Pakistani navy marvel at HMS Queen Elizabeth in rare trip to Portsmouth

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 PAKISTANI navy top brass marvelled at Britain’s mightiest warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, during a rare visit to Portsmouth.  

About 280 sailors from the overseas military sailed into the city’s naval base today as part of a fleeting trip to Britain.

The PNS Aslat, a Zulfiquar-class frigate from the Pakistan Navy, and her 280-crew entered Portsmouth Harbour to visit the Royal Navy

The PNS Aslat, a Zulfiquar-class frigate from the Pakistan Navy, and her 280-crew entered Portsmouth Harbour to visit the Royal Navy

Arriving in the frigate PNS Aslat, the foreign visitors were given a warm welcome with a full fanfare from the Band Of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Portsmouth.

Coming alongside at South Railway Jetty, the 123m-long warship will be in the shadow of the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier until Sunday, when the Pakistani vessel sets sail for St Petersburg.

Commodore Muhammad Fasisal Abbasi, commander 25th destroyer squadron, said it was a ‘great honour’ to be in Portsmouth.

Speaking of HMS Queen Elizabeth, he said: ‘I believe aircraft carriers have a big role to play in security operations all around the world.

The PNS Aslat, a Zulfiquar-class frigate from the Pakistan Navy enters Portsmouth'Picture: LPhot Ben Corbett

The PNS Aslat, a Zulfiquar-class frigate from the Pakistan Navy enters Portsmouth'Picture: LPhot Ben Corbett

‘We have seen the Royal Navy continuously operating in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden and even the Arabian Sea for various maritime security operations as part of a coalition.

‘We look forward and I’m very, very hopeful this ship is going to play a very effective role for the peace and security in the future.’

During Aslat’s five-day stay, her crew will visit Royal Navy institutions to learn more about how the Senior Service operates, as well as sharing their own operational experience with their UK counterparts.

They will also host diplomatic events for city leaders, join a training exercise and stage a two-day open event for the Portsmouth community.

Portsmouth Naval Base Captain Bill Oliphant said: ‘This is the first time that we have been able to welcome a Pakistani naval ship to Portsmouth for 13 years.

‘Portsmouth is a long way from Pakistan so this is a big statement for a navy like the Pakistan Navy to be sending a ship literally to the other side of the world.

‘I’m sure it’ll be a trip that all of these guys will remember for the rest of their lives.’

Capt Oliphant added there could be a chance Queen Elizabeth could one day work in partnership with the Pakistanis.

‘Certainly Pakistan seems to run her business in the way we do ours so she would be an easy partner to work with in the future,’ he said.

Cmdr Abbasi said Pakistan and Britain’s navies already enjoyed a ‘cordial’ relationship, one he hopes to grow after his Portsmouth trip.