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Nov 1, 2005

Malik Qasim Mustafa *

From Dependency to Self-reliance

During the colonial rule, sixteen ordnance factories were established in the sub-continent. After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, all those sixteen factories fell to Indian share since none of them were located in Muslim majority areas forming Pakistan.1 The newly-created Pakistan emerged with a fragile state apparatus and rudimentary Armed Forces headed by three British Chiefs for its respective forces, and scarcely had any infrastructure or equipment and no ammunition manufacturing facility, to meet the security challenges confronting its sovereignty, national security and territorial integrity. By October 1947, just two and half months after its creation, in such dire conditions the fledgling state of Pakistan already faced its first major externally-launched security threat – namely the Indian aggression against and its occupation of two-thirds of the Jammu and Kashmir State.

After independence, India provided Pakistan with only 6,000 tons of munitions out of 1700,000 tons in its possession, when it was proportionately entitled to more. The subsequent war in Kashmir pushed Pakistan’s army into a state of actual imbalance.2 On the economic front, Pakistan faced the same situation. Of its total dues Pakistan received only 147 million pounds sterling, representing 17% of the total balance held by India.3 On an immediate basis, Pakistan had to use almost 70% of that amount in arms purchases to redress this imbalance.

In 1951, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, issued a directive to establish an ordnance factory to manufacture rifles and ammunition.4 Subsequently, in December 1951, the second Prime Minister of Pakistan, Khawaja Nazim-ud-Din, laid the foundation of four Pakistan Ordnance Factories with the cooperation of British Royal Ordnance, at Wah near Rawalpindi. This was the first step towards the establishment of a mother defence industry in Pakistan.

In its early years, lack of resources to deal with national security concerns pushed Pakistan to look for some outside help. At that time there were two power blocs, led by two super powers, the US and the Soviet Union, who dominated world affairs. Pakistan formed an alliance with the US in 1950s to meet the challenges of security, territorial integrity and to achieve a reasonable military equilibrium with India. On December 15, 1950, Pakistan signed a Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement with the US.5 The next major effort was made in 1952, when Mir Laik Ali Khan, Adviser to the Minister of Defence, visited the UK and the US and convinced the governments of both countries for arms sales to Pakistan.6 In May 1954, Pakistan signed another Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement with the US. Later in that year Pakistan also joined the SEATO and CENTO in 1955, with a US security guarantee. In 1959, Pakistan signed a bilateral Agreement of Cooperation with the US and became an ‘America’s most allied ally in Asia.’7 As a result of these agreements, Pakistan received significant military aid and training throughout 1950s and the early 1960s.8

During the period of reliance on the US supply, there was little attention given to domestic production. However, the 1965 Indo-Pak War led to a drastic reduction in economic and military assistance to Pakistan as the Pak-US cooperation which started in 1954 came to an end in 1965, and the US imposed sanctions on Pakistan. The US stopped all military aid to both India and Pakistan. Unlike India, it was a major disaster for Pakistan. This led the Pakistani leadership and policy makers to begin efforts to diversify their military hardware procurement policy.

After the 1965 War, on the one hand Pakistan was facing the US military sanctions, while on the other side India continued to build-up its armed forces with the Soviet help. The increasing pressure of Indian military build-up, forced Pakistan to turn towards China, North Korea, Germany, Italy and France for its defence procurement programmes. China, being a neighbour proved a good friend and helped Pakistan to raise three fully-equipped infantry divisions, including guns military vehicles, 900 Chinese tanks and MiG-19F aircraft for the air force. France supplied Mirage aircraft and submarines. In 1968, the Soviet Union offered US$30 million worth of aid to Pakistan and supplied 100 T-55 tanks, Mi-8 helicopters, guns and vehicles. In 1969, however, Soviet support was abruptly stopped under Indian pressure.

After the 1971 War, Pakistan continued to engage in rebuilding itself and spent huge resources on defence imports. The Heavy Industries at Taxila was established in 1971, followed by the F-6 overhaul and Rebuild Factory in 1972 at Kamra. This marked the first major step towards achieving some degree of self-reliance in the maintenance of modern aircraft and weapon systems. In 1973, the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra, north of Islamabad, came into being. Within a year, PAF had accepted the offer of a large number of F-6s (Chinese version of Mig-19s) from its trusted ally, China.9 Furthermore, Pakistan bought 24 French Mirage and Canadian Sabres (renamed F-86Es) on cash, and PAF arranged spares for existing fleets through alternate sources. In the meantime Pakistan also began the pursuit of its nuclear programme, to which end it also established Dr. A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in 1976.

In 1979, the US imposed sanctions on Pakistan when it learned that Pakistan had secretly begun construction of a uranium enrichment facility. As a result, the US stopped $85 million worth of military and economic aid to Pakistan. However, after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan became a frontline ally of the US. In 1981, the US provided $3.2 billion in military and economic assistance to Pakistan, including the sanction of the purchase of 40 F-16s. In 1986, the US provided another aid package of $4 billion to Pakistan. Through the rest of the 1980s, the US continued its economic and military assistance to Pakistan, and the latter continued to modernise its armed forces. Pakistan mainly excelled in small arms and sold to approximately thirty countries including Sri Lanka, UAE, and many Middle Eastern countries. By the end of 1980s, the export figures were raised to Rs. 400 million annually.10

Even more tellingly, the United States rewarded Pakistan’s most unflinching cooperation in the Soviet-Afghan War during the 1980s by invoking, in October 1990, the Pressler Amendment to the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.11 The US suspected that Pakistan was developing nuclear weapons.12 The Pressler Amendment ended the supply of economic and military aid to Pakistan, which had averaged $650 million a year in the 1980s. This Amendment widened the conventional gap between India and Pakistan. Especially, the freeze of the deal of 28 F-16s - which eventually were never supplied to Pakistan - as the US believed that F-16s would be used by Pakistan for delivery of nuclear weapons and would spark an unprecedented, destabilising arms build-up in South Asia, thus playing a significant role in further crippling Pakistan Air Force.

In September 1991, the determination to move towards a degree of self-sufficiency in armament production resulted in the creation of the Ministry of Defence Production.13 The Ministry promoted defence production facilities including Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF), the Heavy Industries at Taxila (HIT), and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The Ministry also included seven other specialised organisations devoted to research and development, production, and administration. The government estimated annual production in the early 1990s at US$500 million including about US$30 million in exports. For example, Mushshaks – light trainers and observation aircraft – were provided to Iran. Exports ranked high among the ministry's goals.14

In 1996, the US passed the Brown Amendment, which allowed nearly $370 million of previously embargoed arms and spare parts to be delivered to Pakistan.15 After the May 1998 nuclear tests, the US re-imposed sanctions under Glenn Amendment which almost banned all sorts of economic, financial and military assistance to Pakistan. However, after the 9/11 events, Pakistan once again became a frontline state in the international coalition’s ‘war on terrorism’, and as yet another outcome of that decision on Pakistan’s part, the US removed sanctions against Pakistan, which were imposed after the May 1998 nuclear tests.

Throughout its history of survival against great odds, Pakistan spent a major chunk of its defence budget on imports for its defence needs (see Appendix 1). In the recent decade, in order to meet its security requirements, Pakistan took a number of steps to develop some key areas to become self-sufficient in defence. There are over 20 major public sector units and over a 100 private sector firms engaged in the manufacture of defence-related products. Over a period of time Pakistan’s defence industry has grown into well-established units, and has developed the potential to export defence equipment to friendly states and international markets. This export potential in defence industry is not only the key to the country’s survival, but it would also bring in the much-needed foreign exchange.

Since 2000 Pakistan’s defence industry has been holding annual exhibitions under the auspices of the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS 2000, 2002 and 2004). The IDEAS ‘arms for peace’, as its theme, reflects Pakistan’s desire to promote peace and stability not only within the region but also elsewhere in the world.16 It recognises the fact that export of cost-effective armaments would help nations to maintain peace by equipping their armed forces, and to attain a minimum degree of deterrence against external threats at an affordable level. IDEAS provides an interactive platform for the international defence manufacturing industry to showcase their products and services and enhance cooperation between countries from all parts of the world to share the common global cause of peace (against common enemies, such as the war against terrorism).

The concept of IDEAS succeeded through its previous events and attracted the attention of numerous leading defence industry and services. The recent IDEAS 2004 exhibition held in Karachi from September 13-17, was one of the biggest defence exhibitions to be held in the region. In IDEAS 2004, more that 50 countries attended while 150 national and multinational firms participated. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex displayed the indigenously manufactured Mushshak, Super Mushshak and Karakorum-8 Jet trainer aircraft, which is a very attractive aircraft for the countries with limited defence budgets.

Through IDEAS, Pakistan’s defence exports have grown tremendously. Pakistan has already found markets in a number of Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries. Pakistan’s export target for the year 2003-04 is $147 million, which is expected to further rise to the level of at least $500 million (i.e., 1% of the $50 billion global arms market) during the next five years.17 While inaugurating IDEAS 2004, President Musharraf pointed out, ‘we came under sanctions sometimes back and apart from negative effects these had positive effects. That was to diversify our sources of weapons and indigenisation. Those sanctions also assisted us in developing our own industry towards self- reliance.’18

Major Defence Production Capabilities of Pakistan

In 1972, Defence Production Division within the Ministry of Defence was created. That was a time when the US military aid was suspended and it was felt necessary to strive for self-reliance in defence production.19 Defence Production Division is charged with the responsibility of providing the three Services with arms, ammunition and weapon systems through manufacturing or purchases. (See Figure. 1) Some of the main objectives and functions of the Ministry of Defence Production Division are:

Achieving self reliance;

Import substitution by indigenisation;

Maintain existing system with minimum import requirements;

Involve local industry in defence production;

Production of cost-effective and competitive equipment;

Generate funds by exporting defence products;

Research and development of defence equipment;

Procurement of defence equipment, and negotiations for foreign assistance or loans; and

To attain economies of scale through optimum production and procurement.20

Pakistan relies on more than 100 public and private defence production units. Some of them are discussed below.

1. Pakistan Ordnance Factories

The Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), founded on December 28, 1951, at Wah near Rawalpindi, are one of the premier defence industries and the lifeline of Pakistan armed forces. Mainly the POF consists of 14 major factories that take care of almost 100% requirements of Pakistan armed forces.21 POF produce approximately 70 major products for Army, Navy and Air Force. The main products include automatic rifles, machine guns, sub-machine guns, anti-aircraft guns, complete range of mortar and artillery ammunitions, aircraft and anti aircraft ammunitions, tank and anti-tank ammunitions, bombs, grenades, anti-tank mines, pyrotechnics, commercial explosives and commercial products, and rockets and so forth.22 These factories are also ISO-900123 and ISO-14001 certified. They employ some of the latest state of the art technologies, including computerised numerical-controlled machines and flexible manufacturing systems for production of precision components.24 This modern industrial complex has also assisted many sister defence production setups to flourish. The major factories and subsidiaries of the POF are the following:


Weapons Factory

Bombs & Grenades Factory

Tungsten Carbide Factory

Machine Gun Factory

Filling Factory

Propellants Factory

Heavy Artillery Ammo Factory

Small Arms Ammo Factory

Brass Mills

Tungsten Alloy Factory

Tank Amrno Factory

Explosives Factory

Medium Artillery Ammo Factory

Clothing factory

Subsidiaries 25

Wah industries Ltd.

Wah Nobel (Pvt) Ltd.

Wah Nobel Chemicals Ltd.

Wah Nobel Detonators Ltd.

Wah Nobel Acetate Ltd.

Attock Chemicals (Pvt) Ltd.

Hi-Tech Plastics (Pvt) Ltd.

In the first 15 to 20 years after their establishment, the POF were confined mostly to the manufacture of traditional products, but following the different phases of expansion, diversification and consolidation, POF has come of age by taking a quantum jump to the modern state-of-the-art manufacturing technology of international standards.26 Modern live-firing test facilities are available to ensure international acceptance standards of the products.27 In view of the tight foreign exchange situation and sanctions imposed by developed countries, the POF management has undertaken indigenisation programmes aimed at achieving self-sufficiency in raw materials, semi-finished goods and other products. In the process, POF has saved millions in foreign exchange. POF has been at one time or the other exporting arms and ammunition to 30 countries around the globe. The buyers include not only those from the developing countries but also in Europe and the USA. During the last three years, POF recorded high exports of arms and ammo and was awarded the FPCCI trophy for exports.28

2. Heavy Industries Taxila

Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) is a dynamic and progressive organisation where cooperation and cohesion between various sectors has been harnessed to maximise results. The birth of HIT took place in 1971 when Project-711 was established in Taxila with Chinese assistance mainly to rebuild the T-59 Tank fleet of the Pakistan Army.30 HIT has built the MBT 2000 Al-Khalid30, APC M-113, IFV Al-Zarar, (an upgraded version of the T-59 tanks of Chinese origin), T-59 MII, T-69 IIMP, T-85 IIAP, and fighting vehicles for the Pakistan Army.31 The HIT has also built Armoured Personal Carriers (APCs) M113 A1/A2, M113 A2 MK-1 and ARV-W653.32 HIT consists of:

a. Heavy Rebuild Factory T-Series and Heavy Rebuild Factory M-Series (rebuild facilities), APC Factory, Tank Factory and Gun Factory (manufacturing facilities), for a cost effective and progressive manufacture of armoured fighting vehicles, armoured personnel carriers (APCs), and tank guns.33

b. Development Engineering Support Components Manufacture (DESCOM) for development of materials and components required.

c. Training and Research Organisation (ETRO).

The progress made by HIT in the development of Al-Khalid tank has been very encouraging.34 This is a true reflection of the dedication of its planners, engineers and technicians. The Al-Khalid has been developed in association with China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO).35 The pilot production of Al-Khalid tank started in November 2000. In May 2002, Pakistan signed a contract with the Ukrainian Malyshev tank plant for the supply of 6TD-2 engines to be used in the production of Al-Khalid tanks.36

Presently, more than 7500 components of differing types are manufactured locally by HIT while another 7500 components of various categories are being produced by numerous vendors associated with HIT.37 On February 26, 2004, President General Pervez Musharraf, handed over 80 indigenously modernised and upgraded Al-Zarrar tanks to the Pakistan Army and 25 APCs to the police, which is an evidence of cost effective, self-sufficient defence production.38 HIT has become a very important industrial base and is playing a definite and a potent role in national self-reliance.

3. Heavy Mechanical Complex

Heavy Mechanical Complex Ltd. (HMC), Taxila, established in 1979 with Chinese assistance, is a major heavy engineering subsidiary of the State Engineering Corporation (SEC) under the Ministry of Industries & Production, Government of Pakistan. The Heavy Forge Factory (HFF) at this complex has proved crucial for Pakistan's defence production needs. HMC has the capability for designing, engineering and manufacturing of industrial plants and machinery. HMC has the largest fabrication and machining facilities in the country equipped with Computer-Aided Designing (CAD) and can undertake a variety of fabrication/machining jobs on sub-contracting basis. HMC manufactures equipment for hydro-electric power plants, thermal power plants, sulphuric acid plants, industrial alcohol plants, oil & gas processing plants, and chemical & petro-chemical plants, etc. Boilers, cranes, construction machinery, material handling equipment, steel structure, railway equipment, etc. are some of the other products that are produced on regular basis.39

4. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex

Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Kamra, has expanded its scope, and commenced new and more challenging projects, created a veritable centre of excellence in military aviation and information technology, and above all, realised the original goal of self-reliance. PAC is composed of four factories:

I. F-6 Rebuild Factory (F-6 RF)

F-6 RF started its work in 1972, primarily for overhauling the Shenyang F-6s and their accessories. In 1980, F-6 RF expanded its role by undertaking the overhaul of F-6, FT-6, A-5III, FT-5 and F-7P aircraft along with its components and accessories. In February 1997, F-6 RF was certified under the ISO 9002 Quality Management System. Presently, F-6 RF possesses modern technical facilities for various engineering processes such as guns overhauling, surface treatment, heat treatment, etc.

II. Mirage Rebuild Factory (MRF)

MRF started its operation in 1978 by overhauling Mirage III and V fighter aircrafts and ATAR C90 engines and related accessories. MRF is so much advanced that it also overhauled eight UAE Air Force Mirages and 42 Dassault/Commonwealth Mirage IIIOAs and eight IIIDs, bought from Australia in 1991.40 MRF can also overhaul F-100 engines powering the F-16s.41 On September 14, 1995, MRF also had the distinction of being the first defence establishment in Pakistan to achieve ISO-9002 certified.

III. Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (AMF)

AMF was established in 1975 to assemble Mushshak. Since 1982 Mushshak aircraft not only delivered to Pakistan defence forces but also sold to other countries. AMF has been marketing its new improved Super Mashshak.42 AMF achieved another big milestone by the joint production of Karakorum-8 Jet Fighter Trainer with China which is capable of providing basic and advance training. It is a highly reliable aerobatic aircraft with excellent characteristics. PAC Complex is also manufacturing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) such as Vector, the Hornet, Nishan, Ababeel and Baz.43 Pakistan recently exported Mushshak trainer aircraft to many Muslim countries and handed over 20 Super Mushshak to Saudi Arabia in September 2004. AMF is undoubtedly one facility that could help in achieving self-reliance and earning foreign exchange.

IV. Kamra Avionics and Radar Factory (KARF)

KARF started its work in 1987 by rebuilding Siemens MPDR-45E radars, complex components and electronics modules, and caterpillar/Siemens power generators.44 KARF is also involved in co-production of airborne radar for fighters and upgrading of Mirage III avionics suite. It is also producing the Grifo-7 radar which is a coherent digital fire control system designed to improve air to air and air to ground performances of F-7P aircraft.

5. Air Weapons Complex

The Air Weapon Complex (AWC) started its operation in 1992 and it is located in Wah/Kamra. The AWC is one of the leading organisations in Pakistan in the field of Air Delivered Weapons/Systems.45 Formation of the AWC has significantly reduced the dependence of Pakistan on foreign resources. The AWC mainly produces,

a. Battlefield Interdiction and Tactical Support Weapons46

b. Airfield Attack and Denial Munitions

c. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) 47

d. Electronic Warfare Systems

e. Infantry Support Equipment

f. Air Defence System

g. Training Aid Systems

6. Military Vehicles Research and Development Establishment

Military Vehicles Research and Development Establishment’s (MVRDE) was created in 1972. Since than MVRDE is fully involved in mobilising, orientating and developing public and private industrial sector to achieve progressive self-reliance in defence equipment.48 Its infrastructure encompasses a wide spectrum of facilities under following broad categories:

a. R & D Sections

b. Armoured Vehicles - Tanks, APCs, ARVs

c. Wheeled Vehicles

d. Engineers Equipment

MVRDE is determined to play an important role in keeping the costs of military equipment down to a reasonable level and share benefits of its expertise and experience with friendly countries.

7. Armament Research and Development Establishment

Since its inception in 1974, the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) has been undertaking research and development in the field of arms and ammunitions. Major accomplishments of ARDE are production of weapons and tank ammunition.49 This ammunition includes:

a. 120 mm mortar

b. RPG-7 rocket launcher

c. Mines

d. 100 mm DS/T Practice

e. 100 mm APFSDS/T

f. 105 mm DS/T Practice

g. 125 mm FSDS/T

h. 125 mm APFSDS/T

8. Institute of Optronics

Institute of Optronics (IOP) produces state-of-the-art military, night-vision devices, which improve the ability of the Armed Forces to undertake different tasks.50 The IOP is producing following military specific night-vision devices:

a. Individual Served Night Vision Weapon Sight

b. Crew Served Night Vision Weapon Sight

c. High Performance Night Vision Goggles

d. High Performance Night Vision Binoculars

e. Driver’s Night Vision Periscope

f. Aviator’s Night Vision Goggle

One of the future agenda of IOP is Thermal Imaging Techniques for all types of armoured vehicles and helicopters. Besides meeting the night-vision requirements of the Armed Forces of Pakistan, this institute has exported these devices to friendly countries.

9. Margalla Electronics

Margalla Electronics (ME) was created in 1984 as a self-reliance project to support the Defence Services in the field of electronics. The support includes:

a. Repair and rebuild of electronic equipment used by the services

b. Applied research to improve equipment performance and reliability

c. Original design and production

Within a short span of time the ME has accumulated sophisticated skills and hardware necessary for assembling, testing, and repairing of various types of military electronics products. ME has co-produced and fielded sophisticated state-of-the-art radar systems and communications equipment jointly with various international companies.51

10. Submarine Rebuild Complex

The Submarine Rebuild Complex (SRC) is dedicated towards rebuild and progressive manufacture of Submarines.52

11. Defence Science and Technology Organisation

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DESTO) is the premier defence research and development organisation of Pakistan. DESTO conducts research and development around weapons and weapon systems and renders professional advice on the application of science and technology. DESTO covers broad disciplines of aerodynamics, propulsion, defence electronics, computer systems, engineering, propellants, explosives, materials and chemical & biological defence etc.53 DESTO’s R&D infrastructure is located at the following different physical locations:

a. DESTO Laboratories Complex, Chattar

b. DESTO Laboratories, Karachi

c. DESTO Laboratories, Chaklala

After Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in May 1998, the US government identified and sanctioned DESTO as partner organisation in Pakistan's nuclear and missile programmes.54

12. Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works

The Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Work Ltd., (KSEW) is ISO-9002 certified for shipbuilding, submarine and warship construction and general engineering works.55 The present production capabilities are:

a. Shipbuilding of all types of vessels and craft of up to 26,000 TDW.

b. Small submarines and warship/support craft like Missile Craft, Patrol Craft, Diving Boats, Towed Array Barge, Floating Docks, Berthing/Pusher Tugs, Oil/Water carriers, boats etc.

c. Wide variety of engineering plants and machinery like pressure vessels, LPG storage tanks, etc.56

Exportable products are:

Submarine - Agosta 90B

Midget Submarine

Missile Craft

Floating Dock


13. Integrated Defence Systems (National Development Complex

The National Development Complex (NDC) was created in 1993 with the objective of developing an infrastructure for indigenous weapons development to achieve self-reliance in diverse technologies. In 1995 the Shaheen missile programme was initiated by the NDC along with the facilities of different industries in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat and other cities.57 Since its creation, NDC has made remarkable progress in developing and producing a diverse range of defence products, including:

Missile Systems


Area Denial Bomb PSD-1

Fuel-Air Explosive Bomb FAE-1

Warheads For Anti-Armour & Tactical Applications

Energetic Materials & Propellants

Military Fuses

Power Sources


Towards attaining self-reliance, NDC has also undertaken the development of Launchers, along with the development of automatic missile testing and launch control system (ATLCS).58

14. Pakistan Navy Dockyard

The Pakistan Navy (PN) Dockyard, since its inception in 1952, has been undertaking repair works, modernisation and rebuild of Pakistan Navy Ships, Submarines and Crafts. Pakistan Navy Dockyard is providing technical assistance, rebuild and repair of a wide range and diversity of equipment of PN Fleet and has undertaken fleet modernisation and up gradation programmes with success. PN Dockyard has developed the capability to undertake ambitious and indigenous construction projects like the production of Missiles Boats, Mines Counter Measure Vessel (MCMV) and AGOSTA 90-B Submarine.59

15. Dr A Q Khan Research Laboratories

Dr. A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) is one of the main nuclear laboratory, as well as a long-range missile development centre. The primary Pakistani fissile-material production facility is located at Kahuta, employing gas centrifuge enrichment technology to produce Highly-Enriched Uranium (HEU). This facility is not under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, but according to the Government of Pakistan the facility is physically secure and safe. Initially the KRL was known as Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL), founded by Dr. A. Q. Khan on July 31, 1976, with the exclusive task of indigenous development of Uranium Enrichment Plant. Within the next five years the target was achieved. On May 1, 1981, ERL was renamed as Dr. A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories (KRL). It was the enrichment of Uranium in KRL that ultimately led to the successful detonation of Pakistan's first nuclear device on May 28, 1998.60

The Kahuta facility has also been a participant in Pakistan's missile development programme. KRL has successfully developed and tested Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles based on liquid fuel technology and its associated sub-systems. KRL has also undertaken many other defence projects of national importance to enable Pakistan to become self-reliant and thus help save valuable foreign exchange. These projects include:

Surface-to-Air-Anti-Aircraft Guided Missiles - Anza Mk 1, and Anza Mk-II.

Baktar Shikan Anti-Tank Guided Missile Weapon System.

Anti-personnel Mine Sweeping Line Charges.

Anti-Tank Mine Clearing Line Charge-Plofadder-195 AT.

Laser Range Finder.

Laser Threat Sensor.

Laser Actuated Target.

Laser-Aiming Device.

Add-On Reactive Armour Kit.

Anti-Tank Ammunition.

Remote Control Mine Exploder (RCME).

Digital Goniometer.

Power Conditioners for Weapon Systems.

Tow Missile Modules.

Major defence production establishment/organisations/ industries of Pakistan are covering a wide range of activities from research and development, to assembly and the manufacture of modern and state-of-art defence equipment. Pakistani defence products have always earned a proud reputation of reliability, cost effectiveness, and above all the capabilities to match modern-day defence equipment.

Defence Exports

Pakistan’s defence industry is not only meeting the requirements of its Armed Forces of Pakistan, but also exporting defence products to other friendly countries. Such export is not only contributing to economic growth, but also trying to maintain a balance between defence spending and national development. In 2000, the Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO) was established to promote the export of surplus defence products.61 DEPO is not only promoting defence products but also coordinating export activities covering all defence-related equipment. To apprise buyers, a permanent Defence Products Exhibition Centre has been established at Rawalpindi to display the items available for export. DEPO has also arranged defence exhibitions like IDEAS 2000, 2002 and 2004, as President General Pervez Musharraf stressed that defence exhibitions ‘not only provide a window for defence products but also a platform for professional interaction between foreign delegations, senior government and military officials.’62

Pakistan’s defence exports have already achieved three-digit figures. Pakistan has exported a number of products to other countries these includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, UEA, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In 2001, Pakistan also exported several weapons systems to Malaysia, namely the Baktar Shikan anti-tank guided weapon, Anza MKII shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile, RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade and several types of conventional ammunition.63 In the years 2000 and 2001, Pakistan's export earnings from weapons and defence equipment made a quantum jump of almost 100%, from $40 million to $85-$90 million in 2002.64 PAC also signed a contract worth $2.27 millions for overhauling six aircrafts of the Sri Lanka Air Force.

In April 2002, Malaysia ordered 25,700 anti-tank (heat) rockets from Pakistan.65 During April 8-11, 2002, at DSA-2002 international exhibition of armament, Malaysian military and government officials considered the Al-Khalid tank as the best, and showed their interest in buying it from Pakistan.66 In August 2002, Pakistan completed its first military aircraft export order by delivering five Super Mushshak Trainer Aircraft to Oman.67 Brigadier Saeed Bin Hamood of Royal Oman Air Force, said that ‘relations between two air forces would be stronger, and we would like to see more in cooperation with support of these light trainer aircraft.’68 This was a major breakthrough achieved in the lucrative Middle East market, presently dominated by the defence equipment producers of the Western countries. It is expected to boost the sale of ‘Super Mushshak’ in the region. During the ‘IDEAS-2002’ held at Karachi, many countries of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa evinced a keen interest in Pakistani defence products, and some of them placed orders.

During the year 2002, KSEW also received noteworthy export orders including construction of various marine crafts for Hansa Lines of West Germany, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bangladesh and a Belgian company.69 In 2002, POF launched a $4 billion comprehensive plan to upgrade defence production capabilities. POF is also trying to acquire the certification from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), as it would have salutary effect on the further future marketing of Pakistani weapons and ammunitions abroad.

In 2003, after the success of IDEAS 2002, Pakistan started the process of establishing commercially viable joint ventures with foreign private investors from Islamic countries in the fields of military hardware, military training and education. There are lot of opportunities in areas such as conventional weapons, light arms, ammunition, army vehicles, field guns and anti-aircraft guns. A number of foreign companies such as Nobel of Sweden and Al-Misehal from Saudi Arabia were already operating in defence-related manufacturing in Pakistan in cooperation with the POF.70

In 2003, Pakistani defence exports crossed over $130 million, however, the aim is of gradual increase within next eight years with a target of over $1 billion.71 Over the year almost more then 200 items including missiles and tanks and the accessories related to them and other arms were exported to more than 21 targeted countries including Indonesia, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Morocco, Libya, Mauritius and other countries of Africa.72

On June 2003, as a result of these efforts, the UAE Air Force Chief, Brigadier General Staff Pilot Abdullah Al-Sayed Mohammed A1-Hashmi, met with Pakistan’s Acting Vice Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed, and focused on mutual cooperation between the two air forces.73 The UAE showed interest in buying Pakistani military hardware including Al-Khalid main battle tank, Mushshak trainers and various other defence items that Pakistan can offer. In June 2003, Pakistan also decided to export Al-Khalid tanks to Bangladesh and to upgrade military-to-military relations with Bangladesh.74

Recently in October 2004, Pakistan explored the possibilities of joint ventures with Saudi Arabia in arms production including missiles and tanks. Saudi Assistant Minister of Defence, Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, talked with Pakistani Defence Minister, Rao Sikandar Iqbal, and underscored the need of enhancing military cooperation between the two brotherly countries.75 Enhanced arms and ammunitions for the defence services, and upgradation of certain types of ammunitions have reduced the nation’s dependence on foreign sources. Substantial foreign exchange has been earned through the sale of these products to friendly countries.76 HIT also successfully developed Al-Zarar tank by modernising the existing fleet of ‘T-59’ tanks, and attracted wide attention and recognition of Pakistan’s capability in this field.77

Prospects for Defence Export

Pakistan’s defence production has started to mature, and Pakistan plans to double its defence exports in the near future. Pakistan’s Defence industry has the capacity to manufacture surplus products in order to earn foreign exchange for national development. Pakistan is mainly focusing on main Battle Tanks, the Al-Khalid and Al-Zarrar, APC Al-Saad, Al-Muhafiz security vehicle, the Baktar Shikan Anti-Tank Guided Missile, Super Mushshak, K-8 trainer aircraft, missile boats, small arms and a wide range of artillery, tank and small arms ammunitions.78 According to Zahid Anis, Pakistan’s Secretary for Defence Production ‘today there are things that we can offer that can really interest the whole world.’79 Being a new entrant in the market, with a 95% share of public sector, Pakistan is currently sustaining $100 million worth of defence exports.80 The defence exports could increase dramatically by exporting Al-Khalid, along with JF-17 fighter, developing with China, which could be ready for export by 2008-2009. By selling these big items, Pakistan can achieve a $1 billion target over five or six years. Although it would be just a small portion of international arms market, but Pakistan could achieve parity with its imports expenditures.

Pakistan’s defence products may not be hi-tech, but are more cost-effective and affordable. Many countries have shown interest in the indigenous production of vessels by the Pakistan Navy. Any deal in this regard would not only boost Pakistan's image and credibility in the international market but would also help in earning sizeable foreign exchange. Experts from different countries have also showed interest in POF and HIT equipment, especially the Al-Khalid tank. Experts said that Al-Khalid includes qualities of some of the best tanks in the world, like targeting the enemy at night and auto-tracking of enemy tanks. Pakistani experts compare its qualities with that of Russian T-90 and German Leopard, which are considered to be the leading tanks in the world. Experts believe that Al-Khalid is the culmination of all the tank upgrading and rebuilding projects so far undertaken by the HIT.81

Marketing and sale of defence products is a time-consuming job. It normally takes 3 to 4 years to finalise and deliver a defence-related deal. In Pakistan’s case, the sale is government-to-government which usually takes more time in terms of evaluating and finalising the deal. Thus a product like a tank would take 5 to 7 years from deal to delivery. So, for that matter supplier-customer relations are the key to success. Although Pakistan is using the concept of IDEAS for the promotion of its defence products but still there is need to identify the target countries and advertise the product in such a way that it helps the buyer country to evaluate it quickly. For that purpose, timely information of the requirements of target countries is vital to boost defence exports.82 However, to capture a big market there is a need for

Restructuring of the defence industry.

Openings for the foreign investment.

Joint ventures with friendly states for specific projects.

Encouraging private sector to be involved in defence manufacturing and export.

Adopt modern marketing tools.

Pakistan’s defence production capacity can be enhanced by launching joint ventures with friendly countries, and by enhancing defence exports Pakistan can achieve a desirable goal for earning foreign exchange. This would not only help to meet the demands of its armed forces but it would also help to stabilise its economy by spending less on defence imports. By addressing some key problems of marketing, Pakistan can become a major international player in exporting defence products ranging from small weapons to aircrafts and tanks.

Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan and SIPRI Yearbooks

Malik Qasim Mustafa is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad.

Source: http://www.issi.org.pk/journal/2004_files/no_4/article/5a.htm


Sep 20, 2006
United Arab Emirates
Need to pour more and more money in R & D, Design and Production of Hi Tech defence electronics including advanced missile guidance systems, electronic warfare systems, integrated air defence systems, AWACS, Satellites, RADARs, Advanced missiles of all types(SAMs, AAMs etc.).



New Recruit

Sep 16, 2006
pakistan is the muslim worlds saviour it might be the country to get all muslim nations out of this mess i can see no other muslim nation becoming powerfull some have money oil etc pakistan has nothing and we made it to nuclear power allah bless pakistan and its great paeople
couldnt agree more
:pakistan: :pakistan: :pakistan: :pakistan: :pakistan: :pakistan: :pakistan: :pakistan:

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