The death of the martyr is the life of the nation 

Shudai SalalaBy Gp Capt (R) S. M. Hali  

Pakistan, which came into being owing to the sacrifices of its founding fathers and later survived the onslaught of wars, trials and tribulations of various calamities, has lived up to the highest traditions of paying homage to its martyrs.

Though a nation is grateful to its saviours and martyrs for every breath it takes, it is befitting that April 30 has been dedicated as the “Yaum-e-Shuhada” or “Day of the Martyrs”. On this day, the nation reiterates the supreme sacrifice of their lives by the martyrs for the defence of the sovereignty of the nation; their deeds inscribed in the annals of time and also reassures the families of the martyrs that their sacrifice was not in vain, it will never be forgotten and for every step of their lives, the nation will express solidarity with their kin.

Pakistan is blessed with such gallant sons of the soil, who never demurred to meet every challenge head on; whether it was storms, tempest, deluge or earthquakes, or defending the honour, dignity and sovereignty of the nation from assailants, who dared to assault the geographical boundaries or the peace and solitude of the nation imperiled through terror attacks.

The lives and deeds of our martyrs are emblazoned in epoch making chapters of our glorious history since they were inscribed with their blood, guts and glory. We are doubly blessed being the custodians of the grand heritage comprising the eternal deeds of valour of our Martyrs. Their selfless acts also serve as an example for the generations to come to follow in the footsteps of our heroes, and carve their own deeds of courage. Our martyrs sacrificed their lives in order to preserve the nation’s right to exist according to the vision of our founding fathers and uphold the mission and noble principles for which Pakistan was created. This in essence is the raison d’être of why every soldier of the armed forces readily embraces death, willingly responds to the call of duty to engrave fresh episodes of bravery on every front.

For the last decade and half, a faceless and wily enemy has engaged the nation in an undeclared war but the military has proved equal to the task in picking up the gauntlet with audacity and boldness. The entire nation has sacrificed in the ongoing war against terror while the masses and the military remain united to defeat the treacherous adversary, wherever he may be hiding and to root out the scourge of terrorism, which has plagued Pakistan.

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Cowards die many times before their death; the valiant never taste death but once. We Muslims never fear death for we know that sacrificing our lives in the defence of our principles, our ideals, our way of lives and our freedom pays its own rich dividends. The Martyr never dies; his deed, his bravery and his name live on forever. How lucky is that nation which is inhabited by valiant sons of the soil, who sacrifice their today for our tomorrow. The nation is equally blessed with the brave mothers, sisters, daughters, fathers and sons, who willingly send their kin to defend the nation and shed nary a tear at their martyrdom but thank the Lord for the glory and honour bestowed upon them by the bravery of the Shaheed.

Ever since Pakistan’s inception, its armed forces had to face numerous challenges. Immediately after independence, the military was called in to extend protection to the exodus of the refugees, who were trudging towards Pakistan, the “Promised Land” but were being set upon by gangs of marauders and fanatics, killing and looting to halt their march to freedom. In October 1947, the Indian military forcibly occupied Kashmir. The Pakistan Army, despite its meager and depleted arsenal of arms, ammunition and logistic support, was tasked to help liberate the Valley. Eighteen years down the line, in September 1965, Indian assault on Pakistan resulted in a full scale war. The armed forces blunted the naked aggression but only after paying a heavy price of the sacrifice of a number of its gallant soldiers.

In 1971, the mettle of the Armed Forces was again put to test. Never having accepted the sovereignty of Pakistan, India was incessantly conspiring to extinguish the flame of life of Pakistan through its machinations. Through sedition, India managed to incite Bengalis to rebellion against the state of Pakistan. It trained and armed the insurgents, created the revolutionary group “Mukti Bahini” even going to the extent of swelling its ranks with regular Indian soldiers; finally directly attacking East Pakistan. Outnumbered by a ratio of 1:10, deprived of logistic support from its western wing and victimized by international propaganda triggered by India, the armed forces of Pakistan put up a valiant effort but India managed to sever our eastern wing and create Bangladesh.

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The devious machinations of our eastern neighbour never ceased and it has been constantly assaulting Pakistan through direct and indirect attacks. Its war mongering team is cognizant of the fact that the main stumbling block in thwarting India’s odious designs to destabilize Pakistan is its military. Through the employment of Chanakyan principles of deceit and guile, the Indians have been attempting to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of the civilian population and the military to reduce the trust of the nation in its armed forces. Despite its heinous efforts, the military has managed to hold its own and preserve the confidence reposed in it by the people of Pakistan to defend its geographical and ideological frontiers.

The advent of 9/11 altered the character of warfare. Instead of set piece battles, the theatre of war shifted to cities and built up areas. The demon of terrorism that was unleashed, found sanctuaries in public places. It mingled in the common people and targeted mosques, schools, colleges, hospitals and markets to weaken the resolve of the nation to support the effort to combat terrorism. The atrocious aim of the enemy was to dilute the confidence of the masses in the ability of the military to defend them. Simultaneously, military cantonments, infrastructure and communication links were assaulted to test the determination of the armed forces to continue with their mission of combating terror wholeheartedly. The scourge of terrorism was complicated with the advent of suicide bombers, who were odiously recruited and through brainwashing and subliminal programming, motivated to launch their attacks. It goes to the credit of the military leadership and its brave personnel, who readjusted their strategy and tactics to combat the bane of terror attacks. The resilience of the nation also merits praise, since it has borne the attacks but maintained its faith in the defenders of Pakistan.

Be it the battlefields of Swat, the treacherous terrain of Waziristan or topographically difficult to surmount territory of FATA, the valiant personnel of Pakistan Army have led from the front, remaining oblivious to the dangers and the gravity of the threat, they have been motivated to fight the crafty and devious enemy by sheer brawn. Operations Rah-e-Rast, Rah-e-Haq, Zalzala, Sirat-e Mustaqeem or Rah-e-Nijat have all been massive display of valour, sacrifice and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. One remarkable aspect of these operations is that when the civilians were forced to be displaced, it was the army which undertook the daunting challenge of sheltering them in camps, managed the logistics, assuaged their woes and as soon as the threat had been decimated, brought the IDPs back to their homes in minimum time. The hearts and minds of the downtrodden masses, reeling under the impact of the terror attacks in the tribal area were won, when the army sappers took up the intimidating challenge of rebuilding the schools, roads, hospitals, houses and bridges. The enemy tried to place impediments in their paths by planting IEDs, but our brave soldiers continued their task of rebuilding undeterred.

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There are few examples of the deeds of valour of the personnel of Pakistan army, since the ratio of officers sacrificing their lives vis-à-vis the enlisted men is one of the highest in the world. The reason for that is, the officer cadre of Pakistan Army leads the frontal assault. It is befitting that the nation pays homage to the selfless sacrifice of its martyrs in an imposing and majestic manner.

Indeed the death of the martyr is the life of the nation and the blood of the martyr is the penance paid for the nation. O martyrs in the path of steadfastness, the whole nation salutes you. The fires that were lit to destroy our hearth and homes by the treacherous enemy have been extinguished by your own blood. You have saved our offspring from being orphaned and preserved the honour of the nation’s daughters. Surely the Holy Prophet (MPBUH) must have embraced you while Ali (RAU)’s breast must have swelled with pride at your gallant deeds and Hussain (RAU) must have smiled and brought you the glad tidings that the Almighty blesses your sacrifice.  May you rest in peace (Ameen).