MIANWALI - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday categorically said that Pakistan was not sending its troops to other countries, dismissing impression that some countries had sought Pakistan’s assistance to move its armed forces for operation at their land.
Talking to media persons after a ceremony to rename Mianwali Airbase as M M Alam Airbase after the legendary fighter pilot of 1965 war, the prime minister also said that Pakistan was not part of the arms race in the region but it would not be neglectful of its defence and sovereignty while pursuing the peace strategy.
About the recent visits of the leadership of brotherly countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait, he said it was testimony of their friendship and it must not be linked with such assumptions. PM Nawaz said the visits of these leaders were in country’s interest and more such visits would take place in future. He termed the visit of Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa as fruitful and productive.
A report of an international think tank issued a couple of days ago stated that India’s arms import had tripled to that of Pakistan and China. PM Nawaz emphasised that Pakistan does not harbour aggressive designs against any other country. “Being peaceful does not mean to withdraw from the right of independence. We have to defend our political, economic and cultural sovereignty,” declared.
The prime minister said every necessary step would be taken to strengthen the country’s armed forces. “Our government is clear on this issue. A strong Pakistan with strong armed forces guarantees regional peace,” he said. He mentioned a Quranic verse which signifies making ready the horses against enemies, and said its connotation in today’s world is to equip the armed forces with best weaponry and advanced professional training of troops.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the countries of South Asia must consider the plight of their more than one billion population, most of which were living below poverty line. He urged the leadership of South Asia to shun joining the arms race and instead fight against the social evils of poverty, illiteracy and diseases.
Nawaz Sharif said the country was facing serious challenges and it was the high time to take tough decisions. He said the country could not afford wasting more time and steps were being taken to put it on the right path to development. He said that Pakistan could have been made a great country but regretted that ample efforts were not made in the past to exploit its marvellous potential. His government without wasting time was making headway for the prosperity of the nation, he added.
Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan’s history was filled with the great heroes who always kept ahead the country’s integrity before their lives. He said amongst these national stalwarts were the names whose bravery was acknowledged across the borders as well. He mentioned Air Commodore Muhammad Mehmood Alam who was a pride of the Pakistan Air Force and expressed confidence that other personnel of the PAF must be ready to follow the same spirit of bravery.
M M Alam is known for downing five Indian fighter aircraft in less than one minute in the 1965 war against India. Nawaz said to be like Alam does not require to be necessarily a pilot, rather anyone working in other fields can also adopt the same passion like this air warrior. He said the name carries in it a whole pattern of devotion, conviction and passion.
The prime minister announced renaming the PAF Mianwali Airbase as PAF M M Alam Airbase to honour the great hero on his first death anniversary. He said this airbase with minimum staff and facilities was still an important base of the PAF and hoped that its renaming would rejuvenate the passion of bravery and courage among the PAF personnel to ensure the defence of Pakistan. Nawaz launched on the occasion a memorial postage stamp of M M Alam by Pakistan Post.
Earlier, the prime minister was received by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt on his arrival at the Airbase. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashid Mehmood was also present. Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Information Minister Pervez Rasheed also accompanied the prime minister.