KARACHI - Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa Saturday declared that nobody can threaten us or our freedom and it is time we fulfill our dreams and make Pakistan a great country.

The army chief attended the passing out parade of 110th Midshipmen and 19th Short Service Course here at the Naval Academy, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release said

Speaking on the occasion, the COAS said “My dear midshipmen and cadets, it is indeed a great honour for you, to have been chosen to serve your country, and be the defenders of its sea frontiers. You can rightly be proud of joining the fraternity of Armed Forces of Pakistan.

“I am also very happy to see, female cadets participating in today’s parade. It signifies their resolve to excel and compete with men in almost every field.

“I have been told that the Naval Academy is also training cadets from our friendly countries, which include Bahrain, Jordan, Maldives, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

“Some of whom are forming part of today’s impressive parade as well. My compliments to you and to your great nations on this success. I am confident that the training, you have received here will not only help you in serving your respective navies with pride, but will also deepen the enduring friendship between our countries. I see you all, as Pakistan’s goodwill ambassadors to your respective countries and wish you Godspeed, in your future endeavours.

“Let me also take this opportunity to offer heartiest congratulations to the parents and families of passing out courses. Let me assure them that their sons and daughters have chosen a profession which is most honourable and second to none.

“As you march out today, remember that learning is a continuous process and this is just the beginning, so be mentally ready for much more rigorous training ahead. As defenders of Pakistan’s maritime frontiers, you are expected, not only to live up to its glorious traditions but also set much higher standards for your successors.

“Furthermore, modern technology has transformed the nature of warfare and has tilted the balance squarely, in favour of those nations that have embraced the change readily. It is therefore incumbent upon you to keep yourself abreast with the latest developments in the field of science, technology and warfare. But frankly speaking, even that will not be sufficient as the ever-increasing threat of hybrid war, to which we are subjected to, will need a totally new approach and change of traditional mindset. Therefore, you have to prepare and enable yourself to read the environment, gauge the enemies latest moves and be ready to respond, even when a surgical strike exists only in cognitive domain or media or even when the attack comes, not in the battlefield but in cyber space, or against country’s ideological frontiers.

“Please remember, we are yet to get out from terrorism or sabotage phase of an unannounced war against us that the subversion phase has also started. Like the terrorists before; the protagonists of the new threats are at times, our own people. Mostly misguided by ambitions, blinded by hate, ethnicity or religion or simply overawed by social media onslaught, some of our own boys and girls readily fall victim to such dangerous or hostile narratives. The response to such onslaughts or threats cannot always be kinetic in nature. You will have to deal with them in cognitive domain by producing or propagating a superior narrative, but this can only happen if you have developed the ability to handle unwarranted criticism with patience and possess better intellectual skills to respond to such threats with logic and reasoning.

“You will be required to lead your troops, who rank amongst the finest in the world, into the battlefield with full zeal and confidence. In the Army, our officers never say advance, they always say follow me; I am very sure this must be true for the Navy as well. You are the leaders, therefore you must lead in all circumstances and situations; and this is what the nation in general and Navy in particular, expects from you.

“Remember, your troops look up for guidance and leadership. Your conduct, professionalism and every action will be watched closely and is emulated by them. Your behaviour and dealings must, therefore, be exemplary at all times and a model for those whom you lead. This is particularly apt in the era of social media, where a single indiscretion or lapse of judgment can create huge embarrassment for you and your unit.

“Pakistan is a peace-loving country and believes in peace within and peace without. Pakistan in the past has seen many conflicts both on its eastern and western borders. Wars bring death, destruction and misery for the people. Ultimately, all issues are resolved on the table through negotiations, that is why we are trying very hard to help bring a lasting peace in Afghanistan by supporting Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace plan.

“Similarly, our new government has extended a hand of peace and friendship towards India with utmost sincerity but it should not be taken as our weakness, peace benefits everybody. It is time to fight against hunger, disease and illiteracy, then to fight against each other.

“Pakistan has survived the earth shattering events of 1971, 79 and 2001. We are here and we will remain here, Insha’Allah. This is the time for our new generation to shine and blossom. We want you to emerge from a security perspective to a development perspective; therefore, join hands to take Pakistan forward. Survival in the difficult times has given us the confidence that we have the will and capacity to endure. Nobody can threaten us or our freedom. It is time we fulfill our dreams and make Pakistan a great country.

“The relative peace that you find in the country today has been achieved at a very heavy cost. Our Armed Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies have rendered tremendous sacrifices to restore peace and order, paying the ultimate price with their blood. It is now our duty to honour their sacrifices through display of Unity, Faith and Discipline in everything that we do. Let us all start the transition from conflict to progress, through commitment to the ideals of Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam. This is the minimum that we can do for our beautiful country.”

The COAS was the chief guest at the Naval Academy ceremony. Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, former naval chiefs, a large number of serving/retired officers and families of passing out officers witnessed the parade.

The army chief reviewed the parade and gave away prizes to distinguished performers. The prestigious Quaid-e-Azam Gold Medal was conferred upon Lieutenant Haris Ali Khan PN. Midshipman Tauqeer Hussain was awarded the coveted Sword of Honour for his overall best performance, whereas Midshipman Haroon Khan won the Academy’s Dirk. Officer Cadet Muhammad Talha Masood got Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gold Medal.

Officer Cadet Ahmed Mohammed Alamri from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia earned Chief of the Naval Staff Gold Medal and Officer Cadet Ahmed Naveed Malik from SSC Course clinched the Commandant Gold Medal. Proficiency Banner was reclaimed by Forecastle Squadron.