As the nation marks the 53rd anniversary of the 1965 Pakistan-India war on Thursday, Prime Minister Imran Khan and outgoing President Mamnoon Hussain issued their messages of solidarity in connection with Defence Day.
Prime Minister Khan in his message said Pakistan believes in peaceful coexistence and wants to promote mutual cooperation with other countries, including its neighbours, on the basis of equality, Radio Pakistan reported.
He said the people of Pakistan have the ability to brave all challenges while following Quaid-i-Azam's principles of Unity, Faith, and Discipline.
"The people of Pakistan will leave no stone unturned in defending their motherland, while standing side by side with [the] valiant armed forces of the country," he was quoted as saying.
While paying tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in defence of the country, the premier assured their families that all possible steps will be taken for their welfare.
President Hussain said the spirit of sacrifices rendered by the armed forces and the nation should inspire the people to forge unity among their ranks.
He also emphasised the need to foster collective consciousness and wisdom, saying these traits are imperative to defeat the evil designs and conspiracies of the enemy.
The president and prime minister reiterated that the resolution of the Kashmir issue in light of United Nations resolutions is imperative for peace in the region.
Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa too paid tribute to the martyrs and their relatives on the occasion.
Defence Day celebrations
The 53rd Defence and Martyrs Day is being celebrated with traditional fervour and solemnity across the country.
The day began with a 31-gun salute in the capital and 21-gun salutes in the provincial capitals. Special prayers were offered for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan, followed by change of guard ceremonies at the mausoleums of Allama Iqbal in Lahore and Quaid-i-Azam in Karachi, and a ceremony at the Pakistan Navy headquarters in Islamabad.
A number of events are scheduled to be held in connection with Defence Day across the country. A colourful ceremony is taking place at the Fortress Stadium in Lahore, with Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar as the chief guest. Chief Minister Usman Buzdar is also in attendance.
The highlight of the day will be a function scheduled for 8pm at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi to pay tribute to the martyrs. Prime Minister Khan will be the chief guest at the ceremony, which will be attended by the army chief, chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, services chiefs, ministers, senators, MNAs, diplomats, civilian officials and people from various walks of life.
Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, shared a preview of the ceremony, which will be broadcast live, on Twitter.