Décoration dans l’Ordre National du Mérite du Lt. Col. Omar J. Qureshi, directeur général de DEFLOG
occasion of conferring the French award of “Chevalier de lÂ’â€™Ordre National du
Mérite”, to Lt. Col. Omar J. Qureshi, General Manager DEFLOG
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great
honour for me to receive you at the French residence on the occassion of this
ceremony of conferrence of the French award of « Chevalier de lÂ’â€™Ordre National
du Mérite » to Colonel Omar Jalal Qureshi, General Manager, DEFLOG.
By order of the
President of the Republic of France dated 4th of June 2004, Colonel Omar Qureshi
was named in « lÂ’â€™Ordre National du mérite » on the proposal made by the Consul
General of France in Karachi and my predecessor.
By taking this
decision to name Colonel Qureshi in one of the most prestigious orders of the
French Republic, President Chirac has wanted to express the acknowledgement of
his country to Colonel Qureshi for the remarkable role he played at the time of
the attack on the French technicians working for the Navy in Karachi on May the
8th, 2002, resulting in a large number of Pakistani and French victims.
I would like to
remind you of what is the « Ordre National du Mérite ». This order was created
in 1963 by General « de Gaulle » to reward the merits of persons, either French
or foreigners, who had distinguished themselves in their personal, professional,
civil or military life, or in the private sector for the service of France or
for noble causes in their country.
The President of
the Republique is the Head Master of the Order and it is presided over by the
Grand Chancellor of the « Légion dÂ’â€™Honneur ». The nomination of foreign
personalities in the ONM is also a sign of friendship and acknowledgement
towards the country to which the person receiving this award belongs.
As it happens, the
Republic of France today pays tribute to Colonel Qureshi, but through him it
also addresses a message of friendship to Pakistan, to its authorities and to
its people. It is in the tough ordeals of life that we can really see who our
true friends are.
Colonel Omar joined
the Pakistan Army in 1972 and was commissioned in the Anti Aircraft Branch. In
1977, he joined the Army Aviation as a helicopter pilot and he had his first
contact with France as a young Captain in 1978, when he was selected to undergo
a Puma helicopter conversion course at Aerospatiale in Marseilles.
Colonel Omar has
flown helicopters in the most demanding areas, including the Northern Areas of
Pakistan. During his stay in the Army Aviation, he did further courses and he is
a qualified instructor and instrument flight examiner on Bell Jet Ranger, UH-1H,
Bell 412 and Puma helicopters. He has served in Army Aviation school, various
squadrons of Army Aviation and commanded the VIP Squadron of the Prime Minister
from the Army, in 1997, he joined as General Manager in DEFLOG, a newly formed
joint venture company with DCN Log of France. DEFLOG has been instrumental in
supporting the DCN shipyards and the Technical Assistance Teams of DCN on the
Agosta 90B submarine program.
provides a "One window Operation" for spare parts and logistic support for all
French platforms in service with the Pakistan Navy. DEFLOG has also developed
specific software for ordering and management of spare parts between Pakistan
Navy, DCN Log and other correspondents from France.
Now, coming to the
sad incident which occured in the morning of 8 May 2002 in Karachi, the
terrorist attack was targeted at the 23 technicians of DCN who were working on
the Agosta 90B project. It took place while they were boarding a Pakistan Navy
bus at the Sheraton hotel, to join the dockyards.
resulted in the loss of lives of 15 persons (4 pakistanis and 11 french) and
caused serious injuries to 25 others french and pakistanis. Colonel Omar was the
first person from DEFLOG to reach the place of the incident and he coordinated
all activities, particularly the administration of first aid at Jinnah hospital,
transfer of injured to Agha Khan hospital, identification of the victims,
coordination with the Pakistan Navy, French Embassy and General Consulate, etc.
had set up a round the clock Emergency Coordination Office to coordinate the
information handling with the Emergency Coordination Office set up in Cherbourg.
Colonel Omar was also directly involved in the organization and conduct of the
funeral ceremony at PNS Shifa and dispatch of the bodies to France. He
coordinated this activity with the concerned PN authorities, French General
Consulate and the Pakistan Ministry of Defence and with the assistance of the
entire staff of DEFLOG. He took an active part in the official visit of the
French Minister of Defense, Mrs Alliot-Marie, the day after the attack. Mrs
Alliot-Marie decided then, on the behalf of French government, to continue the
The tragic incident
of Karachi has not broken off our co-operation. The second Agosta sub-marine has
been admitted into service last December, with only some months of delay. The
Pakistani teams have worked hard while we, from the French side, re-adjusted the
modalities of our co-operation, and I should say that Agosta n° 2 is a wonder of
high technology, thanks to the expertise and skill of the Pakistani technicians.
The 3rd Agosta is in the phase of construction and the exceptional security
measures taken by the Pakistani authorities allow the team of French technicians
to work under the best security conditions. The new Consul General, M. Jean-Yves
Berthault, who is with us this evening, and I am pleased to welcome, is in
permanent contact with the Navy and local authorities, and he is the witness of
the excellent conditions in which the French team works in Karachi.
you have your part in the success of this co-operation. But mostly, France would
want to thank you for all that you have done to come to the help of the victims
on that terrible day of May the 8th, 2002 as well as in the days to follow by
maintaining contact with the French Consulate General, the French Embassy and
the families in France.
Thus, on this day,
I have the honour to express to you, the gratitude of France.
Colonel Qureshi, in
the name of the President of the
I make you "Chevalier de lÂ’â€™Ordre National du Mérite".