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DEPO: Pakistan needs coherent policy on defence exports
February 22, 2018
Photo source: Pakistan Aeronautical Complex

DEPO: Pakistan needs coherent policy on defence exports

Pakistan’s Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) is jointly hosting a two-day seminar with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Titled, “Pakistan’s Defence Industry: Export Potential, Challenges and Prospects,” the seminar aims to pose and address central questions regarding Pakistan’s efforts to expand its defence industry.

The seminar, beginning today on November 28, will involve current and former government officials, top bureaucrats and domestic industry leaders as keynote speakers and discussion chairs.

In particular, DEPO hopes to focus on Pakistan’s efforts to secure a greater share of the global arms trade market, which has managed $1.69 trillion U.S. in worldwide expenditure in 2016.

In its statement, DEPO outlines the purpose of the seminar:

To provide a platform for entrepreneurs, financial experts, engineers, policy makers and academia to review Pakistan’s defence industry and its potential to meet domestic needs and make recommendations for developing draft strategy framework to secure desired share of defence industry products in global arms export market.

Last week, DEPO’s Coordination Director Brig. Gen. Waheed Mumtaz told local journalists (Business Recorder) that “Pakistan has no policy to export defence products,” adding that current efforts fail in terms of clear messaging to prospective customers, neglect potential markets and do not emulate the industry best practices of competitors.

According to Brig. Gen. Mumtaz, Pakistan realized defence exports of $270 million in 2016-2017, with the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Super Mushshak being a key product for growth. However, it should be noted that Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) is the constant in Pakistan’s defence exports, generating $67.73 million in sales in 2016-2017.

Notes & Comments:

The general doctrine of Pakistan’s state-owned defence industry vendors, such as Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), POF, PAC, Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) and others, is to primarily fulfill domestic requirements foremost, with exports being made of surplus capacity and production.

For the latter, the Middle East has been a receptive market, especially for POF and PAC with ammunition and trainer aircraft, respectively. These vendors have played a role in channelling defence expenditure to the domestic industry, especially in terms of maintenance and long-term support. However, some within the Pakistani government and armed forces leadership have called for these inputs to serve a greater role in the economy, especially in terms of generating high-value exports and pulling foreign currency to the country. This was pronounced during the inauguration of the Kamra Aviation City complex.

There are many potential – and complementary – avenues for defence export growth, but for DEPO, the central issue is the absence of a clear and overarching defence export policy. Besides general aspirations, the Pakistani government has not provided an articulate roadmap for growing defence exports. Thus, the country’s vendors, such as POF and HIT, remain in a condition where their respective products are lagging in current market expectations, but require the armed forces to define requirements and facilitate funding for product development (since the primary purpose of these entities is to serve domestic needs). Meeting domestic requirements does not necessarily mean meeting foreign market expectations.

Thus, one of the potential consequences of DEPO raising this question (of requiring an export policy) could be to review the purpose of Pakistan’s defence industry vendors. The current focus of POF et. al is to serve domestic armed forces requirements. For example, if the Army procures a new assault rifle, that assault rifle will be built under license at POF for meeting Army requirements.

Could this paradigm shift by having POF become an independent (but state-owned) vendor offering a solution to the Army? In this respect, POF would source an assault rifle (be it through original design or partnership with a foreign company) and propose it to the Army. In effect, POF et. al would become less of production depots and instead a domestic marketplace for the armed forces. This model would enable POF et. al to develop their respective product catalogues in alignment to overseas market expectations.

The above is simply an analysis of what Pakistan’s defence and economic planners will consider, alongside faithfully pursuing commercial offsets, engaging the private sector and co-production partnerships.

  • Sami Shahid

    Problem is that when the our military doesn’t buy the locally produced MRAP vehicle like Hamza 8×8 & Hamza 6×6 then why would a foreign Customer buy it ? Till now I haven’t seen APC protector developed by HIT with police or paramilitary then why would any foreign customer buy it ? More importantly Pakistan needs to promote its products in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Tajikistan, Sudan, Tunisia etc. We keep trying to sell our products to Sri Lanka, Gulf & some African countries. We need to promote our products in other regions as well.

    • Steve

      Does anyone know if Hamza was even trialed? There is a huge market in-country.

  • Indeed ministry of defence production did well but it can be more than imagination if local vendors investors are encouraged enhace R&D streamline the work share to local industry and more important is to hire and appoint professional and dedicated peoples but not bureaucrates they are the main hurdle to design , develop and manufacture any system indigenously , what they did in last 70 years could not even design any sub system of any weapon system its very unfortunate r&d , designing , reverse engineering is not prohibited but for some unknown reasons no need to mentioned it , so its need of the time to think and prepare yourself for the challeges ahead .

  • TZK

    Niche products with growth potential that are at an early stage of development such as UAV’s, radar, satellite or novel weapon systems for highly specialised roles are best way forward. Israel has done this and they use their contacts in the west for marketing and TOT very effectively. An example of this would be a private enterprise in Pak forging links with an equivalent in the west and working collaboratively. The problem with this is that market leaders will want to partner with nations with a big market potential say India or China so Pak has to aim at mid to low tier companies with high level of skill. Many private enterprises forge links with technology universities for R&D. This can apply across the board not just military technology.

  • Sami Shahid

    The creation of IMCTC is a good development and Iran should join it because the NATO only worsens the situation in Islamic countries. Just look at Iraq, Libya, Syria & Afghanistan. Their eyes are on Pakistan as well. As for Pakistsni industry I was just saying that countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan & Tunisia don’t have a massive economy and they need new-tech but affordable weapons & equipment so Pakistan should market its products in these countries.

    • Steve

      We should develop long range ICBM’s and thermonuclear devices. If will reduce enemies potential for blackmail and leverage on us. It will also give us leverage and respect. If jovial little Kim can do it so can we! Problem is we are ruled by jokers.

      • Kannakeepkalm

        China wont allow thid And I doubt pakistan can develop ICBMs without help of china.Remember Pakistan is an asset for China and N.K. is a liability.U should hope pakistan doesnt become Liabilty for China.And if pakistan develops ICBMs and thermonuclear weapons.Gees sanctions are waiting for you.

        • Steve

          How can you possibly know what is being decided at the highest level of Chinese government, and what Pakistan will possibly do. I expressed my own opinion and you are just blowing hot air as you fear Pakistan progressing and getting leverage on the world stage. This incessant hostility and hatred of Pakistan in every possible field of life or endeavour typifies Indian thinking and actions at the highest level. And you guys accuse us of hating you!

          • Kannakeepkalm

            I just said if Pakistan tries to develop ICBMs it would surely be condemned by western world and will place sanctions.Look at case of N.K. I justwant to said that.But you said otherthings blah blah. I dont think so anyone is stopping you from developing these weapons.You should go ahead.But also keep in mind the consequences after that.India wont do anything directly.It would be the western world that would react.And I dont hate pakistani people .Its the extermist leaders or I would say terrorists that all Indians hate.Not common people of pk.Well wishes for ICBMS and other weapons.
            And I dont think so pk has economic potential(presently) to stay relevant in the arms race with India regarding nuclear or other weapons.

          • Steve

            It is widely recognised that Pakistan has a larger number of nuclear weapons and a more advanced C4I with nuclear weapons and missile, so that part of your statement is wrong. What about the Kashmiris who resist Indian rule. Are they terrorists also? Indians seem to hate them quite a lot. I mean the common man in the street hates them egged on by a radical nationalist biased press. All the Atoot Ang nonsense. Pakistan Zindabad!

        • TZK

          You seem pretty sure that Pak does not already have Thermonuclear devices or ICBM,s. I mean until Pak carried out the tests everyone assumed they were incapable of developing nuclear weapons and Delhi was more surprised than anyone else.

  • Headstrong

    Your basic premise that Muslim countries ought to get together just because they share the same religion is inherently flawed. A look at just the past 50 years would tell you that religion is hardly the glue that keeps nations together. The Saudis and the Qataris and the Kuwaitis et al will buy from where they deem to fit in with their interests.
    Similarly, the ‘Muslim NATO’ will also be a non starter. Saudis can bully others into joining for now, but really, what sort of loyalty do they command, even within the Muslim community. The Saudis themselves hold all non-Arab Muslims in contempt.

    • TZK

      Common behaviour to seek to join a larger group when under threat and seek independence when threat disappears. EU was created during cold war and many other groups came together to defeat colonialism and have been kept together by the glue of culture, religion and a perceived common enemy but for how long? There is no longer a cold war constraint on Muslim nations and what may be useful rather than creating a military force would be to pool resources in several spheres, from military technology to commerce borne out of necessity for survival rather than any desire for domination of other nations.

      • Headstrong

        Not really. EU has more to do with economics than security. The only truly security oriented groups in recent times would be the NATO, Warsaw Pact etc. And you would realise that NATO includes non-Christian countries.
        Religion can never be a binding force for long.

        • TZK

          Economic union or security union it boils down to protection in numbers which is a well known survival technique in nature and it helps to have somethings in common.

    • Steve

      What do we expect from Indians who fear Pakistan getting allies in their confrontation with India. Of course they will try their best to argue that religion is not important. Nations have always fought each other but Islamic nations have also historically collaborated. Like Persia and Mughal India. Don’t start a rant the Mughals were “yours” lol. Why do you think the Saudis and Turks are our allies, if not at least partly because of religion. Also the Iranians to some extent. The Shah sent us 60 Sabres to fight India. I’m giving you the democratic mass public prospective of the people of Pakistan and Islamic nations in general. If you don’t believe it that’s your problem. Muslims nation by and large do not have representative governments and the despots ruling do not respect their people wishes. That is why we know what we want, and don’t care about Indian or other enemies propaganda. The primarily white Christian nations have formed NATO. That’s based on religion in a part at least. Protestations of secularism notwithstanding. We clearly recognise the desire of our enemies to divide us and keep us weak.

      • Headstrong

        Your ‘enemies’ do not have to do anything to divide you people and keep you weak. And, ‘Steve’, regulars here are well aware of your proclivity to boil everything down to the religious angle. It’s sad that the educated resort to such means to keep the hate going – why blame the fringe then?
        The present state of collaboration between Islamic nations is there for all to see. In fact, most Islamic nations are far closer to non-Islamic nations than Islamic ones. I don’t have to point out the example of Pakistan to you 😉
        Furthermore, it is also a fact that some Islamic countries consider themselves far superior to others. For example, the Saudis consider non-Arabs as decidedly inferior. This is, of course, notwithstanding the fact that some such said non-Arab countries consider themselves the ‘true’ Muslims and the keeper of the faith.
        Even furthermore, non-Islamic countries such as India, who have more Muslims than many Islamic countries, are closer to some Islamic countries than other Islamic countries. I do not have to point out the comparison in relations between India and Pakistan with decidedly Islamic countries such as Bangladesh and Afghanistan (many would say Iran too, but let’s call that debatable).
        The clincher is the mess that the Middle East is and always has been. By the arguments being forwarded here, the whole region should have been one big happy family.
        PS – Sorry, ‘Steve’, but the Mughal heritage remains Indian. I understand your pain, for if you could accept that, why indeed was Pakistan even formed. But, as they say, you people made your bed, now you lie in it 😉

        • Steve

          Typical rehashing of India propoganda. We should agree to disagree rather than uncivilised bullying sarcastic posts. Muslims have problems but once Muslim countries have representative governments we will see the results all Muslims have waited for for nearly 2 centuries now. This myth of Hindu majority India being inhertors of Mughals and Pakistani Muslims and their ancestors not having a history before 1947 are Indian lies which only they believe. You guys revel in calling Pakistanis uneducated. I think the penny has finally dropped that Pakistanis can also be educated. Lol

          • Headstrong

            ‘Muslims have problems but once Muslim countries have representative governments we will see the results all Muslims have waited for for nearly 2 centuries now’
            That is true for pretty much every country around the world. Many countries have glorious pasts, unstable present and uncertain futures.

            ‘This myth of Hindu majority India being inhertors of Mughals and Pakistani Muslims and their ancestors not having a history before 1947 are Indian lies which only they believe’
            Pakistan not having a history before ’47 is as much a lie as Mughals being only Pakistan’s legacy.

            ‘You guys revel in calling Pakistanis uneducated’
            You said it, not me 😉 I believe I rued the fact that, in spite of being educated, your sort are no different from the fringe.

        • PewPew

          IMO by that line of thought the Mughals have as little to with modern India – i.e. formed out of the British Empire in 1947 – than Pakistan (likewise as modern India). The residual heritage of legacy India cannot be claimed by either India or Pakistan, both of which owe their existence as modern nation states to the goodwill of the British.

          • Headstrong

            I stand corrected. My comment should have read –
            ‘the Mughal heritage remains Indian also’
            There’s a history here to help you get the context. You see, people such as ‘Steve’ believe that because Mughals ruled over parts of India for centuries, and because Mughals were Muslims, that translated to ‘Pakistan’ having ruled over ‘India’ for centuries. I have argued in the past that given that the Mughal era was a shared history, and that India has at least as many Muslims as Pakistan who rejected partition and chose to stay in India, the Mughals were ‘Indian’ too. After all, except for babur, all other Mughal rulers were very much ‘Indian’. That is pretty much the view in India, notwithstanding the loony fringe. Unfortunately, that doesn’t gel with the world view of people like ‘Steve’.
            Hence my comment…

          • PewPew

            I see your point. But I should point out that for centuries prior to the Mughal entry, the regions approximating Pakistan did belong to the authority of other Islamic empires – e.g. the Ummayad Caliphate, Abbasid Caliphate and then the Farsi Muslim governorates, etc. Ironically, perhaps, a time where that region stood somewhat alone and distinguishably was under the Delhi Sultanate. However, I agree that Pakistan can’t claim that as its own exclusively, it on one hand ignores the Arab and Farsi connection, and on the other, the gradual nativism to legacy India.

    • PewPew

      To be fair to the situation, there are scarcely few Muslim majority countries governed by political leaderships that truly represent the people.

      So while the ruling class or elites of these countries, esp. KSA, hold other Muslim peoples in contempt, the KSA et. al leadership doesn’t represent the people. Moreover, no more than 2-3 Muslim societies (if that many) have had representative leaderships for a long enough time to establish if the societies are ambivalent to one another.

      It’s counter-intuitive in a sense because while the governments will work to maintain dividing lines, you will have many instances where society – when directed to care for the so-called ‘Ummah’ – will respond positively. See: the widespread recruiting for the Afghan Mujahideen, Chechan and Bosnian causes, and even to an extent Syria as examples. So we can deduce, at least in part, that when the governments wish to undertake such activities, diverse Muslim societies can respond. Even in the case of the Rohingya, you’d be hard pressed to find a Muslim people reject the cause or not care, yet the governments conveniently ignore or dampen the issue.

      • Headstrong

        To an extent, you’re right. You’re drawing a distinction between the rulers and the Muslim peoples, which may be true as far as it goes.
        However, the larger point I was making is that the ‘Ummah’ is deeply divided even on sectarian grounds. Therefore you have the Sunni-Shia divide. You have the Ahmediyas declared as non-Muslims, which is overwhelmingly supported within Pakistan. You have the predominantly Sunni ISIS creating havoc even within predominantly Muslim countries. I could go on.
        On the other hand, you have Muslim countries with an overwhelming number of people who are friendlier to non-Muslim countries than their Muslim neighbours. Afghanistan and Bangladesh come to mind.
        The point I was making is that this religious unity is a myth. Certainly in the long run. I’d say the call of tribalism (of sorts) has a far greater pull.

        • Steve

          Shia/Sunni disputes are a LOT less than Catholic/Protestant for instance historically speaking, or your treatment of Dalits, O symbol of modernity and tolerance lol. Ahmedis are universally thought of as a seperate sect at best for a variety of reasons. Does not mean that they are not respected Pakistani citizens with equal rights, if they live in Pakistan. ISIS is universally thought of as a partly Zionist construct to sow discord, religious nutcases going to join them notwithstanding. Recent recorded events appear strange at best, and clear evidence of the above at worst. Religious unity sustained muslims for hundreds of years. Ottoman Turkey, Safavid Persia and Mughal India were the 3 Muslim “gunpowder” states for hundreds of years in the middle and early modern age, and were by and large peaceful with each other despite having contiguous borders for a longer period than the British empire was an entity. History is diverse and many examples can be pulled out. That’s not an excuse for disingenuous sweeping stereotypical statements from a non-Muslim.

          • Headstrong

            Welcome to the 21st century, ‘Steve’. And thank you for so eloquently (not!) backing up everything I said 😉 – even though you have posted some wholly, factually incorrect statements. For example, Ahmedis are by no stretch of the imagination ‘citizens with equal rights’. I’ve met quite a few here and have gained a fair degree of insight of what they go through. For the five million Ahmadis in Pakistan, religious persecution has been particularly severe and systematic. Pakistan remains the only state to have officially declared that Ahmadis are non-Muslims. Pakistani laws prohibit the Ahmadis from identifying themselves as Muslims, and their freedom of religion has been curtailed by a series of ordinances, Acts and constitutional amendments. When applying for a Pakistani passport, Pakistanis are required to declare that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was an impostor prophet and his followers are non-Muslims. I hasten to add that Pakistan is not the only country to discriminate between its own citizens, with the Dalits being subjected to similar atrocities in India being another notable example. However, it must also be noted that Pakistan is a rare case where such discrimination is state sanctioned and supported by the majority.

            That said, we can now all cordially agree that the days of ‘religious unity’ are well behind us and it’s every tribe/ nation for itself.

          • Steve

            Declaring someone is this or that in Ahmedi’s context is a religious debate which has made its way into legislation in a democratic way (“largest” democracy anyone!) and does not amount to persecution. OTOH Dalits have been subjected to thousands of years to institutional religiously sanctioned discrimination and oppression and it is a central pillar of the Hindu religion. Even now almost daily Dalits mostly men are being murdered for daring to go out with an ‘upper caste’ woman. It’s like ‘love jihad’, and don’t know why Indians are so insecure in these personal matters. Ahmedi’s are not being subjected to the level of discrimination you are disingenuously bleating about apart from declaring something in applications and appointments for clarity. Religious minorities are protected by legislation and security agencies in Pakistan, enemies propaganda notwithstanding. Your experience of “meeting” Ahmedi’s means nothing and is not a valid survey. Your agenda is to malign Pakistan in every way possible and we all know it. Alliances based on common religion are a reality and loudly declaring you have ‘won’ and ‘exposed’ anyone after some intellectually weak arguments is a favourite Indian tactic and fools only Indian public and nobody else. Therefore mr headstrong we will take your incorrect biased assertions with a truckload of salt!

          • Headstrong

            Considering the number of times you’ve brought in anecdotal evidence in this forum,’Steve’, it’s ironic that you’re disavowing it now 😉
            The systematic persecution of Ahmadis, wholly backed by the state and the people of Pakistan is a fact, notwithstanding your protestations. The Second Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan and Ordinance XX declare Ahmadis to be non-Muslims and deprive them of religious rights. As a result, Ahmadis are prohibited the use of any honorific titles and modes of address deemed specific to the Islamic community such as the greeting “As-salamu alaykum” (peace be upon you), reciting the Six Kalimas or the shahada (declaring belief in the oneness of God and the prophethood of Muhammad) etc., from building mosques and calling the Adhan (call to prayer), from undertaking Muslim modes of worship, from worshipping in non-Ahmadi mosques or public prayer rooms, and from making any citations from the Quran and Muhammad’s hadith. Punishment for anyone convicted of doing any of the above is imprisonment of up to three years and a fine.
            While the historic discrimination against Dalits is a fact, there is no equivalent law encouraging such discrimination in India. On the contrary, there is legislation against discrimination against Dalits. Equivalence between the two is non-existent, precisely because one state encourages the discrimination and has passed laws to buttress the discrimination, while the other attempts to end such discrimination. The only Pakistani Nobel laureate, Abdus Salam, left Pakistan in protest against the treatment meted out to Ahmadis, while in India, Dalits have risen to the post of President!
            Religious alliances may have worked in the past, but they do not work today. If they did, the entire Muslim world should have been united with Pakistan against India. We all know where that issue stands. Similarly, Israel should have been ostracised continually by the Islamic world. Again, the core of the Islamic world (which does not include Pakistan, sadly) deals on a regular basis with Israel, openly as well as clandestinely.
            Hope you like your meals well laced with salt 😉

          • Steve

            It’s very pleasing to know that the Ahmedis gave a good supporter in mr headstrong. Why don’t you ask the Modi to declare support for them too from the ramparts for the fort built by OUR ancestors. Of course the whole world knows your motives are purely altruistic and nothing to do with your declared aim of undermining Pakistan. Good luck but it won’t work lol.

        • PewPew

          Well if we are looking in terms of Sunni, Shia and Ahmadi, then that alone categorizes the Muslim world into sufficiently large blocs, especially the Sunni. The idea of disunity at that level is a moot point if even several large Sunni majority countries can pair together, which they have at various points in history (thus often giving some “precedence” for Muslims to refer back to when asking for unity in the first place!) . As for “overwhelming number of people” I’m not sure on what basis you came to that conclusion if the “overwhelming number of people” in Muslim majority countries hardly have a say in determining the foreign policies of their respective countries. On the one hand, these Muslim governments can manage to stir pro-Ummah public opinion when it comes to recruiting diverse swaths of people for militant groups to fight in far-flung places, and then on the other hand, they can kill the idea of the Ummah by preventing national discourse on Rohingya, CAR, etc.

          • Headstrong

            Again, I see where you’re coming from. But you will note that the original point being made was of ‘Muslim unity’, which I disputed. And hence my theory of a more tribal, clannish loyalty.
            As far as the ‘overwhelming number of people’ is concerned, you would note the examples I had cited. The ‘overwhelming number of people’ and their government in these cases happen to be on the same page.

          • PewPew

            I disagree on them being on the same page. Tens of thousands (at minimum) died since 2012 in Syria fighting against the Bashar al-Assad regime. Sisi removed a popularly elected MB gov’t and then moved to take out MB. You’re not going to get much in the way of open discourse and public opinion mattering in those countries unless the governments want it to happen (e.g. when they whip up public support for specific issues in specific periods). The fact that despite the top-down control there can be political groups (e.g. MB and others) that call for the Ummah and in turn get some reception from public opinion suggests that the populations in those countries are disposed to the idea. If structurally governed – and in turn educated and influenced (by the media, politicians, popular voices, etc) – that way, I wouldn’t bet against the call for unity and the like.

          • Headstrong

            Syria and Egypt are not the examples I had referred to

          • PewPew

            I can only find Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

            Afghanistan: it’s a warzone wherein the central authority’s legitimacy is in great dispute by local actors. Said authority draws its power from the US, which is effectively just an occupier. The main media voices come from Kabul, not sure if a clear conclusion of public opinion can be drawn there.

            Bangladesh: it’s a competitive authoritarian state. The winning party levels a high level of aggression against the loser after elections. Again, I am not sure if the people’s attitudes in that context are reflective of their disposition.

          • Headstrong

            Read the context, PewPew. If Muslim unity were indeed a reality, both Afghanistan and Bangladesh would be closer to Pakistan than India (non-Muslim, but with a sizeable Muslim population). However, that is not the case – both in terms of the government as well as that of the people.
            This is but one example

          • PewPew

            Let’s say those populations are closer to India, I will still contend that this reality is a by-product of the governing structure (which does not represent the people). States educate populations. States influence populations. States manufacture and shape public opinion.

            These states, specifically the governments ruling them (or in Afghanistan, claiming to do so with the backing of an occupier), are preventing the populations from their disposition of being pro-Ummah. Likewise for Pakistan, in which you might see more of that talk, but the leadership establishment has acted contrary to those wishes.

            Sure, there won’t be unity from end-to-end of the Muslim majority lands, but if enough of these countries were governed by their respective populations and not despots, then large groupings akin to those of the past are plausible.

          • Steve

            Your mental tricks won’t work here so give it a rest. Afghanistan government is a American gift of the Indian-lover Northern alliance to you, brought in and installed by force. B’desh is led by that Indian agent Hasina who is busy judicially murdering her opponents. Don’t equate these idiots with the people. Rest assured it will not always be so.

          • Steve

            Sir this guy is known troll and specialises in trying to undermine and vilify Pakistan in every way possible. From its very existence to its current affairs..typical Indian internet troll possibly paid to do this work. He does not care if he is intellectually dishonest and is driven only by hatred of Pakistan. He does tend to repeat himself ad nauseum when he runs out of things to say as is evident on this particular page. You’re wasting your time lol.

  • Headstrong

    When you say Muslim countries have a shared interest, you presume the shared interest due to the commonality in religion. Else there’s nothing in common, going purely by your comment. Hence my comment.

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