The highpoint of Defence and Martyrs’ Day indeed remains the grand event of September 6, held at the General Headquarters (GHQ), Rawalpindi, in which families of the martyrs participated as guests of honour.
The top-tier of the Pakistan Armed Forces, including Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, select civilian leaders and prominent personalities from various walks of life were also present to honour the sacrifices of the armed forces.
The organisers, the Inter-Services Public Relations, divided the event into three thematic segments – “our sacrifices, our struggle and the hope,” which encompassed Pakistan’s ongoing fight against terrorism, the nation’s commitment to Kashmir’s freedom movement and efforts for the progress and development of the country respectively.
The heartwarming and rousing programme was led by some of Pakistan’s most senior artists, showcasing a number of new as well as evergreen national songs, videos and mini documentaries.
The content, the language and the message of scripts – which were an ISPR in-house production, along with new national songs and videos – reminded one of the good old days of Pakistan Television when quality used to reign supreme.
While the delivery of the scripts by veteran artists such as Firdous Jamal and Saba Pervez were par excellence, the videos and songs touched one’s heart and soul.
In a nutshell, it was a job professionally executed. What else can one expect from any wing of the Pakistan Army – nothing short of the best.
The event flowed from one segment into another as it reached its own highpoint with the march-past, the wreath laying ceremony at the Martyrs’ Memorial by the Army Chief Bajwa, followed by his much-awaited speech.
General Bajwa’s short and comprehensive speech indeed addressed the most fundamental issues faced by the country and gave the future policy direction.
The message to the international community, especially the United States, was clear.
While Pakistan wants to help Washington and its allies in their peace efforts in war-torn Afghanistan, the western powers must also address the country’s security concerns.
“We cannot fight Afghanistan’s war in Pakistan,” Bajwa said. Instead of asking Pakistan to do more, the world should “do more” now, he stated.
He articulated the nation’s will when he said that Pakistan wants an early repatriation of Afghan refugees from its soil and secure its 2,600 kilometre long border with the land-locked country.
Bajwa also demanded that sanctuaries of terrorists on Afghan soil, from where Pakistan is targeted, be abolished. Pakistan cannot be made a scapegoat for the failures of international powers in Afghanistan, he said.
Gen Bajwa, while accusing New Delhi of fomenting terrorism in Pakistan, warned the Indian leadership to desist from any adventurism and demanded an early solution to the protracted Kashmir dispute.
The grand event ended with performances of top artists who sang – tu salamaat watan – after which national icons interacted with the martyrs’ families.