KHAIRPUR TAMEWALI, Bahawalpur: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Monday expressed his government’s firm resolve to bring the cycle of bloodshed and violence in the country to an end and said that it could not be done overnight, nor could it be done by unleashing senseless force against citizens, without first making every effort to bring the misguided and confused elements of the society, back to the mainstream.
“We also have to ensure that the political parties, military, and civil society are on the same page so as to create an enabling environment necessary to tackle this menace,” Nawaz Sharif said, while addressing integrated manoeuvre and firepower by different formations of the Pakistan Army and fighter aircraft of Pakistan Air Force on the last day of the Azm-e-Nau 4 Exercise.
During the exercise, the army air defence demonstrated successfully bringing down a drone by targeting it with the 35mm Oerlikon guns.
The event also marked the culmination of five-year series of Azm-e-Nau exercises jointly conducted by the Pakistan Army and PAF at firing range in Khairpur Tamewali, about 75 kilometres from international borders. The Pakistan Army and PAF were at their best in Monday’s power demonstration.
The prime minister on arrival at a helipad near the firing range in Cholistan desert was received by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. General Kayani himself drove an open army jeep to bring the prime minister to the observation post to witness the demonstration by armoured, artillery, air defence and civil aviation formations of the Pakistan Army and firepower by F-16, JF-17 Thunder, F 7P and Mirage aircraft to repel an attack of enemy forces.
The premier mentioned that in order to achieve peace, an extraordinary expression of national unity and cohesion was needed, as the All Parties Conference (APC) underlined the imperative need for giving peace a chance.
Nawaz said that unity among all stakeholders, including political parties, military forces, executive, judiciary, parliament and the media, was very much required in these difficult times, maintaining that no one wanted any further bloodshed. “We have seen enough of that and our soldiers have paid the highest price in the form of embracing martyrdom. Their toil and blood has contributed towards making the defence of the country resolute and impregnable,” he added.
The prime minister said the government had made its position clear that drone strikes constituted a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, were violative of international humanitarian laws, besides being counter-productive to our efforts for bringing peace and stability in Pakistan and the region.
He also maintained that his government would not take any foreign dictation to determine its national security policies, saying, the days when the country’s policies were determined through telephone calls from abroad are gone.
“Gone are the days when Pakistan’s national security policies were determined through telephone calls from abroad. We now have a democratically-elected government, chosen by the people of Pakistan,” he said.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar were also accompanying the prime minister. The event was also witnessed by naval chief Admiral Asif Sandila, acting air chief Air Marshal Athar Bokhari, defence attaches of different countries and a number senior army officers.
Ex chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General (retd) Muhammad Aziz Khan and ex-army chief General Abdul Waheed Kakar were also present on the occasion and also shook hands with the prime minister.For the first time, any Indian defence attache was also invited to witness the armed forces exercises.
Nawaz Sharif during his speech recalled that it was the chosen government that took the decision to make this nation a nuclear power, that indigenously manufactured the JF-17 Thunder aircraft, the Al-Khalid and Al-Zarar tanks and many more national security systems. He said the real power lies with the people of Pakistan to decide what they want. The prime minister said Pakistan today faced serious challenges both within the country and at the international level. “But there is hope, a hope to rise through and meet these challenges. We are located at the crossroads of competing and converging interests,” Nawaz Sharif said.
He said the national security paradigm of Pakistan evolves within the context of its peculiar geography, history and culture and determines the contours of national and military response.He said his government was firmly committed to ending the bloodshed and violence in the country and stressed complete unity amongst all the stakeholders to tackle the challenge.
The prime minister said in this regard it was vital that the political parties, military, and civil society were on the same page, so as to create an enabling environment necessary to tackle this menace.
He said that he was also thankful to Almighty Allah who has blessed them with the understanding to be united when it comes to protection of the motherland. He said Pakistan’s military strategy was based on credible minimum deterrence and the highest state of preparedness encompassing optimised set of military capabilities, remains its cornerstone.
He said the democratic system, economic potential, vibrant population, national unity, and professional armed forces provided strategic stability to the South Asian region.
He said the Pakistan Army had always stood by the people of Pakistan in thick and thin. Be it natural calamities like floods and earthquakes, maintaining law and order, imparting training to law enforcement agencies, the army has always come in aid of the civilian government. “This passion of being in the forefront is something that we as a nation are very proud of,” he said.
He appreciated the particular display of military professionalism and said it would not only warm the hearts of all Pakistanis but will also make it very clear that the country’s armed forces were the best and ever-ready to take up any challenge.
The prime minister said it had to be understood that economic development was closely linked to peace and security.Nawaz said during his recent visit, he made it very clear that we do not want financial aid rather Pakistan intends to maintain foreign relations on the basis of bilateralism while at the same time safeguarding our political, economic and national sovereignty.
The premier said he felt privileged to witness an important and highly anticipated professional activity of the Pakistan Army that marks the culmination of five-year-long training process conceived and executed by the army.
He said having witnessed the military capability and dedication, it was very re-assuring that our integrity and security is in safe hands.Prime Minister Nawaz, at the conclusion of his speech, raised slogans ‘Allah Hu Akbar’, ‘Pakistan Armed Forces Zindabad’ and ‘Pakistan Paindabad’ along with other guests at the event.