ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday declared that Pakistan would no more participate in someone else’s war, insisting that there was no civil-military divide in the country.
“I will promise that Pakistan will never fight someone else’s war,” he stated in categorical terms while addressing a ceremony held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi to mark the anniversary of 1965 war with India.
The ceremony was attended by three services chiefs, including army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, cabinet members, parliamentarians, leader of the opposition Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.
Using the occasion, the prime minister outlined his government’s priorities, saying the country would only fight for its own right and its people.
Alluding to the ongoing war on terror, he said he had never wanted Pakistan to become part of the US’ war on terror. He acknowledged that no other country had successfully defeated terrorist groups as Pakistan had done that.
Imran said he spent six hours at the GHQ to get briefing on important national security matters and also interacted with naval and air force chief.
During those briefings, the prime minister said he had realised that if there was any institution left intact in the country that was the armed forces of Pakistan.
He praised the policy of merit being pursued in the armed forces of Pakistan.
He termed the often talked-about civil-military divide as myth. “We are all one and together we have to take this country to the new heights,” he vowed dispelling the impression if there were any differences between the civil and military leadership.
Talking about his government’s priorities, Imran expressed his desire to empower the poor and under-privileged segment of society.
He said he wanted to bring ‘meritocracy’ in all institutions so that other organs of the state could also become disciplined and established like the armed forces of Pakistan.
PM Imran commended the role Pakistan’s intelligence agencies played in circumstances that emerged following the war fought between the allied forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The prime minister also recalled the valour with which the armed forces of the country fought the war of 1965.
He said as a 12-year-old boy, he held a riffle and went to support people of Zaman Park in Lahore to defend their area following reports that Indian paratroopers were to be dropped at night.
“I still remember that wave in Pakistan when the entire nation was standing with Pakistan Army … I haven’t seen such passion since then,” he remarked.
The ceremony was organised to pay homage to the martyrs of 1965 war. The newly-elected PM was the chief guest of the ceremony.
Notables from sports, entertainment and other fields, along with First Lady Bushra Imran and civil and military officials were also in attendance.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid rich tributes to the martyrs of 1965 war and their family members and also thanked the nation for standing tall and fighting for their country during the war against terrorism.
“Without strengthening the state institutions, democracy cannot sustain in the country,” the army chief said while addressing the ceremony.
Gen Qamar also paid respect to “brothers and sisters in the occupied Kashmir who’re writing the history of resistance”.
The army chief said Pakistan had learnt a lot from the wars of 1965 and 1971. “We were able to further strengthen our defence forces in the wake of these wars. Despite difficult economic times, we were able to become an atomic power,” he added.
He also spoke about the threat posed by the non-conventional warfare. The army chief said a wave of terrorism had swept the entire world after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
The nature and character of the threat spectrum had entirely changed. “Unfortunately, Pakistan also found itself in the crosshairs of this new war.”
He said there was a time when nothing was safe in Pakistan. “Our homes, schools, places of worships, markets, state institutions were all under attack.”
There was an effort to divide the country from within, Gen Bajwa said and added “but thanks to the valiant nation, Pakistan fought off the threat with remarkable courage”.
He said Pakistan had rendered enormous sacrifices to achieve that goal. He, however, maintained that the job was not done yet.
“The war is still ongoing. We have yet to reach the pinnacle of peace. We have to make Pakistan reach a level where no one can look at us with an evil intent.”
The nation is commemorating the 53rd Defence Day today to pay tribute to the martyrs and ghazis of the 1965 war. On September 6, 1965, Indian forces launched a surprise attack on Pakistan and crossed the border international border under the cover of darkness.
The day dawned with a thirty-one gun salute in the federal capital and twenty-one gun salutes in provincial capitals. Special prayers were offered after dawn prayers in mosques for the progress and prosperity of the country. Recitation of fateha and Quran khawani was also held for the martyrs.
Pakistan Army’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), released a video song in commemoration of defence services rendered by the armed forces.
The promo shared by DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor showed combined footage of the country’s forces putting their lives on the line to protect the nation.