The Pakistan government attaches a high level of importance to IDEAS; despite the fact that it attracts a large number of delegates, it is seen as a vehicle for facilitating their own indigenous arms trade.
The 5th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar was inaugurated by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. The exhibition area alone had grown to have diverse company representatives from 58 countries and the new Director-General of DEPO, Major General Mohammad Farooq reported that of the 256 participating companies, 94 were Pakistani and 162 from abroad. Furthermore, over 100 breakout meetings between government and industry had also been arranged and the event would feature as its highlight a static display of the joint venture fighter jet launched by the Pakistanis and Chinese, the JF-17 Thunder.
As with previous years, the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan, combined with the increasingly high profile nature of IDEAS meant severe measures had to be taken by the Army to ensure safety. Offices in the area were forced to close in the afternoons during the exhibition days, all restaurants were also closed during the evenings. To further enhance security, a traffic rerouting plan was put in place around the Karachi Expo Centre to avoid congestion at roadblocks and checkpoints and to ensure the delegates could arrive more quickly and without hindrance.
JF-17 Thunder Aircraft at IDEAS 2008 General Farooq, DG DEPO, stated that a considerable contributing factor for the success of IDEAS 2008 was the introduction of a soft launch several months prior to the exhibition on 23 May 2008.The Prime Minister lead the soft launch and hosted delegates from most conceivable stakeholders from a wide range of countries and industry partners helped grow the event.
The seminar-element of the conference, held on 20 November 2006, was reduced to one day and DEPO had targeted to attract 74 countries for it. Such was the high demand for the 4th International Defence Exhibition and Seminar, the government of Karachi was heavily pressured by the Army to open the National Stadium and Hassan Square flyovers and their adjoining roads at least seven days before the opening ceremony despite meaning heavy recruitment of additional labourers to complete the projects, which were not due to finish on time. Furthermore, with mounting security problems in Pakistan and the rising profile of IDEAS, the army declared the whole area surrounding the Expo Centre a high-security zone for a week, which included the cessation of any labouring to complete development work in the immediate vicinity.
The event was considered a success by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Ehsan-ul-Haque and a closing ceremony, held at Manora Island, included aerial formations and aerobatics from the Pakistan Air Force with the Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Army displaying indigenously manufactured submarines and vehicles. Summarising the exhibition at an affiliated dinner, according to Dawn newspaper, Sindh Chief Minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim said "Pakistan's armed forces had realized the dream of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah of a strong and stable Pakistan through acquisition of modern technology and that it was glorious for Pakistan and particularly Sindh that the biggest defence exhibition in the history of the country was held in Karachi. According to the Pakistani News Service, an "extensive media coverage was made with over 2,200 articles, editorials and news items published worldwide in leading newspapers and industry magazines.
The 3rd International Defence Exhibition and Seminar was opened once again by President Pervez Musharraf and was held in the Karachi Expo Centre, September 14-17, 2004. Major General Syed Ali Hamid presided over the event and oversaw growth from the previous two exhibitions with delegations from over seventy different countries having been confirmed.
IDEAS has taken a unique role in highlighting Pakistan's potential for defence ties and trade between countries in Asia, the Middle East and African region, while facilitating the need for an enhanced market base for indigenously manufactured defence products."
In its second year the event had attracted wide international interest with General Hamid reporting to Dawn newspaper that exhibitors from China, Turkey, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, UAE and Saudi Arabia were expected to attend.
Already by 2002, IDEAS was being touted as the largest commercial event in the history of Pakistan with 45 official delegations from 30 countries attending and 110 exhibition stands from 25 countries.
The inaugural launch of IDEAS occurred in 2000 and was a vehicle to promote Pakistan's domestic arms manufacturing businesses whilst providing a stage for international vendors to offer solutions to the requirements of the tri-services of Pakistan. The event, having always been scheduled for the Karachi Expo Centre, in its first year attracted forty-five delegations from foreign countries