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Martyrs Respect Day: PM says ‘tragic’ events of May 9 a ‘wake-up call for us’

Martyrs Respect Day: PM says ‘tragic’ events of May 9 a ‘wake-up call for us’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Thursday that the “tragic and heart-rending” events of May 9 — when violent protests broke out in the country following the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan — were a “wake-up call for us”, adding that all those who wanted to destroy the foundations of Pakistan needed to be identified and exposed.

The premier’s remarks came as events were held to mark Youm-i-Takreem Shuhada-i-Pakistan. Earlier this week, Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir had condemned the attack on military installations and memorials on May 9 as intolerable and announced that tribute would be paid to the country’s martyrs today (May 25).

According to Radio Pakistan, several commemorative ceremonies will be held at martyrs’ memorials. A ceremony was also held at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi earlier in the day where COAS Munir and his predecessor, retired General Qamar Javed Bajwa, were in attendance.

“Today the nation is solemnly observing Youm-i-Takreem Shuhada-i-Pakistan to pay its glowing tributes to our heroes, ghazis, and martyrs and express its unflinching solidarity with their families,” PM Shehbaz said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“I don’t see the tragic incidents of May 9 as merely a protest that became violent. The designs of those who planned them were actually very sinister.

“There was a clear build-up to the shameful incidents, as the whole nation witnessed in utter disbelief and a state of shock how the lust of some people for power made them do what was never done before,” he said.

“By targeting, desecrating and destroying the monuments of shuhada, and attacking the very symbols of the state, the miscreants attacked the idea and identity of Pakistan and gave the enemies of the country reasons to celebrate,” the prime minister said.

“Our nation knows how to protect the honour of their martyrs. The tragic and heart-rending events of May 9 are a wake-up call for us. We have to identify and expose all such people who want to destroy the foundations of Pakistan. May 9 has drawn up a dividing line between the protectors and builders of Pakistan and those who wish to weaken it,” he said.

The prime minister said that today the nation revived and reiterated its pledge to uphold the honour and respect of the country’s martyrs.

“The essence of Pakistan’s existence lies in the spiritual covenant between its people and the martyrs. The creation of Pakistan is a miracle of the 20th century and its edifice stands on the sure foundation of their sacred blood. We will never be able to thank them enough,” he said.

In his message, President Dr Arif Alvi said said that today was being observed to pay tribute to the “unprecedented courage and sacrifices of our ancestors and personnel of our security forces who have rendered great sacrifices for the motherland”.

“The integrity and security of our country would not have been possible without their valuable services,” President Alvi said.

“The entire nation is proud of our valiant martyrs who displayed the spirit of patriotism and fearlessness in testing times throughout our history. Apart from defending the frontiers of the country, our security forces successfully defeated the menace of terrorism. Pakistan single-handedly contained the scourge of terrorism due to the bravery and sacrifices of its forces.

“We should not forget that even during natural calamities and pandemics, our security forces stood shoulder to shoulder with their people and provided timely relief and assistance to their fellow countrymen,” he said.

President Alvi further said that he regularly contacted the families of martyrs. “During my interactions with them, I feel proud over their spirt of patriotism towards the motherland. The entire nation acknowledges their contributions towards the defence of the nation and salutes them for laying down their lives for the motherland,” he said.

He went on to say that Pakistan was facing “various challenges” and unity was needed to overcome them.

“Let us pledge on this day that we will never forget our valiant martyrs and reiterate our commitment to always honour them and express our undying love for these brave sons and daughters of the nation,” he said.

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