Defending Together As A Nation
Defense Day ( یوم دفاع) is celebrated in Pakistan as national day to commemorate the sacrifices made by Pakistani soldiers in defending its borders. The date of 6 September marks the day in 1965 when Indian troops crossed the international border to launch an attack on Pakistani Punjab, in a riposte to Pakistan’s Operation Grand Slam targeting Jammu. While it is officially commemorated as an unprovoked surprise attack by India, which was repulsed by the Pakistan Army despite its smaller size and fewer armaments, this narrative has been criticized by Pakistani commentators as representing false history.
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 began with Pakistan sending 7,000–8,000 Soldiers disguised as locals into the Kashmir Valley with the objective of inciting the population into rebellion against India. However, the strategy went awry from the outset due to poor coordination, and the infiltrators’ presence was soon disclosed to the Indian military by local Kashmiris. In the second stage, on 1 September, it launched a tank attack, dubbed Operation Grand Slam, towards the Akhnoor bridge in the Jammu Division. It was intended to be a “short and swift, fait accompli operation”. According to scholar Shuja Nawaz, the Pakistani general intended to capture the Akhnoor bridge and swing towards Jammu to cut off India’s communications with the Kashmir Valley.
On 6 September, according to its “pre-declared strategy” of riposte, the Indian Army crossed the international border in Punjab with the objective of cutting off the Grand Trunk Road near Lahore. The attack came as a complete surprise to the Pakistani commanders. According to Air Marshal Nur Khan, the Army Chief General Musa Khan told the President on the second day of the war that the Army had run out of ammunition. He states that the Army suffered heavy losses in the war. On 23 September, Pakistan accepted an UN-mandated ceasefire.