The Spirit of a Just Cause

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Wajeeha Bilal

In the late 6th Century BCE, China was reaching the end of the so called Spring and Autumn period in which philosophers had flourished. Much of the thinking had focused on moral philosophy or ethics and the political philosophy concentrated on the morally correct way that the state should organize its internal affairs. The culmination of this came with Confucious’s integration of traditional virtues into a hierarchy led by a sovereign, and administered by a bureaucracy of scholars. But towards the end of this period, the political stability of the various states of China became fragile and tensions between them increased as the population grew. In this atmosphere military advisors became as important as the civil bureaucrats and military strategy began to reform political thinking. The most influential work on the subject was “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, a general in the army of the King of Wu.It was later an important influence on the tactics of revolutionaries, including Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh.

The debate of war ethics alsopersistedamongst the Greeks and the Romans, though both civilizations infringed those ethics. War ethics weredeveloped further by St Augustine who believed all wars to be evil and St Thomas Aquinas who believed that sometimes it was necessary to fight in order to preserve or restore peace in face of aggression. Later centuries introduced new views about the ethics of war. Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau were seventeenth and 17th and 18thcentury philosophers with contrasting theories about human nature. Hobbes’s view was that human beings needed to be ruled by government as the state of nature was a terrible dog-eat-dog world. Rosseau argued that it was the civil society and property that led to war with the state as the agency through which war could be pursued. In these debates of war and its cause,Friedrich Nietzsche’s name still invites hostility. Like Marx and Freud, he was a leading light in the school of suspicion intent on stripping away the veil from received notions and comforting beliefs. His philosophy was nihilist meaning that it was impossible to find meaning in existence.

The problem of the justification of war and conflict and their relationship with politics may never be resolved yet the clearest example of a just cause is self-defence against an aggressor. Self-defence is one of the exceptions to the prohibition against use of force under Article 2(4) of the UN Charter and customary international law. This refers to the defence of a state against an attack by another state.Self-defence in international law refers to the inherent right of a State to the use of force in response to an armed attack. The best example of this necessary and proportionate use of force and defence against an unlawful attack came during the 1965 war,fought between Pakistan and India.

On 6thSeptember, 1965,without any formal declaration of war, the Indian military crossed the international border at midnight and attacked the cities of Lahore, Kasur, and Sialkot. Charged with fearlessness and courage, Pakistanis dealt the Indian-surprise attacks valiantly.The 17-day long war ended on September 22, 1965, agreeing to the UN-administered ceasefire though Pakistan’s strong defence not only defeated the Indian military but also hammered the Indian cause.

Special tributes are paid every year to the martyrs of 1965 war and their sacrifices for the motherland. On this glorious day,we declareour utmost gratitude tohonorable martyrs who had sacrificed their blood and souls for the protection of the country which was founded by our fathers on the principles of faith, unity, and discipline. Martyrdom is the highest degree of devotion and dedication to the homeland, and only great nations are built through sacrifice and sincere belonging.Islam is a peaceful religion, and all Muslimswish to live in peace. But even believers in Islam need to defend themselves against invasion and attack from those who threaten their peace and religion. This duty is encapsulated in the Islamic idea of Jihad meaning struggle or striving and this idea commends the sacrifices of those who lay their lives fearlessly defending their honor during war and struggle.

Every year Defence Day is observed to dignify and recognize those martyrs who sacrificed their lives defending the honour of their homeland. Names of Sarwar Shaheed and Aziz Bhatti Shaheedare at the top of our war heroes and the list goes on with Sarfaraz Rafique Shaheed, M.M. Alam and many more.The army was soon successful in the Khem Karan sector, and the Lahore front was secured.The nation will never forget the sacrifices of our martyrs that provide us with determination, strength and solidarity.We all stand, on this occasion, in admirationfor those who have promised their lives to the support of their homeland and nation.Our Defence Day, 6th September, is a true embodiment of the unburied memories and the spirit of a just cause for war in history.

(@WajehaBilal)