The firing range in Sonmiani reverberated with echoes of sophisticated bombs and aircraft bullets as the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) demonstrated its firepower capability on Wednesday.
According to the information received here, President Dr Arif Alvi was the chief guest on the occasion.
Air Marshal Haseeb Paracha, the deputy chief of the air staff for operations, in his inaugural address briefed the audience on the recently concluded PAF Inter Squadron Armaments Competition and significance of the firepower demonstration.
Speaking on the occasion, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan said: “The changing dynamics in the region call for greater focus on operational preparedness. Today’s firepower demo is a sequel to our consistent efforts for war readiness.”
He said the nation took pride in the PAF and reposed confidence in its potential for national defence. The PAF was fully prepared to overcome any challenge and keep the enemy at bay, he added.
President Alvi said that Wednesday’s event showed the unparalleled professionalism, incomparable skills and matchless teamwork of “our brave air warriors”.
He said: “Pakistan wishes to maintain peaceful relations with other nations, especially our neighbours. Yet, we are not oblivious to (the need for) safeguarding our national interests and sovereignty.”
He added: “I am confident that the armed forces of Pakistan are ever ready to face any internal or external challenge. The entire world witnessed our response to India’s violation of Pakistan’s airspace in February, when PAF once again proved its mettle in the air battle over Kashmir and re-established deterrence.”
Highlighting the situation in occupied Kashmir, the president said that Pakistan would always stand by the people of Kashmir in their just struggle for self-determination.
The firepower demonstration began with a low-level sonic boom by two Mirages flying over the firing range at supersonic speed. This was followed by a formation flypast of frontline PAF fighter jets, including F-16 Block 52, F-16, JF-17 Thunder, Mirage, F-7PG and F-7P aircraft.
Immediately afterwards, the PAF’s ‘Eyes in the Skies’ SAAB-Erieye and Karakoram Eagle aircraft flew past the venue, dispensing flares.
The PAF pilots then displayed their professional acumen by destroying the given targets with pinpoint accuracy. All fighter platforms held in the inventory of PAF were seen steaming in and hitting the targets.
“The demonstration was a testimony to the hard-hitting punch of the PAF, and a loud and clear message to the enemies of our country that the PAF is a force to reckon with,” said a member of the audience.
After the blazing display of lethal firepower by the PAF fighter aircraft, the indigenously produced JF-17 Thunder displayed some breathtaking aerobatic manoeuvres. The PAF aerobatics team “Sherdils” then appeared on the horizon and mesmerised the audience with their stunning aerial display.
An important activity of the event was a fiery performance by commandos of the Special Services Wing, where they successfully neutralised some “terrorists” in a mock exercise.
When he arrived at the venue, President Alvi was received by Air Chief Marshal Khan. Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat and other high-ranking civil and defence officials witnessed the demonstration.