Pakistan is on Friday observing Defence and Martyrs Day to mark the 54th anniversary of 1965 Pakistan-India war when Pakistan Army successfully defended the country against a multi-pronged Indian attack on the eastern border.
While this year’s September 6 is being observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day for those who suffer under a month-long lockdown imposed by Indian forces, Pakistanis are also paying homage to the heroes who defended their homeland with courage over five decades ago.
Here’s what you should know about the heroes of the 1965 war.
Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed: Bhatti valiantly defended BRB Canal against the enemy in Lahore’s Barki area where he kept Indian troops from advancing for five days and braving the Indian artillery and tanks.
He embraced martyrdom after being hit by an enemy tank shell on September 12.
MM Alam: During the war, five Indian fighter planes headed towards PAF Base Sargodha. However, Alam created history by destroying all of them.
He passed away on March 18, 2013, at the age of 78.
Cecil Chaudhry: Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry was an academic, human rights activist, and veteran fighter pilot. As a flight lieutenant, he fought in the Indo-Pakistani war of 1965 and later, as a squadron leader, in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
During the 1965 war, Chaudhry and three other pilots, under the leadership of Wing Commander Anwar Shamim, attacked the Amritsar Radar Station in a difficult operation. He was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat (Star of Courage) for his actions during that mission.
Air Vice Marshal Eric Gordon Hall: During 1965 war, Hall served as the founding chairman of Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission and planned the dramatic adventure ‘Hercules Bomber’.
He received the Hilal-e-Jurat, Hilal-e-Imtiaz, and Sitara-e-Jurat for his services.
Shabbir Sharif: Rana Shabbir Sharif was a Pakistani Army officer. He is the only person to receive both the Nishan-e-Haider and Sitara-e-Jurat for his bravery.
He lost his life on December 6, 1971, in the line of action.
DEFENCE DAY 2019:
The day began with a 31-gun salute in the federal capital and 21-gun salutes in the provincial capitals. Special prayers were also offered for the independence of occupied Kashmir as well as for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan.
The main ceremony for Defence Day was held at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, where Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa laid a wreath at the Martyrs Monument and observed a guard of honour.
A special ceremony was held at the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal in Lahore where Major General Muhammad Amir laid a wreath on the mausoleum. A contingent of the Pakistan Army presented a guard of honour.
A special ceremony including the changing of the guards was also held at the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi.