Karachi; Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has said that in the years to come with the completion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Pakistan’s ports and shipping lanes will witness major economic and commercial activity.
The President – as the Chief Guest – made these remarks while addressing the Induction Ceremony of Pakistan Maritime Security Ship (PMSS) Kashmir organized by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) held at Karachi. On his arrival, a smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Navy presented the Guard of Honour to President Masood Khan.
President Masood Khan on the occasion conveyed his deepest gratitude for naming the vessel as PMSS Kashmir. He said that this symbolises the principled and shared aspirations of PMSA and the Pakistani nation as a whole by recognizing the epic and heroic struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for the realization of their right to self-determination in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.
“By doing so, you honour the people of Jammu and Kashmir, whose most resonating slogan over the past seven decades has been ‘Kashmir Banay Ga Pakistan’ (Kashmir will become Pakistan); and more recently, from across the Line of Control, ‘Hum Pakistani Hain; Pakistan Humara Hay’ (We are Pakistani; Pakistan is ours).”, said the President.
This flagship vessel, he said, would be a symbol of peace for the region and an emblem of liberty which keep the flag of Pakistan high, with pride, across seas and oceans. The state of the art vessel equipped with modern navigation and surveillance equipment, weapons and sensors making it fully ready to undertake law enforcement operations within Pakistan’s waters, he said.
President AJK while highlighting the importance of maritime trade, said that with the completion of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor our ports and shipping lanes will witness an exponential increase in economic and commercial activity making Pakistan a focal point for transit trade activity in the region.
The President said that Pakistan has a coastline of 1,046 kilometres along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman, and the recent increase in Pakistan’s sea limits from 200 nautical miles to 350 nautical miles has added 50,000 square kilometres to Pakistan’s seabed territory. He said that the exploitation of hydrocarbons, minerals, and rich marine biological resources within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) would directly contribute to the economic development of Pakistan.
President Masood Khan said that Pakistan is already a seafaring nation and 95 per cent of its trade is seaborne, and therefore, maritime security has become an absolute imperative in the face of existing and new challenges and threats. He said that preparedness for maritime security will therefore not be limited to anti-piracy operations, and security of sea lanes, but will also encompass protection of strategic assets and in this context, PMSA will beef up Pakistan’s capabilities to defend the country, protect maritime zones, save lives, and safeguard the maritime environment.
On this occasion, the President also thanked Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of Naval Staff, for establishing Pakistan Navy Recruiting Centre in Muzaffarabad, helping enable young men and women from Azad Kashmir to join Pakistan Navy.
President AJK formally launched PMSS Kashmir and was also given a detailed tour of the ship by its Commanding Officer. During his visit aboard the ship, the President interacted with the crew and was given a tour of the bridge and wardrooms. He was also informed of the advanced navigation and surveillance systems installed in the ship.
The event was also attended by Lt. General (rtd) Ikram Ul Haque, Secretary Defence; Vice Admiral Kaleem Shaukat, Vice Chief of Naval Staff; Rear Admiral Zaka Ur Rehman, Director General, Pakistan Maritime Security Agency and senior Navy officers.