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‘Unique’ Saudi-Pak ties extolled at naval ceremony

Pakistan Navy ships PNS Tipu Sultan and PNS Rah Naward are visiting Saudi Arabia on a goodwill-cum-training mission

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Commanding Officer of PNS Tipu Sultan Capt. Mohammed Ali hosted on Friday night a community dinner on board the vessel, which was docked at the Jeddah Islamic Port.

Rear Admiral Hani Mohammed Al-Harbi, commanding officer of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces; Ibrahim Asad, air and naval attaché at the Pakistani Embassy in Riyadh, diplomats, media persons and a large number of member from the Pakistani community attended the dinner.

The program commenced with recitations of the national anthems of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan respectively. A cake cutting ceremony was followed by dinner, which was specially prepared by the ship’s chefs.

Pakistan Navy ships PNS Tipu Sultan and PNS Rah Naward were visiting Saudi Arabia on a goodwill-cum-training mission and to strengthen the existing relations between the two Muslim countries.

Pakistani Consul General Aftab Khokher said in his introductory speech that the port call was part of the friendly visits between the two navies.

“This is sixth visit by navy ships since January 2013. These goodwill missions by Pakistan Navy ships are not only a manifestation of close collaboration between the naval forces of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia but also a reflection of the fraternal ties between the two countries. Such visits also contribute to the strengthening of relations between the two peoples,” he said.

Khokher said the relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia was a unique one as "very few nations in the world are so close to each other as the peoples of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia."

He said this relationship was the natural outcome of the common religion and shared values.

"Our relationship has passed many tests in the past. This relationship is not based on merely strategic interests, rather it is deep-rooted in the heart of the every Pakistani and Saudi national," he said.

Khokher said Saudi Arabia is home to around two million Pakistanis from working-class to top executives.

"While many Saudi businesses employ Pakistanis as CEOs and chief financial officers, Saudi families prefer to have Pakistani workers in their households. That shows the trust and confidence of Saudis in Pakistani workers," he said, adding that Pakistanis living in the Kingdom have greatly contributed to the socio-economic development of the country.

"Similarly, Saudi Arabia has contributed to the economic development of Pakistan. There are so many examples that testify to contributions from both sides for each other's development. This recognition is at the top level and leaderships of the two countries are fully aware of it. We are grateful to the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for his continuous support, love and affection to Pakistanis living in the Kingdom," Khokher said.

"Similarly, our leadership has always stated that Saudi Arabia's economic development and security are very important for us. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has clearly stated that the security of Saudi Arabia is a red line for Pakistan."

While welcoming the guests on board, Capt. Mohammed Ali said: “Your presence here is a source of pride and encouragement for us.”

This article was published in the Saudi Gazette on Sunday, June 22, 2014.
http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140622209201

He said PNS Tipu Sultan is the leading ship of the 25th squadron of the Pakistan Navy. At present, the ship is on joint counter piracy and collation maritime complaint deployment under the Task Force 150 and 151.


“We are happy to be in the port of our brotherly Muslim country for a three-day visit. We have been hosted very well and we truly feel at home here. On behalf of my fellow officers and men, I am thankful to the Royal Navel Force for the hospitality extended to us," he said.

He invited the guests to visit PNS Rah Naward, a sail training ship for the Pakistan Navy.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Sunday, June 22, 2014.