Pak won’t neglect defence to pursue peace: Sharif

Snehesh Alex Philip
Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said Pakistan was not part of the arms race in the region but stressed that it would not neglect its defence and sovereignty at the cost of pursuing peace.
“Being peaceful does not mean to withdraw from the right of independence. We have to defend our political, economic and cultural sovereignty,” Sharif said while addressing the ceremony to rename Mianwali Airbase as M M Alam Airbase after the legendary fighter pilot of 1965 war.
Sharif emphasised that Pakistan does not harbour aggressive designs against any other country.
“Our government is clear on this issue. A strong Pakistan with strong armed forces guarantees regional peace,” he said.
His remarks came amidst a report that said India has emerged as the biggest arms importer in the world. According to the report, India has imported thrice of what Pakistan did.
The Prime Minister said every necessary step would be taken to strengthen the country’s armed forces including its Air Force and Navy.
He mentioned a Quranic verse which signifies making ready the horses against enemies and said its connotation in today’s world is to equip the armed forces with best weaponry and advanced professional training of troops.
He said the countries of South Asia must consider the plight of their more than one billion population, most of which were living below poverty line.
The Prime Minister urged South Asian nations not to join the arms race and instead fight against the social evils of poverty, illiteracy and diseases.