Reposing confidence in the operational capabilities of the Pakistan Navy, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday urged perpetual vigilance to safeguard against internal and external threats.
The premier was addressing the concluding event of the navy’s major maritime exercise Seaspark 2015, which was aimed at showcasing their combat readiness. He also conducted fleet review and witnessed the extensive naval manoeuvres by an array of naval combat platforms in the north Arabian Sea.
The naval forces demonstrated a wide range of naval warfare operations against traditional and untraditional threats, including counterterrorism and anti-piracy drills, live weapon firing and flypast by the naval aviation units.
Attendees at the event included Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and senior officers of the armed forces.
Earlier, on his arrival aboard the Pakistan Navy Ship Nasr, the prime minister was received by naval chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah.
Deputy chief of naval staff (operations) gave a detailed briefing to the premier on the conduct of the exercise and the navy’s salient contributions to the maritime sector, coastal development and humanitarian assistance operations.
Seaspark is a biennial exercise conducted with the primary objective of assessing operational readiness and providing an opportunity to the officers and men to operate in a multi-threat environment. All surface, sub-surface and aviation units of the navy actively participate in the exercise.
PM’s Diwali greetings
Separately greeting the Hindu community on their festival of lights, Diwali, Premier Nawaz reiterated his government’s position on the rights of minority communities. “All religious communities living in Pakistan are equal, and we shall protect their rights.”
Addressing a Diwali gathering organised by the minority wing of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the premier said: “The religious communities – Hindu, Christian, Parsi or Muslim – belong to me, and I belong to them.”
He said it was his prime duty to protect the rights of all the communities against every type of cruelty, adding that it was also his duty to protect the religious minorities even if Muslims were the ones carrying out injustices against them. “I will stand by victims regardless of caste, creed or religion.”
He lauded the role played by the Hindu community in the development of Pakistan, and asked their leaders to invite him to every Diwali event. “I would like to be among you in this colourful event.”
Premier Nawaz also announced establishing the Bhagat Kanwar Ram Medical Complex in Hyderabad. It is named after a Sindhi singer and Sufi poet who was killed in communal riots in Sukkur in December 1939.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2015.