Well funded and suitably staffed by professional scholars and technocrats, Research and Development set ups play a pivotal role in the modernization of any civil or military institution involved in creative pursuits said Senator Le. Gen. Abdul Qayyum HI (M) Retd., while chairing the Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production held today at Parliament House Islamabad.
The meeting was attended among others by Senators Nauman Wazir Khattak, Pervaiz Rasheed, Nuzhat Sadiq, Gul Bashra, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Muhammad Akram, Taj Muhammad Afridi, Anwar Lal Din, Federal Minister for Defence Production Zobaida Jalal, Additional Secretary Maj Gen Akif Iqbal, DG Munition Production Air Vice Marshal Qaiser Janjua, DG, MP Brig Salman Naeem, Acting Director ARDE Lt Col Ahmed Rizwan and officers from NEPRA, POF IESCO.
Brig Salman Naeem brief the committee regarding Directorate General Munitions Production’s function role, budget, business/commercial plans, issues and way forward of the organization. It was informed that in 1947, Directorate General Supply & Development was established under Ministry of Defence and in 1953, it was reorganized as Defense Purchase Directorate. During 1965 war, embargo was imposed on Pakistan which led to establishment of DGMP&P in 1967. In 1970 it was bifurcated into Directorate Gen Munitions Production and Directorate General Defense Purchase. The committee was briefed in detail about the mandate functions and organizational structures. It was told in committee that DGMP entrusted the responsibility to ensure whatever can be produced within country or can be progressively developed leading to its manufacturing in the country, is not imported except for urgent deficiency. As per MoDP notification all DP Estbs/Service HQ will obtain prior NOC from DGMP before purchasing/importing any Defence equipment. It was also told that Private Firms are undertaking in DGMP projects after necessary evaluation, at present, 88 local firms are registered as Manufactures. Senator Mushaid Hussain Sayed said that we should take benefit from Chinese Military hardware. Senator Noman Wazir Khattak said that we should promote reverse engineering. Senator Taj Muhammad Afridi stressed to involve our PHD scholar in Munitions Productions and Research.
Acting Director ARDE brief the committee about the Armament Research & Development Establishment. He told the committee that institution was established in 1974 under DGMP to develop armaments stores for three services. Research, design & development of armaments store, explore industrial potential, modification to improve and modernize equipment and to conduct and participate in technical trial of the indigenously developed products are the key functions.
Committee was told that ARDE is interacting with academic institutions for Research and development purposes and engaged industrial sector also. It was also told that this organization has completed 54 projects up till now and out of these 29% projects were indigenously designed and 71% projects developed through reverse engineering.
About the recommendation regarding POF Sanjwal Solar Power Plant, it was told by the CEO IESCO that the matter would be settled within a month. Federal Minister Zubida Jalal briefed the committee about the Gwadar Shipyard progress. She told that the matter has almost been solved. Baluchistan Govt. will provide land and the front of the shipyard would be 3.5km and a draft of MoU duly vetted by M/O Law and Justice was sent to GoB in Jul 2019 and no response has so far been received. Committee was also briefed about the Pakistan Machine Tool Factory status. It was told that SPD is interested in taking over of PMTF. The liabilities of PMTF are 6 Billon.
The committee lauded the efforts of Defence Production R&D establishments for their successes in indigenization, upgradation and modernization of military hardware to keep pace with the ever increasing international developments and changing requirements of the modern battle filed. Efforts made in this context by the Armament Research and Development Establishment with modest financial allocation is praise worthy, the Chairman said. The Committee, however, showed concern in the uncalled for delay in the processing of new Gawadar Shipyard and asked Government of Baluchistan to expedite in coordination with Ministry of Defence Production.
It was also stated that although our Defence Production establishments have done wonderful innovative work, they need to optimize their utilization by running their set ups on sound commercial lines.
Restructuring of Defence Production set ups if needed may be undertaking but this ministry must have separate budget and should gradually become self-sustaining.