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Pakistan observes Defence and Martyrs Day as Kashmir Solidarity Day

Pakistan observes Defence and Martyrs Day as Kashmir Solidarity Day

As the country observes Defence and Martyrs Day as Kashmir Solidarity Day today on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that all of Pakistan was united against India's "illegal, unilateral, reckless and coercive attempt" to alter the status of occupied Kashmir, Radio Pakistan reported.

Today marks the 54th anniversary of the 1965 Pakistan-India war when the nation's forces defended the country from an Indian attack on Pakistani soil. This year, the day is being observed to pay tribute to the country’s martyrs and to reaffirm commitment to defending Pakistan against all threats.

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 after Fajr prayers for the independence of occupied Kashmir as well as for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan, Radio Pakistan reported.

The main ceremony for Defence Day was held at the General Headquarters in Rawal­pindi, where Chief of Army Staff Gen 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 Maj Gen Muhammad Aamir laid a wreath on Iqbal's 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-i-Azam in Karachi.

According to the interior ministry, the offices throughout the country will be closed by 3pm to mark the day and show solidarity with Kashmiris and martyrs. People are encouraged to visit the families of the martyrs to assure them of full support.

In a message shared on the occasion, Prime Minister Imran said September 6 stands out in Pakistan's history as a "symbol of enduring display of unity, indomitable courage and unmatched sacrifices by our gallant soldiers".

He said that years ago soldiers had "proved to the world that the country's defence is unassailable and the valiant armed forces are ever ready to defend every inch of the motherland".

"In the 1965 war, the valour of our armed forces and the spirit of our people presented a true picture of oneness and coordination, discipline and perseverance. Both the people and the men in uniform proved that it’s not the size that matters but what matters the most is the courage and devotion to duty."

He applauded the sacrifices of the armed forces for ensuring the safety and security of the country.

"Our shuhada and ghazis are our heroes and the nation owes them gratitude and respect," he said.

The premier said that today the "enemy" was once again showing "aggressive postures" on the Line of Control (LoC), adding that a "reign of terror" had been unleashed on the people of occupied Kashmir.

Read: 'Is the international community's humanity dead when Muslims are being persecuted?'

The Indian government had placed Kashmiri leaders under house arrest and imposed a strict curfew and communications blackout in the region before it repealed Article 370 of the constitution, revoking occupied Kashmir's special status. The lockdown has now continued for a month.

"For Pakistan, Kashmir stands as its jugular vein. Altering its status poses challenges to Pakistan’s security and integrity. The fascist government is hell-bent upon suppressing the Kashmiri people’s just struggle against India’s illegitimate occupation, denying them their right to self-determination permissible under the United Nations resolutions," Prime Minister Imran said.

"I have called upon the world community to take note of the doctrine of hate and genocide and push India to stop it forthwith. I have also urged upon the international community to seriously consider the safety and security of India’s nuclear arsenal that is in the control of a racist and Hindu supremacist government; this is an issue that impacts not just the South Asian region but the whole world."

The premier added that Pakistan had started "proactive diplomatic activity" around the world in order to "expose the true face of today's radicalised India".

"On our part, we as a nation are fully alive to any kind of misadventure by the enemy and will respond.

"I have informed the world that Pakistan does not want war, but at the same time, Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to the challenges posed to its security and integrity. We are prepared to give the enemy the fullest possible response. Failing, the world community will be responsible for the catastrophic aftermath."

The prime minister said that Pakistan would not leave Kashmiris alone and would continue to provide "moral, political and diplomatic support for their inalienable right to self-determination within the framework of [the] UN resolutions".

Prime Minister Imran expressed his confidence in the capability of the armed forces to give a "befitting response to any kind of aggression by the enemy".

"We have already displayed a very high standard of professionalism in the recent past and we will continue to do so when challenged," he said.

While paying tribute to the 1965 war heroes, the premier said: "Under the same September spirit, the nation and the armed forces are determined to defend every inch of [the] motherland and safeguard the security and sovereignty of Pakistan at all costs."

In his Defence Day message, President Dr Arif Alvi said that today Pakistan was reiterating its solidarity with Kashmiris and renewing the country's resolve to continue supporting Kashmiris right to self-determination.

"We will continue raising their just struggle for freedom at all levels and platforms. Indian brutalities and cruelties cannot suppress their spirit of freedom," he added.

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