KARACHI: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has stressed the need for a “vibrant and strong” navy for the success of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
“Pakistan’s economic future hinges upon the success of CPEC with Gwadar port as its major component,” he said while addressing the commissioning parade at the Naval Academy in Karachi. “To achieve this end, the need for a strong and vibrant navy is very important than ever before.”
Before the speech, he inspected the guard of honour during the passing out parade.
PM Shehbaz arrived in Karachi on a day-long visit on Saturday morning. He is expected to review development projects in the city in meetings with the leadership of the province. The premier would meet the leadership of his party and MQM in the city. He would also go to Nawabshah and offer condolences to former president Asif Ali Zardari on the demise of the latter’s mother.
“Besides this, our adjoining sea areas are home to multiple security challenges. And, I am glad that Pakistan Navy with its available resources continues to perform and fulfil our international obligations most effectively.”
In his speech, the premier shared that Pakistan wanted a peaceful neighbourhood as it believed in peaceful coexistence. He categorically said that the country does not harbour any aggressive designs against any country.
But, he reiterated that the desire for peace must not be misconstrued as a sign of weakness or indifference. “Any disguised or unnatural arrangement for supremacy would neither succeed nor serve the purpose peace and stability,” he said and made a veiling reference to the neighbouring India’s attempts to harm Pakistan’s peace.
Describing Pakistan’s reaction as a “befitting response”, he said: “This should serve as a reminder to all those harboring ill intentions. Pakistan armed forces are fully capable of defending our country against all threats and odds.
‘Role model for girls’
He expressed his delight to see female cadets becoming part of the commissioning parade.
“They serve as role models for young Pakistani girls and I hope they will inspire millions of girls to pursue their dreams and acquire success in their chosen fields.”
The premier urged the parade to prove their mettle, and continue the legacy of professionalism. He congratulated the cadets from friendly countries, which were as many as 12. He described them as Pakistani ambassadors in their home countries.
The PM stressed the need for strengthening the navy and boosting the economy. “There is no more time to waste,” he said and called for implementing the plans at “lightning speed”.
‘Learn from past mistakes’
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has expressed his belief that the country can transform into a nation as envisioned by the Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal by learning from past mistakes to compensate for the lost time.
“Economic progress can only take place in a peaceful environment.”
Meeting with MQM
As part of his engagements, PM Shehbaz called on MQM where two sides deliberated on the pact signed with the PPP before the vote of no-confidence against former premier Imran Khan. He also met his party leadership in the city.
The meeting was held at the Faisal Base before the premier’s departure to Nawab Shah. The MQM-P’s delegation was led by party leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.
Sources said that the MQM complained to the premier about the slow pace of PPP on the implementation of promises pertaining to local government and matters of Karachi. They added that PM assured the MQM of resolving the issues.
In the last leg of his day-long trip, PM Shehbaz arrived in Nawabshah’s Shaheed Benazirabad to offer condolences to former president Asif Ali Zardari over the demise of the latter’s mother.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari welcomed the premier upon his arrival at the Nawab Shah airport.
The PM was accompanied by National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, NA Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani, Railways and Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Public Policy and Strategic Communications Syed Fahad Hussain.