What are the essential ingredients of that Spirit? Unity of purpose, both among the political forces and the armed forces, to achieve a common national objective. When India launched its aggression across the international border by attacking Lahore in the wee hours of September 6, 1965, the entire Pakistan nation presented a united front to resist that aggression. The resonance of that Spirit of 1965 can now be felt in Pakistan, in the aftermath of the December 16, 2014, heinous crime against humanity committed against the school children of the Army Public School, Peshawar, which, together with the Operation Zarb-e-Azb launched against terrorists, served as a force-multiplier for forging such unity.
Like the Spirit of 1965, there is thus a 'can-do' confidence that the enemy will be defeated, and this "we shall overcome" Spirit embodies Pakistani resilience, although, unlike India in '65, the enemy today is faceless, nameless and borderless.
Only recently, on the occasion of the August 14 Independence Day, the Pakistani people felt a feel-good factor fed by optimism with faith in the future due to the successful campaign against terrorism, reinforcing a belief that the country can turn the corner by reversing wrongs of the past.
A common thread in the revival of the Spirit of 1965 today is the China factor. Then, and now as well, it is China, perceived as a reliable 'all weather' friend that stands by Pakistan in the hour of need. In 1965, China politically, diplomatically and militarily fully stood by Pakistan, even administering an ultimatum to India during the War as a gesture of solidarity. 50 years later, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is not only a game-changer but a strategic initiative that has the capability, Inshallah, to change the destiny of Pakistan, by uniting the people and provinces of Pakistan in the common quest for a better tomorrow.
The pillar on which the Spirit of September '65 is being erected, is the unity of purpose demonstrated through civil-military harmony, translated into a national resolve to curb, contain and crush terrorism. If the Parliament, the Government, civil society and media are demonstrating a clarity of commitment on the core question of terrorism and extremism as the No.1 challenge facing Pakistan, the catalyst has been the role of the Pakistan Army high command, notably the popular Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif. General Raheel has demonstrated a decisiveness conspicuous by its absence among his predecessors, since he has not been distracted by either the quest for political power or a self-perpetuating agenda. He has presided over a paradigm shift in the security establishment's policy that has bid goodbye to the outmoded notion of "strategic depth", seeking to bring about a shift in Pakistan's relations with Afghanistan, discarding the self-defeating policy that drew a distinction between "good and bad terrorists".
Given this context, as the nation celebrates the Defence of Pakistan Day, General Raheel Sharif's leadership of the Pakistan Army at this crucial moment of our history has been truly transformational. A "Soldier's Soldier" from a highly decorated military family of war heroes, he has restored the Pakistan Army's pride and professionalism. Through their heroic sacrifices and their valiant struggle to carry out the national mission of reclaiming the Quaid-i-Azam's Pakistan, within the framework of democracy, the rule of law and the Constitution, the Pakistan Army's officers and jawans are ensuring that the Spirit of September '65 is not some distant memory, but an enduring article of faith for the Pakistan of today and tomorrow.
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