KHAIRPUR TAMIWALI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has declared that any attempt by any country to harm Pakistan’s security and territorial integrity will be met with a punishing response as the country is ready to confront any ambitious and reckless moves by its enemies. 

The Prime Minister was addressing “ Raad Ul Barq” (The Thunder of Lightening) Exercise at Khairpur Tamewali in Bahawalpur district. The Comprehensive, Integrated, Exercise was aimed at checking the operational preparedness of the military. Tanks, planes, artillery and other heavy weapons were on display during and demonstrated with precision firing. 

Nawaz Sharif said that this exercise reflects the preparedness of the armed forces in case of any threat to our national security. He said there is no doubt that our armed forces are battle hardened and ready to confront any internal or external challenges. He conveyed gratitude to all servicemen who are every vigilant and always ready to offer supreme sacrifices for the sake of their country. He said this exercise highlights once again the commitment of our valiant forces for the case of national defence.

The Prime Minister said it is a matter of great satisfaction that the enhanced capabilities of our armed forces make them one of the finest fighting force of the world. He said determination and resilience of our armed forces is a shield which counters any nefarious designs by our adversaries. 

Nawaz Sharif said the strength of our national defence emanates from the integration of all arms and services of the defence structure.

He said no country can remain oblivious to its national security. He said the government is committed to following a policy of non interference in other countries internal affairs and expects the same from others to ensure lasting peace in the region.  He said we cannot remain detached from the recent developments in the region and efforts by any country to harm Pakistan’s security and territorial integrity will be met with a punishing response. 

The Prime Minister said economic prosperity is a significant aspect of our strategic vision where by regional connectivity is important. He said the CPEC is on its way and will be operational in the coming months and years. He said efforts will be made that the projects under it are completed within the given time. 

He once again made it clear that no province or region in the country will be left out from the CPEC and that the first cargo ship has departed from Gwadar  and Pakistan has become a trade route that will change the destiny of our region. 

He however said that the enemies of Pakistan have made their intentions well known. He said we all know this and will not allow them to play with national integrity. He said for this reason we have been a major victim of terrorism. The agenda of the terrorist is to destabilize Pakistan.

He said they have been supported and financed by external countries which no country can tolerate. He said nation and the armed forces are successfully confronting the designs and the enemy will find us more determined than before.

He said we have stood fast to eradicate all militant activities. Zarb e Azab is a most comprehensive and most successful operation against terrorism. The world is aware of our success with fewer resources than other countries having far more resources but failed to do so. He said the armed forces restored write of the State in FATA. 

The Prime Minister said it is unfortunate South Asia remains prone to confrontation and security situation is fragile. He said the Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains the core issue of tension between Pakistan and India which must be addressed in a sincere and comprehensive manner according to aspirations of Kashmiri people and UN resolutions. 

He also referred to the unprovoked firing by India along the LoC and working boundary said killing of innocent civilians and soldiers is another act of aggression which warrants international attention. 

He said the dream of a vibrant and progressive Pakistan was possible when all state institutions come together for collectively achieving a peaceful, progressive and democratic Pakistan as envisaged by Quaid Azam and Allama Iqbal.

The Prime Minsiter felicitated the COAS and proud members of the armed forces for the defence prepared of the country and particularly success of exercise Raadul Barq 2016. 

Corp Commander Strike Corps Lt General Ashfaq Nadeem briefed the Prime Minister about aims and objectives of the exercise. He said we have the capability and resolve to give a befitting resolve to any act of belligerence. He said Pakistan army remained and continues to remain prepared for any level of aggression. He said today’s exercise is culmination point of training activities, participation of troops and live fire of most of the weapons. He said despite seemingly heavy fire on display, it is a small percentage of what is available to Strike Corps.

Fighter jets of PAF including F-16 and JF-17, army helicopters, tanks, APC and air defence units hit targets with precision and drew wide slapping by the audience.

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif presented a shield to the Prime Minister. 

The exercise was witnessed by CJCSC, Three services chiefs, speaker National Assembly, Federal Ministers for Defence and Finance, Saudi Vice Chief of Staff, serving and retired officers of the armed forces and diplomats of several countries.