Salahuddin Haider

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 – Karachi—Pakistan Navy has succeeded in liberating the country from piracy high risk area, thus securing freedom and liberty for its commercial liners from the persistent sea piracy, which have often held country’s merchant ships and its crew hostage.

This has been done through the international contact group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS), which has declared Pakistan economic exclusive zone ( EEZ) from 200 to 350 nautical miles, allowing us greater liberty and freedom to operate our trade lanes with the outside world. This will be effective from dec 1, 2015, Pakistan navy sources here said.

The success came after a long and protracted insistence from Pakistan and other affected regional countries. The revision in the limits of HRA puts almost the entire (EEZ) of Pakistan out of HRA and as a result the seaborne trade, fishing activity and other research and exploration activities will be benefited. The shipping from the Gulf area and the Far East to Pakistani ports shall now be outside the HRA which will result in elimination of extra insurance and security charges etc being incurred since 2010.

Inclusion of Pakistan’s EEZ in HRA in 2010 had been opposed by Pakistan. Pakistan Navy in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made concerted efforts to exclude Pakistan’s EEZ from HRA. Pakistan’s argument was supported by the fact that no incidents of piracy had occurred in Pakistani EEZ due to Pakistan Navy’s vigilance. Moreover, it was highlighted that Pakistan Navy had gone a step ahead and was contributing its ships to counter piracy in the entire Arabian Sea and had also commanded counter piracy Task Force to counter menace of piracy around the Horn of Africa.

Pakistan Navy says it remains committed to keep the high seas free from piracy and other Maritimes crimes thereby ensuring safety of the seafarers and free flow of the trade through the shipping lanes passing through the region.

Pakistan Navy, guardians of country’s sea lanes in peace and wars, has been persistently engaged with international organization, through seminars, etc and feels legitimate pride in its resolve to play an active role in the maritime security and prosperity of the region

It hosted an international Group and Preparatory Workshop in September, in which 30 delegates from 17 countries participated. The first event i.e, IONS working Group (IWG) on “Information Sharing and Interoperability” was led by Pakistan Navy with Australia, Oman, Bangladesh, Thailand, France, United Urab Emirates and India as members. The Working Group discussed modalities on how to share information and improve interoperability amongst participating states to generate synergetic response against evolving threats.

The second IONS Preparatory workshop (IPW), was co-chaired by Australia and Pakistan. This was a precursor to the forthcoming conclave of chiefs aimed at preparing agenda for the next high level meeting scheduled early next year in Bangladesh. During this Workshop, Italy, Spain & Russia presented their case for inclusion in the IONS as Observers. Theiradmission into IONS was unanimously approved by all.

The participation of navies and maritime security agencies from 17 countries in the event truly reflects the strength of naval diplomacy, amply highlights Pakistan Navy’s recognition amongst regional as well as extra regional countries as an important player in the region and sends out clear message that Pakistan is a peace loving country and desires to have cordial relationships with the member nations of IONS as well as the other countries across the globe.

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