The 55th Defence Day was observed on Sunday to commemorate the sacrifices of fallen heroes during the 1965 war with India and to renew the pledge to safeguard the country’s geographical and ideological boundaries in every situation and at all costs.

The day commenced with special prayers in mosques for the peace, prosperity and solidarity of the country and to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for the protection of their motherland.

The main ceremony was held in the morning at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, according to Radio Pakistan, where Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa laid a floral wreath at the Martyrs Monument.


A change of guards was also held at the Quaid’s mausoleum with Air Vice Marshal Shakeel Ghazanfar as the chief guest of the ceremony. A contingent of 46 cadets of the Pakistan Air Force Asghar Khan Academy took over guard duties.

A ceremony was also held at the Naval Headquarters in Islamabad, Radio Pakistan reported.

In his message to the countrymen on Defence Day, President Arif Alvi said that Pakistan would never compromise on its sovereignty and security, making it clear that any kind of misadventure by the enemy would be dealt with severely.

“It makes me happy to state that we have achieved self-reliance in the defence field […] We have thwarted external aggression; we have successfully defeated terrorism and extremism, and now we are on the path towards economic prosperity.”

He said the day was a reminder of the spirit and valour of Pakistan’s armed forces and the nation through which they thwarted the evil designs of the enemy on this day, 55 years ago.

The president said the nation saluted the martyrs as well as their families for their fortitude as they set a great example of patriotism by sacrificing their loved ones for defence of the country.

“The spirit of September 1965 still lives in our hearts and I can proudly say that because of this, we have been successful in many testing times. Our armed forces’ professional excellence, combat readiness, and above all their unwavering faith in Allah has made Pakistan invincible,” he added.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan said that Pakistan’s desire for peace must not be misconstrued as its weakness, adding that the country’s armed forces were “fully capable” of defending the country.

“The resilient nation and the battle-hardened armed forces of Pakistan have time and again proved that they are fully capable of defending the country and are fully prepared to meet any kind of eventuality,” the premier said in a series of tweets.

In his message, the premier honoured the fallen heroes of the war, saying that 55 years ago, the nation and the men in uniform “proved that it is not the size that matters, but it is the courage and devotion that matters the most”.

“September 6 is a day in Pakistan’s glorious history that is commemorated as a symbol of courage, strong will and unmatched spirit of sacrifice by our gallant armed forces.”

Later, during an investiture ceremony held at the army’s General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on the occasion of the 55th Defence Day, the army chief conferred military awards to army personnel for acts of gallantry during various operations.

“Families of shuhada/ghazis, senior serving military officers/soldiers also attended the ceremony,” according to a press release by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The military’s media wing said 40 officers were awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Military), 24 officers and soldiers were awarded Tamgha-e-Bisalat and a soldier was awarded the United Nations Medal.

The medals of the martyred were received by their family members.

Addressing the gathering, the army chief said that Pakistan faced great trials over the last 20 years with war on the eastern and western fronts. He said that the country also faced natural disasters, such as floods and earthquakes, and the war on terror.

General Bajwa said that thousands of people got displaced and many sacrificed their lives. He also noted that the country successfully fought against coronavirus and the locust attack.