Yaum-e-Shuhada

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.
Sun Tzu.

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Yaum-e-Shuhada is being observed throughout Pakistan on April 30. The purpose of observing this day is that Pakistanis as a nation renew resolve to never forget the sacrifices of Shuhada. Their blood is sacred and a source of pride for Pakistan Army and the Nation. It is a promise that we would never let their sacrifice go waste.

It is a tribute to unsung heroes of the soil. It stands for sacrifice, gallantry, and patriotism. Yaum-e-Shuhada is a special tribute to the enduring courage and resolute will of our great Shuhada of our Armed Forces of Pakistan. It is indeed an acknowledgment of their valuable sacrifices and to honour all those martyrs who laid their precious lives so that their nation may live long. It is true reflection of love, submission and respect to those departed souls who have always stood first for the sake of their nation’s sovereignty and pride. We have already witnessed the blood of the fearless martyrs who bravely opposed the enemy and succeeded to dismantle their evil designs. Yaum-e-Shuhada is the narrative of unlimited sacrifices of our beloved soldiers. It is a reality about those people who always keep their motherland and country beyond themselves, whenever and wherever. It provides clear guideline for the rest of the Army to follow. It is the path of glory, perfection, satisfaction and virtue. It is not just a ceremony. It is always heart-to-heart affair celebrated with pride, dignity with promise to be always ready for the sake of our country. It is faith, resolve and pride of our Armed Forces. It is also commitment of our Army to defend, protect and preserve Pakistan at all cost.

Pakistan also remembers its martyrs in golden words. The sacrifices made by these men have been acknowledged at all levels by every citizen of Pakistan. The Armed forces play such a large and vital role in our nation’s life. They are the life-line of us and time and again they proved it.

The War on Terror has caused more suffering, deaths and destruction to the people of Pakistan than of any other country in the world. It is a fact that more than 6,000 army personnel have sacrificed their lives in the ongoing war against terrorism. The officers and Jawans carry out their duties in most hostile and difficult terrain and environment. They always demonstrated height of patience, resoluteness and resilience during the course of asymmetrical warfare. They use to sacrifice their lives not opening fire at the target hiding behind the human shields.

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Every year Yaum-e-Shuhada is celebrated on April 30. There are many graceful functions and ceremonies arranged at every garrison throughout the country. Delivering a comprehensive speech on the eve of Yaum-e-Shuhada COAS General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani COAS paid high tribute to all the unsung heroes of Armed Forces of Pakistan. He praised sacrifices of martyrs, veterans and soldiers who remain steadfast and resolutely committed in the defence of the country. He assured that the nefarious designs of our enemy, may it be internal or external, will never succeed and we shall eventually prevail.

He termed soldiers determination and love as the source of real strength, which afforded a distinct edge and dominance over the enemy. He thanked the families of martyrs, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom. He profoundly acknowledged their courage and valour and prayed to the Almighty to honour their great sacrifice and to bless our motherland.
He mentioned Gayari tragedy where we had lost 140 gallant companions and promised that he would not rest till the very last body of our martyrs is recovered. He highlighted the gigantic political struggle of Quaid-e-Azam and Alama Iqbal to gain an independent country for the Muslims. The spirit of sacrifice and resilience of our Nation remains undiminished he added.
He showed great commitment towards the continuation of political/democratic transition through the holding of General Elections 2013.

“This indeed is a golden opportunity, which can usher in an era of true democratic values in the country. In my opinion, it is not merely retribution, but awareness and participation of the masses that can truly end this game of hide and seek between democracy and dictatorship he further elaborated. He asked the people to vote for the right person rising above all ethnic, linguistic and sectarian biases. He reiterated to vote solely on the basis of honesty, sincerity, merit and competence, there would be no reason to fear dictatorship or to grudge the inadequacies of our present democratic system.

“Our salvation resides in transforming the government into a true platform of public representation he shared”. He said that this would come to pass once the construct of public representation in Pakistan is oriented towards affording primacy and precedence to larger public interest over personal interests. Otherwise, may it be democracy or dictatorship, governance would continue to remain a means of self aggrandizement and that of plundering national wealth and resources.

He extended the Armed Forces full support in the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections; to the best of capabilities and remaining within the confines of the Constitution. He rightly projected that we must never forget that success of any system resides in coming up to the aspirations of the masses. “The success of democracy is intimately linked with the wellbeing and prosperity of the Nation. The real virtue of democracy ultimately lies in the safety and welfare of the masses he explained.
He anticipated that the conduct of General Elections is not an end per se, but is surely an important means towards delivering us from our present sufferings. He asked to streamline national ethos and aspirations. “The General Elections will provide us the foundation. To build on this foundation, we would have to find answers too many questions; war against terrorism being one of these questions he added.

He labeled terrorism as a menace which has already claimed thousands of lives, including those of the Army, Rangers, FC, Police, Frontier Constabulary, Levies and innocent people of Pakistan. He warned that external enemies were busy in igniting the flames of this fire. He rightly said that we must not hurt the sentiments of these saviors of the Nation through our words and deeds.

He asked to all those who have strayed and have picked up arms against the Nation, return to the national fold. “It only possible once they unconditionally submit to the State, its Constitution and the Rule of Law he added”. He feared that considering this war against terrorism as the war of the armed forces alone can lead to chaos and disarray that we cannot afford.

He expressed his profound appreciation for FC, Rangers, Police, Frontier Constabulary and Levies, who have sacrificed tremendously in the struggle against terrorism and extremism and have kept the flag of Pakistan fluttering high. He acknowledged the biggest sacrifices of the general public whose steadfastness and support is a source of immense strength for the Armed Forces of Pakistan. I salute the spirit of patriotism of the entire Nation.

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GHQ Rawalpindi and in all the Corps Head Quarters Functions are arranged to grace the sacred occasion. COAS General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani laid wreaths on the graves of martyrs in GHQ; he met their families, and listened to their problems as well. Similarly, senior army officers in Military Garrisons visited Shuhada-e-Yadgars, laid wreath on them. Functions were arranged to greet families of Shuhada.

The Army started celebrating ‘Day of Martyrs’ since 2010, the Army is keen to resolve problems of its personnel and help them. Shuhada-e-Yadgars, conveys the message that the family members of the martyrs will not be forgotten. Pakistan Army has fought on two fronts simultaneously, the eastern border and the western border. It has launched a number of full-fledged military operation Rah-e-Rast followed by Rah-e-Nijaat to fight day and night to ensure country’s survival on national as well as global level.

It has also been taking leading role in the socio-economic development of the country. It is also lending support in field of education as the army is running a network of 126 schools and colleges all over the country under the banner of APSACS.

On this remarkable days the soldiers marched supporting coffins of their comrades wrapped in green and white, with solemn faces they proceeded unaware of the breeze that blew ferociously in salutation to its valiant heroes who were lying peacefully after bestowing their lives for the nation.

The sweet fragrance emanating from them was spreading across, mesmerizing and engulfing everyone present to view the funeral procession and to pay tribute to those who had confirmed our security and wellbeing by shedding their life blood, nurturing the tree of freedom and liberty under which we now seek shelter unflinchingly and in the freshness of which we copiously breathe the unsullied air of freedom. Stopping right in the mid of the ground, the group of soldiers gently laid down the coffins with such extreme affection and devotion, for those who were sleeping within, that only a mother exhibits for her infant child.

The Pakistani nation, the Pakistan Army, the Pakistan Navy and the Pakistan Air Force, the Pakistan Police Force, Pakistan’s paramilitary and second tier security force, the state, the federal and the provincial intelligence agencies in fact everyone is no doubt, fortunate to have such flowers that blossom on its soil who feel proud to give their lives for their nation.

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Commander Lahore Corps Lieutenant General Masqood Ahmad said the supreme sacrifices, rendered by the Shuhada of the Pakistan Army was a glorious chapter of our national history. The bravery and courage displayed by officers and men in the call of duty bear testimony to our commitment and resolve for defence of the country. An impressive ceremony was held at the Yadgar-e-Shuhada in Lahore Garrison to pay homage to the Shuhada of the Armed Forces of Pakistan.

The ceremony was attended by a large number of serving and retired military personnel, high ranking civil officials representatives from cross section of society and the families of Shuhada. We as a nation owe a lot to our Shuhada who sacrificed their lives for the good of the country, the Crops Commander said. It reminds us of our duties and obligations towards our motherland, he added. Pakistan Army has never shield away from their duties responsibilities, he reminded. Commander Lahore Corps urged the officers and soldiers to follow the footsteps of their valiant predecessor and spare no effort whatsoever to ensure impregnable defence of the country.

Yaum-e-Shuhada is the icon of martyrdom which is a great honour and fortunate are those who are blessed with it. We all sincerely pray for the families of the Shuhada.

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