The 9th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) opened at the Karachi Expo Centre on Tuesday.

IDEAS is a biennially held defence exhibition which brings together the defence industry’s players across the globe to showcase latest technological innovations.

The defence industries of Turkey, China, Russia, North America, South America, Europe and Asia will have a significant presence at the exhibition.

An opening speaker at the event said there are 418 firms from 34 countries participating, out of which 157 are Pakistani firms.

“This time 9 more countries are visiting and participating in IDEAS. These include Luxembourg, Denmark, Belarus, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belgium, Romania and Nigeria.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif jointly inaugurated the exhibition, which is set to run from Nov 22-25, alongside Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while addressing an open ceremony reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to discouraging an arms race in the region. “We, in fact, pursue the motive of ‘Arms for peace’, which is the tagline of IDEAS,” he said.

A statement posted on the IDEAS website explains why it is held in Pakistan: “Pakistan’s ever growing defence industry is in quest for seeking international alliances to meet the requirements of its armed forces and growing needs of the regional defence forces. Pakistan’s own defence products present a perfect mix of indigenous and foreign technologies thus offering an ideal platform for defence collaboration.”

Besides showcasing of products, there will be several high-level meetings among foreign delegates, key government officials and participants on the sidelines of the four-day IDEAS for forging alliances in defence production. An important international defence seminar will be held at a hotel on Nov 22. Sidelines conferences have been planned at the exhibition venue on Nov 23 and 24.

About 90 delegations from 43 countries are expected to attend the exhibition and seminar, including 30 high-level teams comprising defence ministers, defence secretaries and services chiefs.

Although Chinese and Turkish defence industries will have a significant presence, Russia is participating in the event this time in a big way.

Some of the major indigenously developed products to be showcased at the event include battle tank Al-Khalid, JF-17 Thunder, Super Mushshak and K-8 aircraft, Fast Attack Craft Missile boats, UAVs, armoured personnel carriers and premium grade military hardware.

By-polls for the NA-258 constituency scheduled to be held today were delayed due to the exhibition.

Traffic diversion

The office of deputy inspector general police (traffic) has issued detailed instructions for the regulation of traffic during the exhibition.

Traffic diversion plan in place for IDEAS 2016. ─ DIGP Traffic Karachi

All commercial vehicles going from the airport to the stadium road should take the Baloch Colony U-turn which would connect them to the Tipu Sultan bridge, Shaheed-e-Millat road to jail flyover, University road, Ghareebabad etc.

Both sides of the University Road will remain open during this period.

However, all commercial vehicles wishing to go from SITE area to Shahra-e-Failsal and Karsaz will be diverted from Liaqatabad number 10 to Shahrah-e-Pakistan.

All traffic going towards Liaqatabad, Ghareebabad, Shahrah-e-Faisal or Karsaz will be diverted towards the left before the Hassan Square flyover.

Heavy, commercial and public vehicles are not allowed to take the Karsaz route to the Stadium road.

Sir Shah Suleiman road, from Hassan Square bridge to National Stadium bridge, will remain shut for all traffic.

The Stadium bridge, leading to Expo Centre will only be open for cars with special stickers. These cars will only travel to their designated parking area.

All other traffic will move right from under the Stadium bridge towards Dalmia and Millennium Mall road.

The traffic going left from under the bridge will move towards Dohraji and New Town.

All commercial and heavy vehicles coming from Sohrab Goth towards the city will take Shahrah-e-Pakistan, from Nagin Chaurangi to Board office.

All traffic coming from University road to the city should turn left from NIPA toward Rashid Minhas road.

No cars will be allowed to park on or near Expo Centre, on Sir Shah Suleman, or anywhere between Stadium,Hassan Square and Bait ul Mukarrm road.

The road going from Hassan Square to Stadium will remain shut to public.