KUWAIT: Pakistani Naval frigate, PNS Zulfiquar, docked at Shuwaikh Port Monday on a four-day goodwill visit to the country aimed at boosting bilateral ties with Kuwait. “Pakistan Navy (PN) enjoys close and cordial relation with Kuwaiti naval forces. I’m very confident that Zulfiquar’s visit to Kuwait will further strengthening the brotherly ties between the two navies,” Captain Faisal Javeed Sheikh, Commanding Officer of Zulfiquar, said in a press conference on board the ship.
“PN ships regularly undertakes port calls at Kuwait every year to assure Pakistan’s commitment and friendship to this peaceful and hospitable nation,” Sheikh said, pointing out Kuwait’s significance to Islamabad as “one of the most important countries in the region.
“Today, I met with the chief of Kuwait Naval forces and he was very gracious to give us audience, and we discussed ways to improve and enhance the already existing cooperation between the two nations,” the Pakistani naval officer said in another statement.
Naval forces play a vital role in bolstering friendship ties among countries through goodwill visits, he noted, reiterating PN’s strive for further cooperation and relations with countries in the region through exchanging cross trainings and naval exercises.
The F-22P Zulfiquar, also known as Sword-class frigate, was built by Pakistan and China manufactures for Pakistan Navy, Sheikh noted, adding that the 170-crew member ship was inducted to PN fleet in Karachi, Pakistan on September 19, 2009.
With a length of 123.2m (404 feet) Zulfiquar has a helicopter deck and can carry up to 3,144 tons, he said, adding that it is also equipped with guns, missiles, torpedoes, and anti-submarine rockets, and travels in a maximum speed of 29 knots (54 km/h).
PN has been part of the Coalition Maritime Campaign Plan (CMCP) since April 2004, which is a US-led maritime counter-terrorism operation aimed at preventing unlawful maritime practices such as piracy, transportation of counterfeit goods, and human-trafficking. “PNS Zulfiquar is one of two ships deployed in the Arabia Sea and Gulf of Aden for undertaking maritime security and counter piracy operations,” said the Pakistani naval officer.
Pakistan is also part of the Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), a multinational coalition naval task force working under the 25-nation coalition of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which is based in Bahrain. CTF-150’s main responsibility is to monitor, inspect, and carry out operations against illegal maritime practices the Gulf of Oman, the North Arabia Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Horn of Africa.
“Our significant contributions over the last several years depict Pakistan Navy’s will and commitment to play its role for the insurance and security of sea lines of communication in this region,” said Sheikh. The Pakistani officer expressed his gratitude to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Kuwaiti authorities, and Kuwait Navy for hosting PNS Zulfiquar in Kuwait. – KUNA