Pakistan’s Ambassador Shahzad Ahmed (second left) with the ship’s captain Jamal Alam (third left) and dignitaries cut a cake on board the ship.
By Umer Nangiana/Staff Reporter
Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) Aslat has arrived in Qatar on a goodwill visit. The 123m-long warship is the fourth ship of ‘Zulfiqar’ (Sword) Class Frigates completely built in Pakistan Ship Yard in Karachi.
The ship is on a mission to secure and safeguard the sea lanes of communication in the region.
The ship’s Commanding Officer (CO) Captain Jamal Alam on Monday welcomed on board a large number of representatives of Pakistani community, diplomats from brotherly countries, government officials besides Pakistan’s Ambassador Shahzad Ahmad for dinner.
The guests were taken on a visit of the ship where Alam briefed them about its capabilities, strength and its mission.
The name of the ship Aslat is derived from an Arabic word and means a type of sword used by Arabs during early days of Islam. Since its commissioning in April 2013, this ship together with other vessels of her class has formed the mainstay of Pakistan Navy.
The state-of-the-art weapons and sensors along with tremendous firepower make her a formidable platform.
“PNS Aslat is serving our nation in multiple capacities, starting from normal peace time operations to sustained combat operations at sea,” Alam told the guests.
“Here, I would also make special mention about the most precious asset on board which is the ship’s crew whom I claim with pride as the finest, hardworking and devoted men. Without them this ship, though armed with incredible technology, would stand nowhere.”
Briefing about the ship’s operations, Alam said Pakistan believes in freedom of seas and trade. Pakistan Navy (PN) has always shown its resolve to international community in maintaining peace and stability in all adjacent regions by committing efforts to curb terrorism in all forms.
PN, as an instrument of government policy, has put the mission of safeguarding these interests at its forefront. “In this regard, PN in conjunction with international and regional navies, is participating in Multinational Operations commonly known as Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan (CMCP) since April 2004 to prevent maritime environment being used for unlawful purposes,” said the captain.
PNS Aslat is taking part in the exercises. It had a stop-over in Djibouti before coming to Doha.
Alam told the visiting Pakistan community members and other guests that like other maritime nations in the world, secure sea lanes of communication emanating from the Strait of Hormuz and straddling across the Horn of Africa then via Babul Manda also remain vital for Pakistan’s interest.
“Pakistan strongly supports an integrated approach to combat the menace of piracy lurking around in the waters of Horn of Africa. PN’s regular participation in CTF-151 since its inception in 2009 surely speaks of our commitment and resolves in ensuring freedom of navigation at high seas,” said Alam.
Speaking about Pak-Qatar relations, he said they are characterised by warm cordiality and brotherhood based on mutual respect, understanding and trust. Pakistan has consistently pursued a policy of good relations with Qatar.
“Based on history, common religion and culture, both countries have a special bond which is evident from the fact that a large number of Pakistani expatriates are present in the country. Moreover, bilateral defence co-operation programme with Qatar bears ample testimony to close relationship between the two countries,” he said.
Alam added that the ship’s visit is yet another manifestation of this on-going collaboration. “I am very confident in saying that brotherly relations between Pakistan and Qatar will grow further,” added Alam.
He thanked the Qatar ministries, authorities and Qatar Navy for hosting Pakistan Navy ships from time to time. The captain also thanked the visiting guests and hoped that the existing scale of co-operation between Qatar and Pakistan and their navies in particular would enhance.
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