ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan observed its 54th Defense Day on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed that Islamabad was prepared to give the “fullest possible” response to India’s actions in disputed Kashmir.
Defense Day, which is held on September 6, marks the anniversary of the defense of the country’s territory in the 1965 war with archrival India.
Tensions have once again flared between the two nations since New Delhi on Aug. 5 revoked the constitutional autonomy of the part of Kashmir that it administers, and moved to quell objections by shutting down communications and clamping down on local leaders.
Pakistan reacted with fury, cutting trade and transport ties and expelling India’s ambassador. In a message on the occasion of Defense Day, Khan said: “I have informed the world that Pakistan does not want war, but at the same time, Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to the challenges posed to its security and integrity.”
He added: “We are prepared to give the enemy the fullest possible response.”
Khan said the world community would be responsible for the “catastrophic aftermath” of Indian actions in Kashmir.
“The enemy is once again showing aggressive postures on the Line of Control, it has unleashed reign of terror on innocent and unarmed people of the occupied valley after changing the status of Kashmir by abolishing Articles 370 and 35-A in violation of the UN Charter,” Khan said.
Addressing a ceremony at the military headquarters in Rawalpindi to celebrate Defense Day, Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa said the Kashmir issue is an “unresolved agenda” of the realization of Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s armed forces are ready to give any sacrifice for the people of Kashmir … and are prepared to go to any extent,” the chief said. “Pakistan will never leave them (the people of Kashmir) alone.”
President Arif Alvi in his message to the nation said Sept. 6 dawned every year with “remembrance of national spirit and for renewal of our resolve to lay down our lives for our beloved motherland.”
He reiterated Pakistan’s will to continue to support the people of Kashmir in their right to self-determination.
“Pakistanis will not rest or sleep, or acquiesce or give up until India ceases its horrendous human rights violation ... and the Kashmiris achieve their legitimate right to self-determination as per the United Nations Security Council Resolutions,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.