Nation to celebrate defence day with patriotic zeal

By Fakhar Alam


PESHAWAR: People from Karachi to Chitral and Gwadar to Khunjerab would present glowing tributes to all martyrs and ghazis of Pakistan who laid down their lives during wars,  for defence of the motherland.

On the 56th Defence Day of Pakistan, which would be celebrated with great national enthusiasm on September 6, Civil and military officials, politicians, traders, businessmen, media men, relatives, colleagues and others would pay a visit to the residences of martyrs and recipients of Nishan-e-Haider.

Floral wreaths would be laid on the graves of martyrs who fought the battles with indomitable courage . The smartly turned out contingents of armed forces would present salute to pay respect to all the recipients of Nishan-e-Haider, who sacrificed their lives for our safe and prosperous future.        Moreover, the entire nation is paying homage to all martyrs of armed forces of Pakistan including recepiants of Nishan-e-Haider (NH), Captain Raja Muhammad Sarwar Shaheed, Major Muhammad Tufail Shaheed, Major Aziz Bhutti Shaheed, Major Muhammad Akram Shaheed, Sawar Muhammad Hussain Shaheed, Major Shabbir Sharif Shaheed, Lance Naik Muhammad Mehfuz Shaheed,  Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas Shaheed, Captain Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed, Havaldar Lalak Jan Shaheed and Naik Saif Ali Janjua Shaheed decorated with Hilal-e-Kashmir (Equivalent to Nishan-e-Haider) on occasion of 56th Defence Day of Pakistan, which would be celebrated with great national enthusiasm on September 6.Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed (Nishan-i-Haider) had successfully defended the strategic BRB canal near Lahore for five days where he embraced shahadat after being hit by an enemy tank shell on September 10, 1965. Squadron Leader Muhammad Mahmood Alam popularly known as M.M. Alam shot down two enemy hunter aircrafts and damaged three others on 6th September and destroyed five more enemy hunter aircrafts in less than a minute on September 7th, which was unprecedented in the history of Pakistan Air Force. Many soldiers die in wars and thousands return as Ghazis, and, some earn respect and appreciation from the opponent army for their indomitable courage and heroic battlefield performance and become immortalized forever.

Captain Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed (Nishan-e-Haider) was one of those celebrated officers of Pakistan Army whose indomitable courage, unmatched valour, devotion to duty, leadership qualities and heroic battlefield performance during Kargil conflict was highly praised by the Indian Army.

Death was meaningless for the 29-year old young officer of the 12th Northern Light Infantry (NLI) Regiment, who fought like a lion against both the enemy and harsh weather on an altitude of 17,000 feet on Line of Control (LoC) at Gultary mountainous region where he inflicted heavy human and material losses to the adversary.  The courageous feat of Capt Sher Khan by accomplishing the assigned mission of forcing the enemy to withdraw left the Indian commander Brigadier M.P.S Bajwa outrightly impressed by his splendid battlefield performance and an indomitable courage and wrote a citation letter requesting Pakistan that Capt Sher Khan Shaheed has fought bravely and deserve recognition.

Later, Capt Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed (1970-1999) and Havaldar Lalak Jan Shaheed (1967-1999) of the 12th NLI Regiment were decorated with Nishan- e-Haider, the highest military gallantry award of Pakistan posthumously for their matchless sacrifices for defence of the motherland during the Kargil conflict.Both these celebrated warriors of Pakistan had embraced Shahadat in Gultary region near Tiger Hills Kargil on July 7, 1999 and became immortalized forever.

Capt Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed was the first army officer from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who was awarded the prestigious Nishan-e-Haider.

His grandfather had immense love for the armed forces of Pakistan and wished someone from his family to join Pak Army to serve its country. That is why he gave his grandson Sher Khan the title of ‘Karnal’ (a pashto version of colonel) that later became a permanent part of his name . On July 5, 1999, Indians forces with the help of two battalions, attacked these posts and managed to capture some portion of one of his posts. In Spite of facing all odds, he led a counter-attack and re-captured the lost portion.

True to his name, Capt Sher Khan chased the enemy and conducted many successful raids in the enemy area. During one such raid, he went inside the enemy camp where he inflicted heavy losses to them.

During the fierce battle, he received a burst of machine gun fire in the chest and embraced Shahadat on July 7, 1999. His epic action in the battlefield true to his name earned him the title of “Loin of Kargil”.Anwar Sher Khan, brother of Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed said that his brother laid down his life for Pakistan and his supreme sacrifice has raised heads of all patriotic Pakistanis high. He said the best tribute to the Shaheed was that all Pakistanis should work hard with full dedication and professional commitment in their selected professions to make Pakistan more stronger and economically prosperous.

Brigadier (Retd) Mahmood Shah, Senior Defence Analyst and former Secretary Security ex Fata told APP that September 6th, 1965 was the day when India attacked Pakistan in darkness without a warning or a declaration of war and violated all international laws, conventions and agreements.  He said the whole Pakistani nation along with their valiant military forces had stood up against the coward enemy and showed unmatched valour in the 1965 War.

Brig Mahmood Shah said Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Artillery had broken the back of the enemy. During 1965 war,  Pakistan had occupied about 1,617 square miles of Indian territory and we were in a strong position to occupy Delhi if war continued for a few more days as the morale of enemy troops had been completely shattered,he added.

Brig Mahmood Shah recalled that most of the enemy officers of 1965 war had served with Pakistani commanders during the second World (War II) and the latter knew about their so called fighting abilities and war skills that helped our forces to foil their evil designs. “The motivational songs of the legendary Madam Noor Jehan such as “A Watan ke Sajeelay Jawano and Rang Laye Ga Shaheedo ka Laho” aired by Radio Pakistan had infused the spirit of patriotism and national fervor amongst Pakistanis regardless of their ethnicity, religion, caste, colour or political affiliation during 65 war days.“

Brig. Mahmood Shah said the legacy of unmatched gallantry and sacrifices of our Army Officers and Jawans started with the martyrdom of Capt Raja Muhammad Sarwar Shaheed (NH) in 1948 Kashmir war, and was carryforward by Major Aziz Bhatti Shaheed (NH) in 1965 war and Capt Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed (NH) in Kargil conflict in 1999.

The shooting down of two Indian warplanes inside LOC- one fell in Azad Kashmir and other in Indian Illegally Occupied Jummu and Kashmir besides capturing of Indian Pilot on February 27, 2019 has proved the high level of preparedness, professionalism and strength of PAF. He said the unity exhibited by Pakistani nation after Indian air strike on Balakot in February last year was like 65 War.