🇵🇰 Sialkot is a city in Punjab, Pakistan. It is the capital city of Sialkot District. It is Pakistan's 13th most populous city and is located in north-east Punjab—one of Pakistan's most industrialised regions. Along with the nearby cities of Gujranwala and Gujrat, Sialkot forms part of the so-called "Golden Triangle" of industrial cities with export-oriented economies. Through exports, Sialkot-based industries are obtaining foreign exchange to more than $2.5 billion annually to strengthen the national exchequer.
Sialkot is believed to be the site of ancient Sagala, a city razed by Alexander the Great in 326 BCE, and then made capital of the Indo-Greek kingdom by Menander I in the 2nd century BCE—a time during which the city greatly prospered as a major centre for trade and Buddhist thought. Sialkot was a major political centre, and rose again in prominence during the British era, and is now one of Pakistan's most important industrial centres.
Sialkot is wealthy relative to other cities in South Asia, with an estimated 2014 per capita income of $2,800. The city has been noted by The Economist for its entrepreneurial spirit, and productive business climate that have made Sialkot an example of a small Pakistani city that has emerged as a "world-class manufacturing hub." The relatively small city exported approximately $2 billion worth of goods in 2015, or about 10% of Pakistan's total exports. The city produces over half of the world's footballs.
250,000 residents are employed in Sialkot's industries, with most enterprises in the city being small and funded by family savings. Sialkot's Chamber of Commerce had over 6,500 members in 2010, with most active in the leather, sporting goods, and surgical instruments industry. The Sialkot Dry Port offers local producers quick access to Pakistani Customs, as well as to logistics and transportation.
Despite being cut off from its historic economic heartland in Kashmir, Sialkot has managed to position itself into one of Pakistan's most prosperous cities, exporting up to 10% of all Pakistani exports. Its sporting goods firms have been particularly successful, and have produced items for global brands such as Nike, Adidas, Reebok, and Puma. Balls for the 2014 FIFA World Cup were made in Sialkot.
Sialkot's business community largely funded the Sialkot International Airport as Pakistan's first privately owned public airport, which now offers direct flights from Sialkot to Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Sialkot is also the only city in Pakistan to have its very own commercial airline, Airsial. This airline is managed by the business community of Sialkot based at the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industries. As of now, Airsial operates domestic flights and plan to go international in 2–3 years.
Industry Sialkot is the world's largest producer of hand-sewn footballs, with local factories manufacturing 40–60 million footballs a year, amounting to roughly 60% of world production. The 2014 FIFA World Cup's footballs were made by Forward Sports, a company based in Sialkot. Clustering of sports goods industrial units has allowed for firms in Sialkot to become highly specialised, and to benefit from joint action and external economies. There is a well-applied child labour ban, the Atlanta Agreement, and the local industry now funds the Independent Monitoring Association for Child Labour to regulate factories.
Sialkot is also the world's largest centre of surgical instrument manufacturing. Sialkot was first noted to be a centre of metalwork in the 1890s, and the city's association with surgical instruments came from the need to repair, and subsequently manufacture, surgical instruments for the nearby Mission hospital. By the 1920s, surgical instruments were being manufactured for use throughout British India, with demand boosted by further by World War II.
The city's surgical instrument manufacturing industry benefits from a clustering effect, in which larger manufacturers remain in close contact with smaller and specialised industries that can efficiently perform contracted work. The industry is made up of a few hundred small and medium size enterprises, supported by thousands of subcontractors, suppliers, and those providing other ancillary services. The bulk of exports are destined for the United States and European Union.
Sialkot first became a centre for sporting goods manufacturing during the colonial era. Enterprises were initially inaugurated for the recreation of British troops stationed along the North West Frontier. Nearby timber reserves served to initially allure the industry to Sialkot. The city's Muslim craftsmen generally manufactured the goods, while Sikh and Hindu merchants of the Sindhi Bania, Arora, and Punjabi Khatri castes acted like middle men to bring goods to market. Sialkot now produces a wide array of sporting goods, including footballs and hockey sticks, cricket gear, gloves that are used in international games comprising the Olympics and World Cups.
Sialkot is also noted for its leather goods. Leather for footballs is sourced from nearby farms, while Sialkot's leather workers craft some of Germany's most prized leather lederhosen trousers.
Sialkot also has a large share in the agricultural sector. It predominantly produces Basmati rice varieties, wheat and sugarcane. It contains of 3,015 km sq, at least 642,624 acres is under cultivation. Potato and sunflower were evident among the minor crops of the district.
Highways A dual-carriageway connects Sialkot to the nearby city of Wazirabad, with onward connections throughout Pakistan via the N-5 National Highway, while another dual carriageway connects Sialkot to Daska, and onwards to Gujranwala and Lahore. Sialkot and Lahore are also connected through the motorway M11.
Rail The Sialkot Junction railway station is the city's main railway station and is serviced by the Wazirabad–Narowal Branch Line of the Pakistan Railways. The Allama Iqbal Express travels daily from Sialkot to Karachi via Lahore, and then back to Sialkot. Air
Sialkot International Airport The Sialkot International Airport is located about 20 km from the centre of the city near Sambrial. It was established in 2007 by spending 4 billion rupees by Sialkot business community. It is Pakistan's only privately owned public airport, and offers flights throughout Pakistan, with also direct flights to Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, France, the UK and Spain.
Siālkot was ranked #1318 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Siālkot has a population of over 655,852 people.