MANDI BAHAUDDIN/GUJRANWALA/TO-BA TEK SINGH/SIALKOT - Like other parts of the country, the Defence Day of Pakistan was observed across the Punjab province with a pledge to defend the motherland at all costs. In Mandi Bahauddin, ex-servicemen held a ceremony at Hamara Mandi Bahauddin FM98 Hall and paid rich tributes to the country's brave sons who demonstrated courage and valour in the 65 and 71 wars against India and on other fronts to defend the country. Addressing the ceremony, Ex-Servicemen Society President Major (r) Sher Muhammad Gondal said the greatest tank battle of the world at Chawinda was fought by our soldiers. He said the existence of our country is a result of the soldiers' sacrifices. He said, "The country was faced with external and internal threats of serious nature. As long as our armed forces have the support of public, enemy would badly fail in its evil designs." Referring to the soldiers' fighting against external and internal enemies, he said ex-servicemen realise their difficulties and would stand behind them whenever they were called to play their role to defend the country. He said, "Some elements in the country indulged in propaganda against armed forces. People must discourage such people," he said. Major (r) Nasir said, "Our country is facing external and internal threats that are dangerous for the country. However, our armed forces are fully prepared to overcome such threats."In GUJRANWALA, the Defence Day was observed in cantonment. The Day dawned with prayers in the headquarters and units for prosperity of the country. Dua was offered for the eternal peace of martyrs. Special message of the chief of army staff was read out on the occasion. A floral wreath-laying ceremony was held at the grave of Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Nishan-e-Haider, at his native town in Ladian district Gujrat to pay homage to the hero of 1965 War. Corps Commander Gujranwala Lieu-Gen Raheel Sharif placed floral wreath at the grave of Shaheed and offered fateha. A contingent of Pakistan Army saluted the great warrior of 1965. A large number of people belonging to various walks of life attended the ceremony.Major Raja Aziz Bhatti was born in 1928. He was commissioned to Punjab Regiment in 1950. Major Raja Aziz Bhatti was appointed company commander in Burki area of Lahore Sector. He fought with his forward platoon under incessant artillery for five days and nights in the defence of the BRB Canal. He led his men from the front under constant attack and tried to counter every Indian offensive.He was awarded Nishan-e-Haider, the nation's highest military gallantry award, for displaying the exemplary courage till he embraced Shahadat while defending his country. In TOBA TEK SINGH, on the Defence Day, Christian community offered prayer service in Catholic Church on Warryam Road. They also prayed for Pakistan army martyrs and held a candlelight vigil. In a meeting, Christian leaders and rights activists including Ms Rafia Saloomi, Ayub Anjum and Rasheed Jalal paid tribute to late Christian Cecil Chuadhry, one of the heroes of 1965 war.In SIALKOT DISTRICT, the Defence Day was celebrated with enthusiasm in Sialkot, Daska, Pasrur and Sambrial tehsils on Thursday. The daylong programmes started with special prayers for unity, prosperity and solidarity of the country as well as early liberation of Indian held Kashmir in mosques of the district. Special Quran Khawani was also held at various places for Shuhada who sacrificed their lives in the defence of their motherland. On the occasion, Hilal-e-Istiqlal hoisting ceremony was also held under the auspices of Tehsil Municipal Administration Sialkot, and Station Commander Sialkot Muhammad Saleem along with District Coordination Officer Zahid Saleem Gondal. Hilal-e-Istiqlal was awarded to people of Sialkot on courage they demonstrated during 1965 war. Several educational, cultural and literary bodies are holding colourful programmes in accordance with the day. A large number of people were visiting graves of Shuhada in Chawinda where the biggest tank battle was fought after the Second World War.In JHELUM, Defence Day of Pakistan was celebrated with simplicity and renewal of pledge to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country at all cost.The day dawned with prayers in Army Units. Special dua was offered for the eternal peace of the martyrs who laid down their lives in defence of the country.Corps Commander Gujranwala Lt-Gen Raheel Sharif laid a floral wreath at the grave of Major Aziz Bhatti in Ladian near Gujrat and offered fateha. Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed embraced martyrdom in 1965 at Burki, Lahore.In BUREWALA, the defence day was celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm as the day dawn with special prayers for the sovereignty and integrity of the country at mosques and people enthusiastically paid homage to the martyrs of 1965 war. A special ceremony in this regard was held at the "mazar" of the Major Tufail Muhammad Shaheed in Chak 253/EB Tufailabad, where Station Commander Okara Cantt Brig Khalid Mukhtar Farani along with Lt-Col Salman Moin, Major Zaigham Ikhlaq and Lt Sharjeel Bin Riaz laid floral wreaths on the behalf of the Chief of Army Staff. A contingent of 14th-Baloch and 13th-Punjab regiments presented guard of honour to the martyr's grave. Vehari DCO Ehsan Ahmad Bhutta, AC Manzoor Ahmad, Tehsildar Qamar Mahmood Manj, DSP Mazhar Khan Wattoo, DSP Traffic Raja Shahid Nazir and other officers and notables of the area attended the ceremony.In HAVELI LAKHA, Azad Kashmir Regiment saluted to the heroes of 65 war here at Army Graveyard Chowk Shaheedan Haveli Lakha. The ceremony was started early morning 8:30 army men's saluted with wreath of flower and offered dua. Later children of different schools, especially Ahmad Public School performed national songs, tablues.In SARGODHA, Defence Day was celebrated with zeal and patriotism here in the district. The central ceremony of hoisting Hilal-e-Istaqlal was held at Jinnah Hall here the other day. Commissioner Sargodha Shaukat Ali was the chief guest at the ceremony. As per details, the speakers paid homage to the martyrs of 1965 war in their expressions and pledged to work for the solidarity, stability, prosperity and development for the country.