Pakistan's Senate passed legislation in late August to support the transformation of state defence enterprise Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) into a corporate entity. The move is in line with Pakistan's efforts to spur capability developments in its national defence industry.
The legislation - the Heavy Industries Taxila Board (Amendment) Bill 2019 - will result in HIT, a specialist in military land systems, becoming a limited company. The bill was approved earlier this year by Pakistan's National Assembly and was referred to the Senate for consideration in May.
In approving the bill, the Senate's Standing Committee on Defence Production said in a report that the move to corporatise HIT will enable the enterprise to more easily enter joint ventures (JVs) with national and foreign firms.
The committee said these JVs would be in commercial sectors - including the production of automobiles, trucks, and wagons - and that resulting revenues, investments, and technologies would benefit HIT's defence production activities. However, the committee also warned that such commercial activities should not be to the detriment of defence production.
According to the committee, other objectives of the move to corporatise HIT include enabling the enterprise to earn revenues to subsidise Pakistan's defence budget; support national efforts to "move incrementally towards self-sustenance" in the defence sector; support private-sector defence industrial expansion in Pakistan; and "help bring in the latest technologies" into the country to benefit defence.
HIT is one of Pakistan's most important defence enterprises. The organisation specialises in upgrades and manufacturing a range of military vehicles including main battle tanks (MBTs), armoured personnel carriers, and artillery, as well as military vehicle engines and related components and associated equipment.
Its most important programmes include the production of Al-Khalid-I MBTs and the development of Al-Khalid-II MBTs, both for the Pakistan Army.
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