The debt servicing and the defence expenditures were
the two major budgetary allocations. The economic managers had no option
but to serve these two outlays of crucial importance obviously causing a
noticeable impact on the economy of Pakistan.
It is heartening to note that as a result of perfect
handling of the situation as well as professional management of the
available resources by the present government has started providing a
comfortable cushion to the economic managers to take care of other
sectors of the economy as well.
The chronic issue of debt servicing which always pose
a threat to the country to be defaulter has already been addressed
successfully. Country's financial reserves approaching fast towards the
target of $8 billion indicates improving financial health of the
country. The formidable sword of being a defaulter is no more hanging on
our heads, which certainly places the economy in a comfortable position.
Pakistan's emergence as a quality producer and
exporter of arms and its performance also reassures that not only
country's defence expenditures would remain a burden on the economy but
it may also give a tremendous boost to the national economy.
Multi-dimensional growth in producing Land-Sea-Air
defence equipment such as Al-Zarar and Al-Khalid Tanks, Agosta
Sub-marine and Karakorum-8 and Super Mashak trainer aircraft produced by
Pakistan in collaboration with friendly countries have laid strong
foundations for a prestigious fort both in terms of defence as well as
economic prosperity of the nation.
President General Pervez Musharraf while speaking at
a recently concluded Defence Exhibition "Ideas-2002" at Expo
Centre Karachi said that Pakistan has started commercial production of
Al-Zarar tank and will be producing around 50 tanks by next year.
Country has made spectacular progress in defence production and its arms
manufacturing capacity has increased a lot.
The defence show itself indicates country's
capabilities in defence production. The visiting foreign delegates and
defence ministers from friendly countries were surprised to witness
Pakistan's capability in defence production. President also pointed out
those military products like Super Mashak, Al-Zarar and Al-Khalid tanks
have great export potential. The impressive display of arms at the
exhibition has paved way for military product exports from Pakistan.
Aircraft: Karakorum-8 (K-8) is a sleek looking
elegant and low-winged advanced trainer aircraft produced as a joint
venture between PAC Kamra and China Aero Technology Import & Export
Corporation. It has been designed to impart basic and advanced training
to pilots. Super Mashak is the advanced version of AMF Mashak,
originally known as SAAB MFI=17, it is powered by Textron Lycoming 260HP
engine with protection against hot and humid environment with a speed of
145 knots in level flights. It has been manufactured in the Pakistan
Al-Khalid tank is equipped with a 125mm smooth bore
gun, 1200HP multi-fuel turbo-charged diesel engine, auto tracking
system, and hi-axis stabilization with hunter killer capability.
Defence exhibition "Ideas-2002" has been
arranged at a time when Pakistan has already emerged as a major arms
exporter to various countries of the world. Prominent among the buyers
is countries from Middle East, Africa and the Far East.
The hot military items in the export market are Al-zarrar
and Al-Khalid tanks, Super Mashaq, jeeps and armoured personnel carriers
(APC). The Super Mushaq has an annual export potential of $30 million.
This was stated by Air Commodore Masroor Malik,
Director, Policy and Development, of Defence Export Production
Organization (DEPO) at the briefing on "Ideas 2002" at Karachi
Pakistan has also exported arms to Syria, Iran, Oman,
Malaysia, Egypt and several African countries while there are queries
for the major arm products such as tanks, aircraft and APCs from Saudi
Arabia and other countries.
Pakistan, which started collaboration in weapon
manufacturing with China, Turkey and Ukraine on product-to-product
basis, has now entered the advanced stage of research and development in
military collaboration with these countries.
The world's interest in arms manufacturing in
Pakistan can be gauged from the fact that as many as 19 defence
ministers and army chiefs of various countries visited the second grand
show in Karachi. The royal family members from UAE and Brunei were also
among the delegates. In all 41 delegations from 32 countries witnessed
the unique display of Pakistan made arms. About 80 foreign companies
also displayed their products at the show.
The commercial production of the military products
has a manifold impact on the overall economy of the country. On one hand
it will be strengthening the country's exports to a respectable level
while it has helped commercial viability of various public sector
organizations like Pakistan Machine Tool Factory, Karachi Shipyard,
Heavy Mechanical Complex so far lying idle due to lack of economic
activity. It is hoped that the commercial production of the defence
products will also help developing a strong vendor industry in the
private sector of the country.