking hapless Kashmiris in their homes, looting, raping and physically assaulting the inhabitants, forcing them to abandon their homes. To make matters worse, India is threatening to take back Azad Jammu Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan. Modi is also promising the miscreants of Baluchistan that he will liberate them from Pakistan. The Line of Control is being incessantly bombarded and innocent civilians in Azad Kashmir are targeted.

These threats are accompanied with a spike in terror attacks in Pakistan as well as a well-orchestrated Indian propaganda. Under the circumstances, the Armed Forces of Pakistan, despite being outnumbered and having fewer state-of-the-art weapons, by dint of their superior training, being battle hardened in the GWOT and imbibed with the spirit of sacrifice, are fully prepared to defend every inch of the motherland as well as provide moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris and surmount the new challenges.