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UK arms show expels 2 Pakistani exhibitors

Two Pakistani weapons companies were expelled from a major London weapons fair.



London: Two Pakistani weapons companies were
expelled from a major London weapons fair after a British
lawmaker discovered that cluster munitions were being
advertised at their stands, the show`s organisers said on Saturday.
Green Party parliamentarian Caroline Lucas said she
discovered brochures promoting the weapons at a pair of
Pakistani stands pitched at London`s Defence System and
Equipment International exhibition held earlier this week.

Britain is a signatory to the international convention on
cluster munitions, which prohibits the use, production,
stockpiling or transfer of cluster munitions, the name given
to weapons such as bombs or shells which pepper large areas
with shrapnel or mini-explosives. Human rights advocates say
such weapons are inherently indiscriminate and often kill
civilians.

The exhibition`s website makes clear that ads for such
weapons are banned from the show, but Lucas said she found
brochures for 155 millimeter (about 6-inch) artillery-fired
cluster bombs at the Pakistan Ordnance Factory stand and
Pakistan`s Defense Export Promotion Organisation pavilion.
"I`m shocked that the British government seems unable or
unwilling to police arms sales happening here on its own
soil," she said in a statement, demanding that the arms fair
be shut down.

The fair`s organisers confirmed the discovery, saying the
stands were dismantled after Lucas flagged the issue on
Thursday.

Pakistani officials and a London-based technical attache
for the Pakistan Ordnance Factory could not be immediately
reached. On its website, the group describes itself as the
Pakistani military`s "largest defense industrial complex,"
composed of 14 factories and two subsidiaries.

PTI

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