بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم
اَلحَمْـدُ لِلّـهِ رَبّ العَـالَمِـين‘ وَالصّـلاة وَالسّلام علـى محـمَّدٍ‘ وعلى آلـه وصحبـه أجمعـين.
Excellency Admiral Mohamed Asif Sandila, Excellency the Vice President, the Minister of Defence and National Security, Honourable Ministers, Senior Officers of the Maldives National Defence Force, Excellency the High Commissioner, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen;
It’s a very special occasion today for us to honour someone who has rendered such high service to the Maldives at a time when the Maldives most needed it.
I am told, since I was not here that day on the 26th of December 2004, it was one of the worst calamity that befell on this beautiful country. Many of our islands were devastated and thousands and thousands of people were affected by the Asian tsunami. It was our good luck and the blessing from Allah Almighty that the Pakistani naval ships were present at that time.
I am told that under your leadership, Admiral Sandila, two Pakistani naval ships – P.N.S Tariq and P.N.S Nasr – went immediately into service and under your able leadership, the officers and crew of these two ships provided invaluable service in the immediate rescue services, making the necessary assessments and provided support needed to hundreds of Maldivians and also nationals of other countries. For this we are very grateful. It may be difficult now, looking back, to actually asses and to realize what a difficult situation it was for the Maldives. With your kindness and dedication that disaster was, to some extent, alleviated and this country was able to manage the situation. For this we are extremely grateful. And today, we are remembering that great service you provided to us and the decision of the Government of Maldives to award you one of the highest national awards of this country is in recognition of this service.
Admiral Asif Sandila is the first national of Pakistan to receive a national award from the Maldives. This is also a reflection of the close relationship between our two brotherly countries. We consider Pakistan a very close friend and we hope that the friendship between our two countries will be further strengthened and continue to grow over the years to come.
Once again, thank you for being here with us today. I am really honoured to be able to confer on you this award.
Thank you very much.