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December 8, 2017

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US drone in Pak airspace to be shot down: air chief

US drone in Pak airspace to be shot down: air chief

ISLAMABAD: Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman on Thursday warned that if a US drone violated Pakistan’s airspace in future, it could be shot down.

“We committed a mistake in Osama bin Laden's case but now the country’s sovereignty will be protected at all costs,” he said while addressing the opening ceremony of AirTech 17 at the Air University here. Aman said enemies were conducting terrorist activities in Pakistan through Afghanistan.

“We cannot change our neighbors, but the PAF is fully equipped and capable of protecting the borders. Even the Indian military officials admit the professional skills of PAF,” he said. He said the neighboring countries had tried to harm Pakistan, and India is at the top of list in this regard. He said India was behind the Kamra Air Base attack, as terrorists had nothing to do with aircraft. Aman said the attack on Kamra Air Base was the biggest and the most unfortunate tragedy in PAF's history. He said terrorists managed to destroy one PAF SAAB plane and also inflicted considerable damage to another. “Sweden wanted $287 million to cover the material damage but Pakistan’s bright young scientists and engineers added two new fully functional planes to our fleet at a fraction of the cost,” Aman said. He said there is no dearth of talent in Pakistan but the keen minds needed a platform to showcase their exceptional talents to the world.

“We suffered losses in the incident but did not lose our morale. In fact, the fight against extremism continues with an unflinching vigor and resolve since then, transforming the PAF into a much stronger force,” he added. “The PAF has been at the forefront in the war against terrorism,” he said. “We have defeated extremism," he said, adding that the country was still striving to establish durable peace. "Now the terrorists come from Afghanistan to carry out terrorist activities."

Discussing security issues at large, the PAF chief noted that the region where Pakistan is based is beset by different challenges and difficulties at the moment. The air chief said “No outside power can engineer democracy inside a country nor is democracy the solution to every problem. What was done to Iraq and Libya in the name of democracy is open to all to ponder upon."

He said Pakistan is making its fighter jets after the US stopped the supply. He said the PAF built JF-17 when delivery of F-16s was suspended adding that JF-17 is better than F-16 in all disciplines. Aman announced that the PAF will soon make the 5th generation fighter planes under ‘Project Azm’. The air force will be able to sell weapons after fulfilling its own needs by 2020 and will launch a new satellite as well, he told the audience.

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