KARACHI: Pakistan’s military exports have doubled in a year, Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer said on Wednesday as he visited the eighth International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) in Karachi.
Although officials remained tightlipped about the exact figure of Pakistan’s defence exports, they said the Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF) in particular has started exporting ammunition to Morocco, New Zealand and Thailand in recent months.
“We have also exported 400 semiautomatic MP5 carbines to the United States and are selling weapons in advance economies like Germany as well,” said POF Director Exports Tabassum Rahman. According to him, POF-produced weapons, besides being reliable, had an edge over competitors in terms of price.
“Our guns are available for half the price the Germans are charging,” he said. “So the future looks even better.”
According to officials, POF has also started selling its prized POF Eye – a rig that allows the user to look and shoot around corners – to the country’s security forces. They added that POF has also modified the army’s standard issue G-3 rifle to make it lighter and more effective.
While POF’s exhibit, along with the locally produced Al-Khalid main battle tank and JF-17 jet fighter, continued to draw massive crowds on the second day of IDEAS 2014, local companies specialising in armouring cars against bullets and bombs attracted a large number of visitors as well.
“It’s not just VVIPs. Even police need solid protection in the present security environment,” said an official for Pak Armoring, which claims to have sold around 2,800 bulletproof and bombproof vehicles. The company has also set its sights on exporting armoured vehicles to African countries.
Various foreign firms also displayed products specific to Pakistan’s challenges. Turkey’s Havelsan, a tech solution provider to military and civilian establishments, has brought an electronic voting machine that can verify and register a vote in less than a minute.
Around 256 defense equipment manufacturers, including 77 Pakistan firms, are taking part in IDEAS 2014.
Speaking at a sideline conference, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that emerging modern technologies have increased the importance of IDEAS 2014. He appreciated the efforts of Pakistani forces to organise the expo.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2014.