‘Pakistan self-sufficient in arms, ammo production’

May 4th, 2009 - 8:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, May 4 (IANS) Pakistan’s ordnance factories are executing orders worth Rs.6.4 billion ($80 million) and the country has achieved self-sufficiency in the production of arms and ammunition, a top official said Monday.
Twenty-three development projects are also in different stages of completion to enhance the level and standards of Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) products, its chairman, Lieutenant General Sabahat Hussain said.

This apart, POF has inked six joint ventures with reputed international firms for manufacturing modern weapons.

“These agreements are on a transfer of technology basis,” APP quoted Hussain as telling reporters after addressing the first convocation of the Wah Medical College.

This would ensure that any Western sanctions would not hamper defence supplies to the armed forces, he added.

According to Hussain, POF, which earned record revenue of Rs.500 million last year besides securing record export orders for its surplus production, was meeting the country’s defence needs through generation of indigenous resources.

He also urged the grant of financial autonomy to POF to enable it increase the salary package of its employees and provide an impetus to the economic well-being of the organisation.

“The case for giving autonomy to POF is pending with the ministry of finance for the last four years,” Hussain pointed out.

POF, a sprawling complex of 14 production units and six subsidiaries producing conventional arms and ammunition, is located at Wah Cantonment 45 km from Islamabad.

It was started from scratch in 1951 after 16 British-built ordnance factories remained with India following the sub-continent’s partition in 1947.

Started in collaboration with the British Royal Ordnance Factory to manufacture 0.303 calibre rifles and their ammunition, POF today produces approximately 70 major products for supply to the Pakistani army, navy and air force.

Its principal products include automatic rifles; light, medium and heavy machine guns; a range of mortar and artillery ammunition, aircraft and anti-aircraft ammunition, tank and anti-tank ammunition; bombs, grenades, land mines, pyrotechnics and signalling equipment.

The Taliban targeted the POF in August 2008, killing 60 people and injuring 81 in two devastating explosions at its entrance gate.

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