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International defence exhibition and seminar

09 October, 2008

The international defence exhibition and seminar, commonly known as IDEAS, a display of ‘arms for peace’, was first held in Karachi in the year 2000.

Thereafter, it has become a routine feature and after every two years the exhibition was held in the years 2002, 2004 and 2006. Now the fifth IDEAS (defence exhibition) will be held from Nov 24 to 28 at the Expo Centre, Karachi.

With the passage of time, there has been a tremendous growth in foreign and local exhibitors and, accordingly, this time there is a greater demand for space at the exhibition centre by foreign and local exhibitors. The number of local visitors has also increased many times during the last four exhibitions.

The following details show how IDEAS gained popularity among international and local exhibitors and how many visitors attended the exhibition from 2000 to 2006:

During the last exhibition that was held in 2006 there were 221 leading defence manufactures from 27 countries that included 148 foreign and 73 domestic companies. This was attended by more than 30,000 defence professionals, analysts and service personnel.

Extensive media coverage was made with over 2,200 articles, editorials and news items published worldwide in leading newspapers and industry magazines. Moreover, people from the world’s renowned electronic media channels were flown from various parts of the globe to Karachi to cover this mega event.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has formally announced the soft-launching of IDEAS 2008 in Islamabad on May 23, which was largely attended by the ambassadors of various countries, government departments and businessmen.

Preparations for IDEAS 2008 are in full swing and various government organisations representing different countries have already booked the available space in exhibition halls. Booking of space for IDEAS this time has been increased by 250 pr cent whereas attendance of defence delegations have been increased by 225 per cent.

Visitors from various countries will also come to Karachi to see this mega event. But this time organisers have imposed an entry fee for the people who would like to see this exhibition, though previously there was no entry fee imposed for issuing the passes for the visitors during the period from 2000 to 2006.

This time people who wish to see the defence exhibition will have to pay $25 per person. However, a discount of 20 per cent for a group of minimum of four visitors has been offered by the organisers.

As usual, all roads leading to the venue will be closed due to security reasons. Frustration of the people will be at its peak as in addition to the heavy traffic jams on the nearby roads, the residents of the adjoining areas will not be allowed to visit the venue, without paying entry fee in advance whereafter passes will be issued by the organisers during a particular time.

I would request the prime minister to ask the organisers of IDEAS 2008 event not to charge any entry fee to the people and issue entry passes free of cost after proper security clearance. After all, the organisers must be earning a handsome amount of money which they will be charging under different heads for organising this mega event.

SYED A. MATEEN

Karachi


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