The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has assured the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) of its readiness to strengthen its strategic partnership with the Service in equipment and spares acquisition, research and development, training and other relevant areas to further enhance professionalism and build capacity for the effective and efficient employment of Air Power. This was made known yesterday, 4 October 2018, by the Pakistan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Major General Waqar Ahmad Kingravi (Retired), during a courtesy visit to the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at the Headquarters (HQ) NAF Abuja.
While speaking during the visit, the Pakistan High Commissioner expressed his appreciation to the CAS for the warm reception accorded him and the Defence Adviser, Colonel Shahid Aziz, who accompanied him on the visit. He said he was at HQ NAF to assure the CAS of the commitment of the Pakistan Government to strengthening the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Pakistan, which had spanned several decades and yielded several mutually beneficial military collaborations. The High Commissioner noted that he, having once headed the Army Aviation Corp of the Pakistan Army, was familiar with peculiar requirements of air operations and would pay particular attention to ensure that the ties between the air forces of the 2 countries were taken to even greater heights. Major General Waqar also used the opportunity to commiserate with the NAF for the tragic air mishap that occurred on 28 September 2018, which led to the death of Squadron Leader Mohammed Bello Baba-Ari.
In his remarks, Air Marshal Abubakar welcomed the Pakistan High Commissioner to Nigeria and thanked him for visiting HQ NAF. The CAS confirmed that the relationship between the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and NAF was extremely cordial and had continued to grow over the past few years. He noted that the story of the successes recorded in the counter insurgency operations in the North East could not be written without mentioning the support rendered by the Pakistan Government. He recounted several occasions when the PAF had gone beyond the usual to assist the NAF. Air Marshal Abubakar therefore assured the High Commissioner that the NAF would continue to provide the necessary support and cooperation to enable him succeed. The CAS however used the opportunity to canvass for closer coordination in order to fast track the process for the acquisition of the JF-17 multirole fighter aircraft from Pakistan. He also appealed to the High Commissioner to liaise with PAF to develop a special programme for the conduct of basic fighter training for NAF pilots.
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force