ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is assisting the Government of Punjab to build sustainable and livable mid-level cities by upgrading basic infrastructure and services.
This includes, according to an ADB handout, Sialkot — a thriving business hub known for manufacturing footballs and high-quality surgical instruments.
ADB’s support for urban development is helping boost Sialkot’s competitiveness, create jobs, and improve the quality of life in the city, it said.
The city manufactures over 70% of the world’s footballs.
“If you have ever played football, chances are the ball was made in Sialkot in Pakistan,” the handout said.
The city is also the source of footballs for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar.
Khwaja Masood Akhtar, Chairman of Forward Group and Sialkot International Airport Limited (SIAL) said: “We have international customers. They come to see our factory, and for business meetings. Therefore, it is very important that the infrastructure of the city like roads, railways, airports, and dry ports, should be up to mark”.
It was highlighted that the ADB is helping develop growing cities like Sialkot so public services can meet rising demand.
“Water infrastructure is being upgraded for reliable supply, while sewerage and sanitation systems are also being rehabilitated,” it said adding, “With the ADB’s help, over 450 tons of solid waste is effectively collected every day and communities are taught better waste management”.
Farkhanda Ishtiaq, a social activist from Sialkot said: “We learned about solid waste management at home. It was very beneficial for me as I learned how I can segregate my kitchen waste”.
Parks, footpaths, and terminals in the city are now more accessible, with clean toilets and well-lit walkways, it added.
Rabia Ahad, a Sialkot resident, said children used to play in a very congested environment at home, but now they were very relaxed.