On May 9, 2023 former Prime Minister Imran Khan was arrested from Islamabad High Court (IHC), massive protests broke out in Pakistan. The violent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protesters not only targeted public properties but also attacked Pakistan Army’s General Head Quarter (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, military installations, officer’s houses, military vehicles and martyr’s memorials across the country. After witnessing the unprecedented horror, 9th May was declared a “Black Day” in the history of Pakistan’s armed forces and 25th of May as “Martyrs Reverence Day” to pay tribute and show solidarity with traumatized families of martyrs. The purpose behind observing Martyrs Reverence Day is to appreciate martyrs sacrifices and efforts for the safety of the country and uphold their dignity and prestige.
General Asim Munir while addressing the military awards distribution ceremony held on May 22 at GHQ Rawalpindi, said that “the attacks on military installations and martyrs’ memorials are highly regrettable and intolerable”. The ceremony was held in honor of the martyrs, their families and Ghazis (who successfully returned alive from the battleground).COAS further said the martyrs and Ghazis are the “valuable assets and capital of pride” of the armed forces of Pakistan.
“The Pakistan Army as a unit always remembered every person associated with it and their families, and its relationship as a family is proud and unprecedented,” the COAS remarked during the ceremony. The Pakistan Army’s officers and soldiers received military honors from General Asim Munir for their valor and exceptional services to the country throughout numerous operations against hostile forces.51 officers received Tamgha-e-Imitiaz (Star of Distinction-Military), 22 officers and jawans (soldiers) received Tamgha-e-Basalat, and two jawans received the United Nations Special Medal.
General Asim said, “Unquestionably, the martyrs’ sense of duty and significant sacrifices are the reasons we live in a free environment. Regardless of regional, linguistic, or political prejudices or disparities, every soldier and commander in the Pakistani Army prioritizes their tasks and obligations. He emphasized that a powerful army ensures the safety and cohesion of the nation. Families of martyrs officers from different arms services attended the event.
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The democratic process comprises protests, marches, demonstrations, counterdemonstrations, news conferences, public and private gatherings, but this right to assemble does not excuse violent protests. There is nothing comparable to the despicable incident of May 9, 2023 in the nation’s 75-years history. Every peace-loving citizen of Pakistan was shook and heartbroken at the incident that happened due to the violent and criminal-minded protestors. Both the culprits and those who aided them are equally to blame for the immense damage they have done to the state and its prestigious institutions.
The Pakistani military is considered the “9th most powerful military” in the world by Global Firepower, proof enough of the institution’s unmatched professionalism and competence. Over the years, Army has continued to be the nation’s best-managed, most orderly, and most responsive organization. In fact, it is perhaps a major factor that has kept this country united so far. It wouldn’t be impolite to draw the conclusion that the horrible occurrence of May 9, 2023 was the result of a one-man egoistic cult political approach that incited his followers to damage and hurt the prestigious institution. While the country as a whole is currently struggling to wiggle-out from political and economic turmoil, the Pakistani nation must not forget the sacrifices offered by its armed forces and every life that was laid down for the future of the motherland.
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