KARACHI: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was a key element in counter-terrorism and lauded the role of its airmen and women in the Operation Zarb-e-Azb and other campaigns against terrorists.
Addressing the firepower demonstration by PAF fighter aircraft at Somiani Range near Karachi, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction that the PAF was working in close coordination with Pakistan Army, which was deployed in some of the most challenging terrains for a modern battlefield.
The Prime Minister said the threats faced by the country were not traditional, however the defence forces were ever-ready and well-trained to handle challenges and protect the national sovereignty.
He said the world acknowledged the contribution of Pakistan towards maintaining peace and appreciated its consistency in domestic and foreign policy.
“Our national resolve and commitment to eliminate the menace of terrorism has earned us a sound repute and respect in international society,” he said.
The Prime Minister said he was immensely pleased to witness the impressive firepower demonstration by the fighter pilots of the PAF and added that the event was a reflection of PAF’s combat fighting, readiness and dedicated teamwork by all ranks.
He extended felicitations to the Chief of the Air Staff for successful completion of the inter-squadron competition, in which the PAF fighter squadrons demonstrated their excellence in weapon delivery standards.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the history of Pakistan Air Force was replete with examples of valour by the personnel who sacrificed their lives to defend the aerial frontiers of the country.
He said the unmatched courage and heroism of the PAF’s air warriors had always made the nation proud.
“The today’s demonstration showed the same level of dedication and selflessness that was once demonstrated by valiant men like M M Alam, Rafiqui and others,” he said.
He termed the PAF personnel true custodians of the legacy of unmatched courage and unwavering commitment and said their sacrifices for the future of nation were truly acknowledged.
The Prime Minister said despite many external and internal challenges, Pakistan was steadily gaining strength and sailing through difficult times.
“InshaAllah, Pakistan will soon emerge as a strong and prosperous nation in the region,” he said.
He said the significance of air power and its role in attaining strategic objectives had increased manifold in current times.
He said no doubt, the enthusiasm PAF’s air warriors as witnessed today, could make one rightfully believe that it was an air force that was second to none.
He expressed satisfaction that the PAF was fast modernizing itself by undertaking many foreign and indigenous initiatives, the foremost among the JF-17 Thunder which termed a project of national pride.
Nawaz Sharif said the government would extend full cooperation to enhance PAF’s capabilities and expressed the hope that the PAF would continue to strive for excellence to maintain its glorious traditions of valour.
Earlier, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman in his address said the unique event of firepower was an opportunity for the PAF fighters to exhibit their skills in using air-to-ground weapons with precision.
He said this was first time `JF-17 Thunder Aircraft’ have participated in the PAF Inter-Squadron Armament Competition.
He said the Pakistan Air Force was fully prepared to thwart the nefarious designs of enemies and ready to defend homeland.
Air Vice Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan said firepower involved the PAF’s range of potential weapons and played a pivotal role in training of pilots.
He mentioned that 17 JF-Thunder aircraft were fully operational with the PAF.
Defence Minister Khwaja Asif and officials of PAF were present. The parents of Pakistan’s first woman pilot Mariam Mukhtar, who recently died in an air crash, also attended the ceremony. Agencies