Loss of Opportunities in the Land of Opportunities

By: Sarah Eleazar

‘At the time of independence Pakistan had something around two and a half textile mills; a small unit at Lahore and one in Faisalabad. We decided to shift production to Multan as Faisalabad would be too big for two textile mills.’ Thus began Mian Mughees A Sheikh’s personal account of the historical political and socioeconomic conditions prevalent in Pakistan’s nascent years when industries first began agglomerate in the predominantly agro based economy of Pakistan. The current state of the textile sector, once Pakistan’s industrial forte is festering and fizzling away due to unbridled malfeasance by pencil pushers in a dysfunctional system set in place by self serving individuals.

Lyallpur was home to Delhi Cloth Mills of Sir Sri Ram before independence, when Colony Textiles was set up in 1945. The first three textile mills to go into production in West Pakistan were Kohinoor in Faisalabad, Colony in Multan and Valika in Karachi. Initially the 15,00,000 bales of cotton produced in Pakistan were considered sufficient to meet local demand; this volume has now swelled to over 15 million bales now with textiles accounting for 55% of total export proceeds of the country. [1]It took Pakistan ten to fifteen years to establish a foothold in this sector before it began exporting textile products abroad.

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