Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Thursday that leaders of all political parties were required to respect the national security institutions, warning that if anyone showed disrespect, he would definitely face the law.
The defence minister had a chat with the media after addressing the soft launch ceremony of the 11th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS)-2022, organised by the Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO) at a local hotel.
“Respect for the institutions that guarantee national security is mandatory for everyone,” he said.
“Respect for the institutions is mandatory for the leaders of all political parties. Politicians should keep in mind the sanctity of reputable institutions, including Pakistan Army,” he said while responding to a question about the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill.
“Any violation of the law will be dealt with in accordance with the law,” he said. “Gill should not have said what he said [in a TV interview]. Yesterday, I heard, Gill had said that the army is his life. If so, then it is good,” he added.
The minister urged politicians to remain within their bounds while fighting each other politically. “This fight should not be taken to someone else’s territory, because any disorder will create problems for everyone. There should be political stability in the country to bring economic stability.”
Earlier, addressing the launching ceremony, the defence minister emphasised that Pakistan harboured no aggressive designs against any state but the country was determined to defend its territorial integrity and safeguard its sovereignty for which it would continue to develop its military potential.
“Pakistan will Insha Allah continue to develop its military potential that guarantees peace with honour and dignity. Towards this end, we have been able to develop significant capabilities of indigenous production of sophisticated weapons and equipment,” he said.
He said the armed forces of Pakistan were battle-hardened and known for their professionalism the world over. “Our contribution towards the United Nations peacekeeping missions and our performance around the globe is the clear manifestation of devotion to duty and professional skills.”
According to Asif, the motto of IDEAS-2022 ‘Arms for Peace’ highlighted “our commitment to the international community for peace and harmony”. He added: “Besides meeting the domestic requirements our defence products are now gaining market shares at the international level as well.”
The minister mentioned praiseworthy progress in the production of complex systems such as main battle tanks, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), armoured vehicles, air-launched munitions, fast-track missile craft, maritime battle vessels, fleet tankers, modern jet aircraft and aircraft-related technology.
“I see great potential in our defence industry to export its products on a competitive basis through the responsible arms trade. Having overcome the effects of the unprecedented and devastating Covid-19 pandemic, we are back in business with renewed zeal and enthusiasm.”
Asif said that the IDEAS had grown in scope and stature in the last 22 years. Over the years, he added, IDEAS had become a great meeting place for the defence exhibitors to high-level defence delegations and enlisted trade visitors from around the world.
“This IDEAS rendezvous provides an excellent opportunity to develop better understanding and friendship network in defence industry for trade and joint ventures,” he said. He also welcomed foreign delegates and trade visitors to IDEAS-2022 – to be held in November after a gap of four years.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, DEPO Director General Major General Arif Malik said the first IDEAS was organised in 2000 and over the past two decades it had steadily grown in space, volume, exhibitors and foreign delegates.
In IDEAS-2018, he added, it had witnessed a record participation of 524 exhibitors, 231 delegates, representing 44 countries. Despite a gap of four years, he said, it had received over 70% booking of available space till now and it would be the largest exhibition in its history.
On the occasion, DEPO Director Coordination Brig Naveed Azam Cheema gave a brief presentation on DEPO’s history and its journey over the past two decades. He also presented a short documentary on the overview of the upcoming IDEAS-2022 and DEPO’s journey of success.
At the end of the ceremony, the defence minister released a commemorative stamp of the Pakistan Post on the occasion of the country’s 75th Independence Day, which adds to the importance of holding IDEAS-2022 in the diamond jubilee year of the independence.
(WITH INPUT FROM APP)
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