Pakistan marked Youm-e-Takreem Shuhada-e-Pakistan (Martyrs’ Reverence Day) on Thursday, aimed at paying tribute to martyrs who have laid down their lives in defense of the motherland and its people and remembering the sacrifices of them and their families.
All provincial governments organized events commemorating martyrs of the armed forces as well as other law enforcement agencies, with the main event staged at General Headquarters (GHQ), Rawalpindi with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Asim Munir as the chief guest. He commenced the gathering by laying a floral wreath at the martyrs’ monument, which was followed by similar gestures from various prominent personalities of the armed forces and civilians.
Apart from the Army chief, the ceremony was attended by his predecessor Gen. (retd.) Qamar Javed Bajwa; former chairman joint chiefs of staff committee Gen. (retd.) Nadeem Raza; Pakistan cricket team captain Babar Azam; Mufti Muneebur Rehman, among others.
Following the ceremony, which lasted a little over 2 hours, the Army chief also met students attending the event, as well as the children of martyrs. He vowed that the Pakistan Army would never abandon the children of martyrs, stressing that their eternal sacrifices ensure the Army’s relationship with them would never diminish.
Meanwhile, President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif issued separate statements praising martyrs and vowing to not their sacrifices be forgotten. In his statement, issued by the President’s Secretariat, Alvi said the entire nation was proud of its valiant martyrs who had displayed the spirit of patriotism and fearlessness in testing times throughout history.
“The nation owes to the heroism and sacrifices offered by the jawans (soldiers) and officers of our armed forces, including Pakistan Army, Rangers, Air Force, Navy, police, and other security institutions that made Pakistan’s defense impregnable,” he said, adding the country’s integrity and security would not have been possible without their valuable services.
Acknowledging the armed forces’ services toward crushing the menace of terrorism and assisting Pakistanis during natural calamities and the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted he was in regular contact with families of martyrs as the president and had felt “proud over their spirit of patriotism” during their interactions. “Let us pledge on this day that we will never forget our valiant martyrs and reiterate our commitment to always honor them and express our undying love for these brave sons and daughters of the nation,” he added.
In his statement, the prime minister urged the public, especially children, to visit monuments and graves of martyrs and shower flowers on them as a sign of affection and respect. He said Pakistan should show the world that it is a nation that regards its martyrs with veneration and affection. He also explained that Martyrs’ Day was being observed to pay tribute to heroes and express solidarity with their families.
In a separate Twitter post, the condemned the May 9 riots that targeted military monuments and buildings, lamenting it had given the “enemy” a reason to celebrate. “Today we revive and reiterate our pledge to uphold the honor and respect of our shuhada. The essence of Pakistan’s existence lies in the spiritual covenant between its people and the martyrs,” he added.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) also issued a statement citing the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, tri-services services chiefs, retired services officers and representatives of civil society paying tributes to martyrs. “These sacrifices will never be forgotten, irrespective of vicious propaganda by the enemies of Pakistan,” it said.
The observance of Martyrs’ Day on May 25 was announced by the Army chief earlier this week during an address at GHQ. “Every soldier and officer of the armed forces put his duty and responsibilities first regardless of regional, linguistic, and political prejudices and distinctions,” he said, while condemning the May 9 riots and vowing to ensure that all culprits were punished.