Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said on Saturday that the people of Pakistan were destined to move towards prosperity but the country’s dignity and honour would not be compromised to achieve this objective.
“Pakistan is a peace-loving country and wants friendly relations with other countries and our every step should move towards prosperity of the people. But we will not compromise our dignity and honour for it,” General Kayani said while addressing a simple but impressive ceremony held in connection with the second Youm-e-Shuhada here at the General Headquarters.
The Youm-e-Shuhada is observed to pay tributes to martyrs who sacrificed their lives for their motherland since 1947. The families of Shuhada are treated as chief guest.
General Kayani also laid a floral wreath at the “Yadgar” of martyrs in front of a gathering of over 5,000 which also included families of Shuhada, Senate Chairman Farooq H Naek, Deputy Speaker National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, a large number of diplomats, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, services chiefs and senior civil and military officers.
Ceremonies in connection with Youm-e-Shuhada were also organised at all garrisons and corps headquarters.
The Army chief also made it clear that it was for the Pakistani nation to decide what was good and what was bad for the national interest. “Every Pakistani wants to live with honour and dignity and the armed forces are with them in this resolve,” he said.
He said that Pakistan is an Islamic and ideological country the foundations of which are based on blood of lacs of Shuhada who have been sacrificing their lives to materialise the dream of a prosperous and strong Pakistan for the nation. “We will have to think about our country while remaining above our interests,” he said.
General Kayani said that one should not forget for even a single moment that Pakistani people and the armed forces were like one unit.
The COAS said the nation’s strength was hidden in unity, mutual trust and strong commitment. “We believe in one force, one family and one nation,” he maintained.
He said on the eve of Youm-e-Shuhada, he is speaking with words of satisfaction and thanks, saying it is observed to recognise services of those martyrs who laid their lives for the country and wrote a new chapter of history with their blood. “We are thankful to Almighty Allah that we have not forgotten their sacrifices,” he said, adding only fortunate people embrace martyrdom.
He assured the families of martyrs that the armed forces and the nation were with them.
General Kayani said the armed forces have been fulfilling their responsibilities with full commitment whether it is fight against terror, services in flood and earthquake affected areas or safeguarding boundaries of the country. “The services of our heroes are great asset for us,” he said.
He observed that the country was passing through critical juncture of its history and only the responsible and vibrant nations could accept such big challenge. “It is our duty not to give up hope to materialise the dream of a strong and prosperous Pakistan,” he said.
The army chief also quoted a saying of Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in which he called for continuing struggle for making the country strong. “We have to make future of coming generations safe and secure and do not let disappoint dominate us,” he said.
The highlight of the Youm-e-Shuhada was the immense respect given to the families including their parents, siblings and children of military personnel who embraced martyrdom in the war against extremism.
Before the proceedings of the ceremony started, the families of the martyrs were accommodated in the halls and auditoriums inside the General Headquarters where important meetings of the senior army commanders are held and were served drinks and other refreshment. Senior officers and jawans were deputed to look after the families of the martyrs before the proceedings of the function started. It was noted that as a mark of special respect, the army officers were addressing the relatives of the martyrs as sir, mother, sister, etc.
While sitting amid the families of the martyrs, this correspondent noted that focus of their conversation remained the loving memories of their near and dear ones. Besides, they were found expressing profound regard and sentiments of special appreciation for General Kayani. Many of them were found saying that General Kayani has for the first time took various measures and arranged functions to pay tributes to the martyrs and respect to their families.
Moreover, special counters were set up for the families of martyrs on this occasion. Senior army officers were listening to the problems of the heirs of martyrs and were also receiving applications from them. It was noted that the army officers were dealing with the relatives of martyrs with great respect, affection and politeness and were trying their best to provide solace to them. In the end of the function, General Kayani shook hands with all media persons but there was no question answer session.