People of Pakistan, ever since its inception, have always been ready to make huge sacrifices to safeguard their independence
Sacrifice is one of the spirits of Eid-ul Azha. When Prophet Ibrahim (AS) decided to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail (AS), Allah in His beneficence and Mercy ordained Eid-ul-Azha to commemorate the spirit of sacrifice. We are asked to sacrifice an animal on the auspicious occasion and distribute a portion among the poor, friends and relatives. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was willing to sacrifice his own son but we note that the people of Pakistan, ever since its inception, are willing to make huge sacrifices for safeguarding their independence.
When Pakistan was created, there was a mass exodus of humanity. Muslims from the locations, which formed part of India, decided to move to the promised land of Pakistan. Marauding Hindus and Sikhs set upon the helpless refugee caravans, killing, raping and looting the refugees; notwithstanding that revenge seeking Muslims retaliated by pillaging and killing Hindu and Sikh refugees headed for India. Safe estimates indicate that more than 15 million people were uprooted, and between one and two million were dead.
The second occasion for sacrifice came when in October 1947; India launched troops in Kashmir to annex it. According to the Indian Independence Act of 1947, princely states were to decide by the will of the people to accede to either India or Pakistan but Indian troops forced the Maharaja of Kashmir to sign a letter of accession in favour of India. Volunteers from Pakistan including the Army, tried to liberate Kashmir. Despite their dilapidated arms, they wrested control of one third of Kashmir from India and would have succeeded in liberating the whole of Kashmir had Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru not approached the UN Security Council to implement a ceasefire. Captain Muhammad Sarwar and Naik Saif Ali Janjua are among the prominent Shaheeds of the 1947-48 Kashmir War.
Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan should be counted as the country’s first Shaheed, since he was suffering from Tuberculosis and both his lungs were perforated like a sieve but he hid his illness from all and persevered despite his frail health to achieve independence for Pakistan. The extreme ailment and exertion took its toll and the Quaid breathed his last soon after gaining independence.
Quaid’s able and trusted lieutenant Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan tried to steer Pakistan through its nascent stage, where Indian egocentricity deprived Pakistan of its just share of the assets it was to receive after partition. In the aftermath of the mass exodus of refugees, settling them, feeding and housing them, taking care of a nation whose treasury was empty, Liaquat Ali Khan performed Herculean tasks to settle Pakistan on its own feet but he was brutally assassinated because he was going to abolish feudalism in Pakistan. Liaquat Ali Khan, who was once the richest landowner of undivided India, when he embraced martyrdom, had a handful of rupees in his bank account and no personal property because he had donated all his belongings to the cause of Pakistan.
Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah should be counted as the country’s first martyr. He was suffering from Tuberculosis and both his lungs were perforated like a sieve, but he hid his illness from all and persevered despite his frail health to achieve independence for Pakistan
Major Tufail Muhammad embraced martyrdom on August 7 1958, while defending Pakistan in Lakshmipura. On 6th September 1965, India launched a full scale war on Pakistan. Its land and air forces heavily outnumbered Pakistan’s, but the people of Pakistan stood behind its armed forces like a solid edifice in face of the enemy’s onslaught and defended Pakistan with some brave tales of valour being emblazoned in the fledgling nation’s history. The supreme sacrifice of their lives by Major Raja Aziz Bhatti, Squadron Leaders Sarfaraz Ahmad Rafiqui, Munir ud-din Ahmad, Alauddin Ahmad, Muhammad Iqbal, Flight Lieutenants Younus Hussain and Saifullah Khan Lodhi to name a few, protected Pakistan from India’s invasion.
In 1971, war was thrust on Pakistan as India machinated to sever its eastern wing and create Bangladesh. Despite its defeat, Pakistan’s armed forces fought with valour and did not demur from sacrificing their lives. Names like Pilot Officer Rashid Minhas, Major Shabbir Sharif, Sawar Muhammad Hussain, Major Mohammad Akram, Lance Naik Muhammad Mahfuz, Wing Commanders Mervyn Lesley Middlecoat, Syed Muhammad Ahmad, Squadron Leaders Khusro, Muhammad Nasir Dar, Muhammad Aslam Chaudhry, Peter Christy, Hameed Quraishi, Flight Lieutenants, Saeed Afzal, Javed Iqbal and Flying Officer Naseem Nisar Baig emblazoned trails of glory with the supreme sacrifice of their lives.
In the snowy heights of Kargil, in 1999, Captain Karnal Sher Khan and Lalak Jan Shaheed along with numerous others kept the traditions of sacrifices live.
Following 9/11, global terrorism set its firm footprints on Pakistan. The brave people of Pakistan, be they the children of Army Public School Peshawar, Charsadda University or the members of the judicial community in Quetta sacrificed their lives. According to South Asia Terrorism Portal, to date 62,425 Pakistanis have sacrificed their lives while 6,813 members of the law enforcing agencies including Pakistan Army, Rangers and Police have embraced martyrdom. This is directly in line with the spirit of sacrifice enshrined in Prophet Ibrahim’s practice.