The city of Iqbal, Sialkot is the largest manufacturer of footballs around the world. It may not be the largest city of Pakistan in terms of population but it sure is in terms of exports. Sialkot accounts for more than 70 % of sports manufacturing in the entire world and 9 % of the total exports of Pakistan. It is due to the quality of the goods and the determination of the manufacturers that many developed countries import surgical instruments and sports goods from Pakistan.
The secret of the export boom of Sialkot lies behind the hard work and expertise of local workers and the businessmen. The entrepreneurs of Sialkot believe in maintaining high-quality standards to compete with the potential global competitors like China, India and Japan. This is the reason why Adidas chose Sialkot as one of two manufacturers for manufacturing the “Brazuca” balls for 2014 FIFA World cup in South Africa.
Right now, it dominates the world exports in three sectors; Sports goods, leather goods and surgical instruments
In 2015 the exports of Sialkot rose from 1.8 billion to 2 billion after they utilized their full energies. They excelled in the exports of all kinds of sports gear starting from cricket bat to judo kits.
In 2015, the president of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) President Maj (r) Mansur Ahmed praised the efforts of local businessmen saying:
Sialkot exporters had ever remained in the quest for the best. They utilized their energies with full devotion, dedication, determination, enthusiasm with complete peace of mind for enhancing the Sialkot exports. The exporters of Sialkot are the “Roaming Ambassadors of Pakistan”, who travel all around the world to fetch business and with their personal efforts, the export earnings of Sialkot stand at US $ 2 billion annually, besides, playing a pivotal role in strengthening the national economy and boosting the national exports as well.
He also mentioned some of the other exports of Sialkot on international level,
The best cricket and hockey players of the world prefer to use Sialkot-Pakistan made cricket bats and hockey sticks. Most of the developed countries are importing surgical instruments from Sialkot-Pakistan for the re-export purposes under their own brand name. In leather products, textiles and sports wears, the Sialkot competes with other garments
However, there were many hiccups in the journey to success of Sialkot as the exports went down many times due to political and social instability in Pakistan. Electricity shortage, security threats and corruption were some of the many challenges Sialkot had to face like the rest of the Pakistan but it somehow stood its ground.
The businessmen of Sialkot took up the responsibility of stabilizing the infrastructure themselves rather than depending on the political situation of Pakistan to get better. Sialkot also has the only private airport of Pakistan that helps foreign investors get their without travelling from Lahore. The entire success story of Sialkot from the days of independence until now is mesmerizing and motivational for all other entrepreneurs to look up to.