WASHINGTON: “Our Armed Forces have a great future. They draw their strength from the sublime and indomitable spirit of our nation and the flame of hope for peace and security in the region,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States. “We are proud of their professionalism; and the entire nation is indebted to the martyrs and their families,” he continued.
Paying a glowing tribute to the valor, courage, resilience and tenacity of the armed forces, the Ambassador said that “our Armed Forces, comprising Army, Navy and Air Force, and complemented by the strategic and para-military forces, are among the strongest defense forces.”
“Their rank and file, their command and control meet the highest standards of professionalism, commitment and competence,” he added. Ambassador Masood Khan made these remarks during a special ceremony to mark ‘Defence and Martyr’s Day’ of Pakistan which is observed every year to pay tribute to those valiant sons of the soil who laid down their lives while protecting the sanctity of the motherland against a blatant act of aggression in 1965. The day is also marked to pay homage to thousands of martyrs and Ghazis of Pakistan who continue to make sacrifices for the nation.
The ceremony was moderated in by Group Caption Syed Hassan Khalid Kazmi and addressed by Defence and Army Attaché Brig Irfan Ali. It was attended by officers of the US Army, Air Force and Navy, Defence Attachés, senior US officials and members of the diplomatic corps. National anthems of Pakistan and United States and short documentaries were played on the occasion to highlight professionalism and preparedness of Pakistani Armed Forces.
“Fifty eight years ago, Pakistan’s Armed Forces defended our homeland and pushed back the aggressor. Today, we pay tribute to all those who laid down their lives to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our homeland,” said Ambassador Masood Khan. Referring to county’s fight against the menace of terrorism, he said, “To combat terrorism, our Armed Forces and our nation have paid a disproportionate and exorbitant price in blood and treasure.”
Masood Khan, on the occasion, also paid tribute to the people of Jammu and Kashmir who have been rendering huge sacrifices for decades in search of their freedom and liberties. “As we salute the martyrs of 1965, we reiterate our call for the realization of the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and international law. This is key to peace and stability in the region,” he said.
The Ambassador also thanked the United States for its support, especially during formative phase of the country, to strengthen its defence capabilities.
“As I speak, we continue to strengthen the military-to-military relationship between the Armed Forces of Pakistan and the United States with particular focus on counter- terrorism, security cooperation, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and military training. Both sides are committed to nurturing this partnership further,” he said.
In this context, Masood Khan noted that Pakistan Navy, the second largest in the region, partnered with the US led Combined Task Force – CTF 150 & 151 – for maritime security and counter-piracy. He said that Pakistan Navy had held the command of those Task Forces for 21 times.
“We thank the US Navy for regularly participating in Pakistan’s biennial multi-national AMAN exercises,” he said. “In addition, our Army and Air Force regularly hold bilateral exercises with their US counterparts,” he added.
Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (Pakistan Armed Forces) General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, NI (M) in his video message for the occasion paid tribute to the martyrs of the nation and reaffirmed unwavering commitment of the Armed Forces to continue defending the sanctity and territorial integrity of the motherland.
“06th September reminds us of extraordinary tales of our gallant soldiers who fought with unflinching valor, daunting resolve and supreme sense of sacrifice to defend our beloved country,” he said in his message.
CJCSC said that Pakistan Armed Forces were recognized worldwide for their professionalism and unwavering commitment to defend the country against any aggression. “In the recent era of history, Pakistan Armed Forces in concert with our allies, mainly the United States of America, spearheaded the global war against terror as we fought the world’s largest CT operation in contemporary times with unparalleled successes and contributions. But as a consequence to this global war, Pakistan had to pay a very heavy price,” he said.
“Pakistan believes in peaceful coexistence based on the noble objective of peace within and peace without that is peace with our neighbors and peace in the neighborhood,” he said.Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee said that Pakistan was one of the largest contributor in the peacekeeping forces for the United Nations. He highlighted that Pakistan’s forces had been deployed in 46 UN peacekeeping missions worldwide and also sacrificed 168 precious lives for the global peace.
He also said that Pakistan earnestly desired to remain constructively and positively engaged with the US to promote shared goals of peace, security and development in the region. Defence Attaché Embassy of Pakistan Brigadier Irfan Ali, in his remarks, paid a glowing tribute to the sacrifices of brave men and women of Pakistan Armed Forces, Paramilitary and Law Enforcement Agencies. While referring to Kashmir, he expressed unwavering solidarity with the people of Kashmir who are striving against Indian Occupation for their right of self-determination.