Abu Dhabi -  Pakistan's largest arms and ammunition manufacturing facility, Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF), will open a sales and marketing office in the UAE within the year to "cater not just to the defence and military requirements of the country but also of the entire Middle East".

This was revealed by POF Chairman Lt-Gen Omar Mahmood Hayat to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

"The UAE is a very important country for us. Unfortunately our (arms and ammunition) exports do not reflect this kind of relationship," said Hayat. "Our exports to the UAE in the last three years were just between $5-10m per year."

"What we are planning to do is to open a sales and marketing office in the UAE not only to cater to this country but also of the entire region. The UAE has become the commercial hub of the Middle East so it makes a lot of sense for us to establish an office within the year," Hayat underlined. The POF chairman added that they are projecting at least a 100 per cent increase in sales only in the UAE.

Last year, POF registered its single largest export order with a $100m sale to Saudi Arabia. According to a Market Watch report, the global small arms market could be worth $4.92 billion by 2020 and the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions are expected to generate most of the foreseeable growth."

Hayat said POF is aggressively looking at increased sales to overseas markets with affordability and technological upgrades as their main selling points.