Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan has on Thursday said that the Pakistan Air Force is and would remain reassuring fundamental of national defence as Pakistan celebrates Surprise Day today.

Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan addressed a ceremony – attended by various dignitaries – held at the Air Headquarters to commemorate the first anniversary of Operation Swift Retort when the PAF conducted a retaliatory attack after India’s botched Balakot airstrike and termed the mission as a resounding victory.

Mujahid Anwar Khan said, “Pakistan Air Force living up to its legacy yet again made its mark through professional excellence and valour. Prompt, measured and surprising response busted the aggressor’s arrogance.

“No doubt our successes are attributed to blessings of Allah. Decades-long hard work, investment in PAF operational capacity by our predecessors and the heroic acts of our personnel, let there be no doubt that PAF is and would remain reassuring fundamental of national defence.

“Despite these PAF has continued on the path of professional consolidation over the last two decades while we solidified our professional training, capability enhancement remained our primary pursuit through indenization.

“Today our platforms complemented by advance precision weaponry follow illustrate successful realisation of our homegrown technological pursuits alongside we place special emphasis on human resource development and force multipliers in making robust architecture of Pakistan Air Force.

“My comrades while I assure Pakistani nation on the preparedness of PAF to counter threats we will not compromise on sovereignty or territorial integrity of Pakistan.

“Remember, professionally we are second to none. Along with other services, PAF remains poised to the defence of Pakistan. More significant in last year February was your professional superiority and lethality. We performed as a team.

“Ladies and gentleman Pakistan Air Force is one of the most respected and responsible air forces of a peace-loving country. Prior to aggression last year, our national leadership had made it amply clear that no misadventure again on Pakistan would ever go unresponding.”

Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan inspected a guard of honour and a flypast at the ceremony where a video was also played concerning the Kashmir conflict and the events which led up to the February 27 aerial dogfight between Pakistan and India.

The government has announced to celebrate ‘Surprise Day’ today to pay tribute to the PAF.

On Feb 27, last year, the PAF carried out Operation Swift Retort and shot down two Indian Air Force fighter aircrafts and dropped bombs within the compounds of Indian military facilities in occupied Kashmir as a warning to the country’s belligerent neighbor.

The Pakistani military had lived up to its promise to ‘surprise’ India in wake of any misadventure, saying that ‘uncalled-for aggression’ from the Indian military ‘would not go unpunished’.

The operation also resulted in the capture of an Indian pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, after his Mig-21 was shot down. The pilot was later handed over to Indian authorities as ‘a goodwill gesture’.