KARACHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is a key element in counter-terrorism efforts and lauded the role of its airmen and women in Operation Zarb-i-Azb and other campaigns against terrorists.

This he said while witnessing the firepower demonstration by PAF fighter aircraft at Sonmiani Range near Karachi on Monday.

The prime minister noted with satisfaction that the PAF was working in close coordination with Pakistan Army, which was deployed in some of the most challenging terrains.

He said the threats faced by the country were not traditional, but 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 to efforts for maintaining peace and appreciated its consistency in domestic and foreign policies.

Firepower demonstration by PAF fighter aircraft held at Sonmiani Range

“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 pleased to witness the impressive firepower demonstration by 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.

Mr 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 PAF’s air warriors had always made the nation proud.

“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 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. “Inshallah, Pakistan will soon emerge as a strong and prosperous nation in the region.”

He said the significance of air power and its role in attaining strategic objectives had increased manifold in current times.

He expressed satisfaction that the PAF was fast modernising itself by undertaking many foreign and indigenous initiatives, the foremost among them the JF-17 Thunder which he termed a project of national pride.

Earlier, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman 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 it was for the first time that ‘JF-17 Thunder Aircraft’ had participated in the PAF Inter-Squadron Armament Competition.

Parents of pilot Mariam Mukhtar, who recently lost her life in an air crash, also attended the ceremony.

Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2015



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