White and Green Salute

In a bid to intimidate her newly born neighbour, India crossed the international border into Pakistan on the western front declaring the beginning of the war in September 1965, reaffirming her incendiary approach and limpid hegemonic ambitions in the region. In the village of Barki in Lahore, an attempt was made to cross the BRB canal besides Kashmir and other sectors while launching an offensive aimed at defeating Pakistan. However, Pakistan’s Armed Forces rose to the challenge following the sudden Indian thrust and held the bridges over the canal and stood firm defending every inch of the Pakistani territory.

Several days into the misbegotten venture, the tide shifted and the Indian Army and Air Force, severely mauled as it was after suffering huge losses, started showing signs of demoralization. The Pakistani forces showed resilience and determination to set aside the numerical strength of the Indian Army and gradually turned the tables on its adversary with effective counter-strikes to repulse the attack and defended its territory till it proved decisive and ceasefire came into effect.

India’s preposterous counsel and meager imagination led her to underestimate the genuine potential and strength of our Armed Forces, which was extraordinary and barely tapped yet, for a newly born country that had yet to establish itself. Of such miscalculations and impulsiveness this war was made. Yet there laid a major victory as it bolstered the verisimilitude of the Army to realize its strength and for the nation realizing its need to stand united against the enemy.

The times have changed but not the spirits. Pakistan Army is facing all its internal and external enemies with same gusto, resilience and spirits second-to-none. Besides being fully prepared to meet the external threats, on internal front the war against terrorism is being fought and won in all battle zones. Combing Operations, a joint civil-military counter-terrorism operation, along with IBOs to root out militants across entire Pakistan are being spearheaded by the Army. Operation Khyber-III, launched on August 16, is targeting terrorists holed up beyond Tirah Valley on the Pak-Afghan border. The emphasis of this kinetic operation is rooting out their leftover safe havens and the network of facilitators.

Pakistan has learnt various tactical lessons of war against terrorism over the years. These moves implemented at the most opportune times would keep a lid on militancy across the board without any discrimination while whittling them down to irrelevancy, drastically weakening the capacity of Taliban and their affiliates to strike back with force. The offensive is a part of Pakistan’s efforts to ensure a comprehensive and well-functioning border management system to check infiltration of terrorists who commute between Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan.

In an endeavour to seek enduring peace and goodwill in the region, new deployments and structures are being made to improve border management along with stringent measures for the surveillance of all cross-border movement indiscriminately. Strengthening the border mechanism would prove vital to take the ongoing fight against terrorism to a logical end. But it necessitates both sustained effort and significant cooperation from Afghanistan government in identifying and rooting out disruptive elements. Afghanistan cannot sit back and hope that the game would change magically bringing about an end to the disrupted behaviour of unsavory foes.

Any attempt to jeopardize Pakistan’s national security or to push matters to extremities would be thwarted by Pakistan Army and the nation as one. Pakistan is not a nation that is terrified of the enemy but a body politic that has and would cast off the dastardly antagonism in this locus of time, the times bygone and the times to come. We salute every martyr and veteran who defeated our enemy in 1965 and who are still fighting the war against the religiously misguided enemies.

September 6, 1965 shall always remain alive in the history of Pakistan as the white and green salute from the motherland to the brave sons of the soil whose selfless sacrifices removed the existential threat and gave the Muslims and religious minorities of Pakistan a chance for peace and prosperity, for progress and for light and knowledge.

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