21 March 2007 – Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: It is indeed a proud
privilege for me to be with you on this historic occasion of induction or arrival of
JF-17 Thunder in Pakistan. This is indeed a landmark for Pakistan Air Force. It
marks a big leap in self-reliance; a strategy that we have been following over the
Before I say anything, I want to appreciate the role of China – our great friends.
The Chinese have played a crucial role in providing invaluable support towards
the production of JF-17 and this will give value to both the Chinese and Pakistan
Air Force. I recall my personal association with this project. I would like to pay
homage to Air Chief Marshal Mussaf Ali Mir who reinvigorated this program when
it was in trouble waters and also to Air Chief Marshal Kaleem Saadat for having
pursued and continued with the program with equal amount of vigor.
I would like to express total satisfaction with the achievements of Air Force and
Chinese counterpart for meeting the deadline of having JF-17 Thunder in the
skies of Pakistan. I see Pakistan Air Force as I knew it in 1965. Being part of the
First Armored Division, during the War we were to cross “Ruhi Nala” in Kasur
Khemkaran Sector and our tank across the bridge got derailed. Thus, the whole
Armored Division got blocked and could not cross Ruhi Nullah. This was all
happening at night and daylight set-in. I was a young second lieutenant. Our
whole Armored Division with all its tanks, vehicles and equipment was absolutely
in the open. We thought as daylight breaks Indian Air Force would soon attack
us. But it was this Pakistan Air Force with its Saber Jets and F-104 Star Fighters
which came into the skies very soon. Although Indian Air Force Jets came in
against us but they were chased-off very boldly and brilliantly by Pakistan Air
Force. After that all that we were doing on the ground were dancing bhangra
inspite of the war environment because we were so sure of the capabilities of this
Air Force in their capability to guard us and ward off any threat from Indian Air
must get back to the same state i.e. it maybe small but hard-hitting, ready to
deliver and counter any threat in the air with all its potential and yet giving
confidence to Pakistan Army and Pakistan Navy. You have my support to this
project and all other projects coming in the future for Pakistan Air Force.
Ladies and gentlemen, our journey towards defence production started back in
1990s with the negative fallout of sanctions against Pakistan. We soon realized
that we can only depend on ourselves and nobody else. Therefore, we started
the process of indigenization and diversification of our market for defence. In this
process, we went forward and with the cooperation of our Chinese friend we
launched the project of JF-17. Today, I am coming from Gwadar Port. Chinese
Minister was also present with the whole team and we inaugurated another
project of strategic significance. It started in 2001 and now has been handed over
to the world’s best port operators – Port of Singapore Authority (PSA). This is
another proud privilege that Chinese assisted us.
I am very glad to say that this co-production of the JF-17 is going to take place
both in China and Pakistan. I have visited its production line in China. I am very
glad that we have received its first two aircrafts and by the end of this year we
would get six more. Then ofcourse we would start producing the same here
InshAllah. With all this development that we see around I must give compliment
to PAC Kamra and also the technicians and engineers from China. I urge both
sides; the Chinese friends and PAC Kamra, to meet all deadlines to achieve the
target i.e. serial production facility by the end of 2008. I am very sure and
confident with background of whatever our achievements have been that we will
be able to meet the target dateline.
The JF-17 Thunder project would create jobs for 5,000 people and help in
poverty alleviation which is the base of Government endeavors. It would also
create technical know-how in aerospace and avionic technologies. So this joint
facility being launched here is a win-win all the way. On the whole JF-17 Thunder
will significantly enhance the potential of Pakistan Air Force. I am very glad to
hear that no aircraft in the world probably today can be of the same quality or
standard in cost effectiveness as JF-17 Thunder. That is the main finance saver
for Pakistan as well.
By the grace of Allah, ladies and gentlemen, Pakistan’s Armed Forces today
have the potential that they never had before in both conventional and
unconventional sense. This potential of ours gives us confidence that we are
capable of meeting any external challenge. Pakistan wishes to live in peace and
harmony but on a basis of honour and dignity with sovereign equality. We have
no offensive designs against anyone. But it is our right to defend ourselves.
Whatever we develop is defensive for our own self-protection and self-defence
which is the right of every nation. Our arms whether it is Army, Navy, Air Force
and all the unconventional are arms for peace and not arms for any war
In this context, when I look around to our history of self-reliance and defence
production one looks very proudly to our achievements in all the three services.
In Army we see Al-Khalid tank, Al-Zarrar tank, Baktershikan ATGMs, Anza SAM
missile. In Navy we see the Agusta 90-B submarine. And in Air Force we see K-8
Jet Trainer, Super Mashaak, UAV projects and now this JF-17. The story does
not stop here. We would like Air Force to be equipped with BVR missiles. Have
the potential of AWACs and more high technology aircrafts whether it is F-16s
and its later versions or FC-20s. We should also have the potential for air-to-air
refueling to give added range and depth to the capability of Pakistan Air Force.
This is crucial line and inshAllah Pakistan Air Force will have it.
This is all that I had to say. I would like to conclude by saying that we are proud
of the achievements of Pakistan Air Force and PAC Kamra. We are extremely
grateful for the support from China. And I am very proud to be in Air Force
uniform. Thank you very much.
Pakistan Air Force Zindabad. Pakistan Paindabad.