KARACHI -  OUR STAFF REPORTER/APP - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the country’s maritime defence was impregnable and today, Pakistan Navy is a capable and professional force.

Addressing the 100th Midshipmen Commissioning and 9th SSC Class passing-out parade of Pakistan Navy, he said that he was fully convinced that Navy would prove its mettle in safeguarding maritime integrity of the country. He said, “Today Pakistan is more stable and democratic. Sound policies to counter external as well as internal threats are bringing results.”

The PM said, “I assure you that the nation stands firmly behind you and shall ensure that Pakistan Navy is equipped with latest weaponry and technology to safeguards national frontiers.” The recent induction of indigenously made frigates, fast attack surface-to-surface missiles capacity and the acquisition of six modified P3C aircraft with latest avionics/sensors into Pakistan Navy would significantly add to the combat potential of Pakistan Navy Fleet, he added.

The PM said that Pakistan Navy had a proud history and performed with excellence whether it was Operation Dwarka in 1965 war, Sub-Marine Operation of 1971 or supporting the civilian governments in times of natural calamities like earthquakes or floods. He said that it gave him immense pleasure to review the passing-out parade at the Pakistan Naval Academy. He complimented all those officers and staff, who over the years have played their part in making this national institution a centre of excellence among regional maritime training institutes.

The PM stated that Pakistan Naval Academy has come a long way since its inception in 1970. The wide range of the subjects, related to marine sciences being taught in the Academy, speaks volume of the standards being set by the Academy, he added. Furthermore, the ISO certification of the Academy is a proof in itself of the quality education, being imparted to the young cadets in this alma-mater, he said.

Nawaz expressed his confidence that in the coming years, Pakistan Naval Academy will achieve even more successes by the grace of God. “Today is indeed the most cherished occasion in your lives as from now on, you join ranks of those who are safeguarding maritime frontiers of our motherland and protecting its ideology, integrity and freedom,” he added.

The PM said, “Pakistan Navy is a unique force in the sense that it not only commands our maritime frontiers but is also trained to encounter our enemies on ground as well as in air.”

“This is a significant task to accomplish and I congratulate you, your parents and the faculty of Pakistan Naval Academy for extending invaluable contribution in your remarkable upbringing and grooming as responsible officers,” he added.

Nawaz pointed out that leadership qualities are very important in the making of an efficient defence officer. “A true leader leads from the front and sets an example for others. This earns the loyalty of those who follow. Always remember, a leader is one who is not only mentally and physically tough, but one who is open to new ideas and can be calm and composed in difficult situations. And most importantly, one who can have the trust of those, whom he leads.”

“I encourage you to do what it takes to develop this trust and confidence, and instil a deep spirit of unity of purpose in your team. During discharge of your duties as officers in various capacities, always ensure that interests of the State remains your prime goal, never let your personal feelings stand in the way,” he said. “You have strong examples to follow and I am confident that you shall make the nation proud just like your seniors did in the past”, he added.

The premier said he was pleased to know that Midshipmen from brotherly countries are also on the parade today and wished them well, adding the training they are receiving here would not only help them professionally serving their nation but also be a reminder of the long-lasting friendship these countries mutually enjoy. And for those trainees of the brotherly countries who are passing out today, he was confident that the bonds of friendship formed at this level, would augment friendship between these nations.

Nawaz Sharif also lauded the efforts put in for the spectacular day and congratulated all the young cadets and Midshipmen on the successful completion of training and wished them an exciting, challenging and rewarding career ahead. He particularly congratulated Midshipman Roheel Shahzad for winning the coveted Sword of Honour and Foxl Squadron for winning the Proficiency Banner.

Earlier, the PM reviewed the parade. Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila, Defence Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif, and Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Senator Pervez Rashid, were also present on the occasion.

On the occasion, Nawaz also gave away prizes to the cadets who excelled. Midshipman Roheel Shahzad was awarded the Sword of Honour for his overall best performance. Saudur Rehman and Naeem Kamil Ahmed of Sudan were conferred Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Naval Staff gold medals. Cadet Bilal Arsalan and Lt. Zeeshan Zafar received Commandant and Quaid-e-Azam gold medals respectively. Academy Dirk was presented to Salman Khattak and proficiency banner was awarded to Foxl Squadron for its overall best performance.

Commandant of Pakistan Naval Academy, Commodore Zahid Ilyas, presented the welcome address. He said “Today is a historic day in the annals of Pakistan Naval Academy as we are holding the 100th passing out parade”. Commodore Zahid particularly thanked the prime minister for reviewing the parade and making the occasion momentous.

He pointed out that the PNA holds a prominent place among the other academies in the region. He informed that the PNA is not only the alma mater of the officers of Pakistan Navy but also for hundreds of officers of the brotherly countries. He said that the PNA has the singular distinction that the present serving Chiefs of Naval Staff of three brotherly countries - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar - are the PNA graduates.

It was announced that 66 midshipmen including nine from the brotherly countries of Nigeria, Palestine, Sudan and Yemen have successfully qualified for the grant of commission today. The 9th batch of Short Service Commissioning, comprising 35 cadets, was also part of the commissioning parade.