Martyrs remembered on Defence Day KARACHI: Sharing the stories of bravery and valour of heroes who laid down their lives on line for the love of their land was the highlight of Defence of Pakistan Day being observed at Malir Garrison here on Tuesday evening.
Though Corps Commander of Karachi Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar was the chief guest on the occasion, it was the proud kin of the martyred officers and soldiers who were the real VIPs for whom everyone else stood up in respect, and who walked in with their heads held high.
The graceful ceremony celebrated the lives of each and every martyr and ghazi, Pakistan’s first line of defence against its enemies. There were parents, spouses, children, brothers and sisters of the martyrs standing up to share memories of their loved ones.
Begum Khalida Saadat, a retired teacher and the niece of Major Aziz Bhatti Shaheed and elder sister of Major Shabbir Sharif Shaheed, said that her brother lives in her heart. “When Shabbir was a toddler, he had difficulty calling me Khalida Baji, so he combined both names to make it ‘Khalidaji’. To this day everyone in our family refers to me with this name,” she said.
Addressing the other guests there, who had also lost someone, she said it was a rare honour to be related to a martyr. “Tell your children about your martyred loved one. Today, I hold my head high when I think of my brother and uncle. But then I lower my head, too, for my God who gave them and me this honour.
The mother of soldier Waseem Aslam, who embraced martyrdom in Kurram Agency in 2015 while fighting against the Taliban, said that she could feel when her son stopped breathing. “It was like my own heart had stopped,” she said.
“But I wish that every mother give birth to a brave son like my son, who loved watching army tanks when growing up and only wanted to defend his country,” she said.
Subedar Gul Mohammad Shaheed was introduced as a great sportsman and boxer other than a brave soldier who got injured on the battlefield at Hilli but took off his shirt to tie around his wound and carried on fighting till his final breath.
Among so many others there was also the mention of young female fighter pilot Maryam Mukhtiar, who embraced martyrdom only last year. “She was right here in a similar celebration for other martyrs held last year,” said her mother. “I remember that she told me then that people would also know her name and honour her one day,” her mother said. “On Nov 24, 2015, my brave daughter took off in her fighter plane from here to land straight into heaven.
A month before she left us, I had a premonition about her fatal accident. I wanted to forget that so I even got her engaged. But God Almighty had other plans for her,” she said.
Addressing the gathering later, Corps Commander Lieutenant General Naveed Mukhtar said that martyrdom was the greatest of honours and the best of ways to leave this world, which only a lucky few achieved. He said the country and its armed forces were as proud of their martyred men and women as their families here.
Earlier in the day, after a change of guard ceremony at the Mazar-i-Quaid, there was also a programme held to celebrate the day at Pakistan Air Force Base Masroor where various PAF aircraft in addition to ground support and other auxiliary equipment were on display. There was also a flypast by PAF F-16, JF-17, Mirage and F7 PG aircrafts.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Navy celebrated the 51st anniversary of Defence Day of Pakistan with due solemnity and reverence.