ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production Lt. General (r) Abdul Qayyum Friday said Pakistan was self-sufficient in developing quality defence products and meeting requirements of its Armed Forces indigenously.
“Pakistan’s defence production quality is second to none in the world, which is evident from the fact that two AWACS aircraft damaged in a terrorist attack at the Kamra Airbase have been fully repaired at a minimum cost, whom the supplier had refused to maintain due to severity of the damage,” he said while speaking at the APP Forum here.
Abdul Qayyum, who also served as Chairman Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF), said prime responsibility of defence production departments was to fulfill needs of the country’s Armed Forces. However, the surplus capacity was being used to produce items for exports.
He said there was a lot of potential to increase defence productions’ exports whether they were JF-17 Thunder, Super Mushak, Military Trainer or AK8 aircraft, adding that the country was also self-sufficient in making good quality of small arms like mortar bombs, G-3 rifles, grenades, artillery and tank ammunition ranging from 200 pounds to 2500 pounds shots.
Answering a question about India’s arms deal with US, the ex- General said India was using the entire procured mechanized arms and attack-formations at Pakistan’s eastern border as the supply that contained tanks was useless in northern Himayalan mountains and south Indian ocean except along the border with Pakistan.
“We increased our tactical nuclear capability and attracted attention of the world which admitted that Pakistan is at number 3 in this capability after Russia and America,” he said.
He said Pakistan’s nuclear capability was defensive having no offensive designs against any one rather it was for peace in the South Asian region. “The deal can be a big hurdle in the way of regional peace. We appeal to super powers that it will trigger an arms race and pose threats in the region.”
Lt. General (r) Abdul Qayyum said “We have got a major breakthrough at the diplomatic front as international community including Afghanistan, India, Russia, European Union, United States, Turkmenistan and member countries of Shanghai Cooperation Organization are now inclining to Pakistan, acknowledging its efforts for peace, tranquility and co-existence.”
Replying a question regarding dialogue process between Pakistan and India, he said both the countries while following the policy of co-existence should find an amicable solution of the Kashmir dispute in line with the resolutions passed by United Nations Security Council.
“The key to success for the dialogue is with New Delhi, and India needs a leader like Nelson Mandela who always worked for the suffering humanity, setting aside personal interests.”
During last 15 years, he said, the country passed through difficult phase facing bloodshed, $100 billion economic losses, ruined infrastructure and social life caused by the menace of terrorism.
After coming into power in 2013, he said, the Pakistan Muslim
League-Nawaz (PML-N) government under the able leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif embarked upon Hercules tasks of tackling terrorism, energy crisis, revival of national economy and ending the country’s isolation among comity of the nations with effective diplomacy.
Recounting efforts to uproot the menace of terrorism, Abdul Qayyum said, the government launched operation Zarb-e-Azb and National Action Plan, executed terrorists and now “the backbone of terrorists has been broken, and their financers, handlers and abettors are being apprehended and tried in courts.”
In a two-year period, he said, the country succeeded to end over 70 percent terrorism by deploying Army in tribal areas,Frontier Corps in Balochistan and Rangers in Karachi – the three flashpoints identified to get rid of the scourge.
He said article 148 of the constitution allowed the federal government to make such deployments in provinces if they felt foreign aggression or internal turmoil, terming it a `constitutional duty’ of the center.
Commenting on energy crisis, he said various power generation projects were underway and hopefully the load-shedding would beovercome in next two years.
Replying to a question, the chairman said the PML-N government believed in territorial integrity, political sovereignty, national solidarity, maintaining minimum credible nuclear deterrence and effectively highlighting Kashmir issue at all national and international fora.
Answering question about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, Abdul Qayyum described it as a game-changer not only for Pakistan but the entire region.
With completion of this project,China would open up to Middle East, North Africa, Mediterranean Rim Land and Europe, he said, adding “It was a big dream that will come true by the grace of Allah Almighty.”
To another query, he said Pakistan had exemplary relations with Saudi Arabia and would extend all possible assistance in case of any threat to its sovereignty. “However, issues should be resolved through political means,” he added.
Abdul Qayyum, who also remained Chairman of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), said there was the need to improve efficiency of public sector corporations, and only those departments should be considered for privatization which were running into loss consistently.
During his stay in PSM, he said, he cleared its Rs 8 billion debts and made the department an profit-earning entity with zero liability.
PSM’s production capacity was being increased from one million ton to three million ton, he said, adding “When I left the PSM, it had Rs 6 billion raw material, Rs 4 billion finished products, Rs. 2 billion inventory and Rs 10 billion saving.”
Unfortunately, he said, later on its financial condition deteriorated due to political interference by the successive governments.
About Pakistan-Afghanistan’s 2,250 kilometer porous border, he said it was the only border in the world from where around 40,000 to 50,000 people daily criss-cross without visa from both sides.
“It is the reality on ground despite that Pakistan has around 650 posts to stop this activity. But, we are working to manage the border,” he added.