Allama Iqbal Industrial City: Pakistan’s First CPEC Special Economic Zone

Since its inauguration, it has already secured investment commitments of US $1.03 billion against industrial projects that will be spread over 583 acres.


Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC) is strategically located at Sahianwala interchange on M4, near Faisalabad, is Pakistan’s first CPEC linked Special Economic Zone (SEZ) inaugurated by PM of Pakistan, Imran Khan on Jan 3, 2010. It is one of the three “Prioritized SEZs” in CPEC-II. Since its inauguration, it has already secured investment commitments of US $1.03 billion against industrial projects that will be spread over 583 acres. AIIC is spread over 3317 acres of land (almost 13 sq. Km) meant for integrated industrial use.

According to sources nearly 1000 acres have been committed to external and internal investors – no mean achievement given the fact that Pakistan along with the region and whole world had been facing an economic recession due to corona pandemic from February 2020 onwards. The structural development activities had quickly started syncing with the inauguration.

Read more: How Punjab is gearing up for CPEC Phase-II, Mian Aslam Iqbal explains

FIEDMC sources inform that access roads, main boulevard, entrance gates and boundary wall are in the process of completion – boundary wall is almost 33% done which is impressive given that AIIC spreads over 13 square kilometers. FIEDMC projects, since its launch in 2004 as a public-private partnership have been received well by the business community due to their international standard master planning, state of the art industrial infrastructure and customer services.

In order to enhance facilitation for investors and further improve service delivery, concepts of one window operation and key account managers are being introduced. FIEDMC top management lead by Chairman Mian Muhammad Kashif Ashfaq and COO Aamer Saleemi is confident that AIIC will attract more than Rs. 357 Billion investment and is likely to provide 300,000 job opportunities.

FIEDMC Appreciates Government Help

FIEDMC’s current Chairman, Mian Kashif Ashfaq and CEO Aamer Saleemi both are very grateful for the help their organization has continuously received from both the Federal government and Punjab government. Mian Kashif especially appreciates the support given by the Prime Minister and his directions that expedited the structural and logistic support from federal government departments.


Mr Saleemi explained while talking to GVS, that “the speed at which gas, electricity and other facilities have been provided to this large industrial estate would not have been possible without continuous support and interest of the federal government from the very top.”

FIEDMC: Successful model of Public-Private Partnership

FIEDMC is the largest Special Economic Zone (SEZ) development company in Pakistan. Its journey of success started in the year 2004 with the development of its pilot project of Value Addition City (VAT) SEZ near the textile hub of Khurrianwala, Faisalabad. VAT caters the need of small and medium enterprises and spread over 225 acres of land and has attracted more than Rs. 15 Billion investment and has created more than 100,000 direct and indirect job opportunities.

Read more: Strengthening Cooperation in Trade, Industry: Leveraging CPEC to Double Textile Exports

The company initiated its second project, “M-3 Industrial City” in 2009, which has the distinction of being the largest Special Economic Zone of Pakistan spread over 4315 acres of land. This gigantic project caters the needs of medium to large scale industries and is a place of choice for the Chinese as well as other foreign investors.

M-3 Industrial City SEZ has attracted more than $1 billion foreign direct investment and more than Rs. 50 billion investment by the local industrialists. It is expected that, with maturity, it will attract more than Rs. 450 billion investment and will create 350,000 job opportunities.

Due to its track record of success in the creation and management of SEZs, FIEDMC was entrusted by the Government for the development of Pakistan’s first Special Economic Zone under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor by the name of Allama Iqbal Industrial City.



AIIC has been planned on 3317 acres of land and is connected through motorway M4 in the north to Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and in the south to Multan, Karachi Port and Gwadar. In order to further improve the accessibility of AIIC and M-3 Industrial City, Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has very kindly approved multi-million Rupee up-gradation project of connectivity roads around these SEZs.

Agro-Industrial City

FIEDMC buoyed by its successes has recently taken another initiative for the establishment of Pakistan’s first agriculture-based industrial city “Agro City Toba Tek Singh”. This can be considered as Phase-II of AIIC. Toba-Tek Singh, Punjab’s city, immortalized by the writings of Urdu novelist and playwright, Sadaat Hassan Manto, is also known for its agriculture and horticultural base; it is connected through motorway M-4 and connects in north and south with all major cities of Punjab.

Read more: Ghias Khan: Engro’s vision under CPEC for energy & agriculture

Agro-Industrial City will host value-added industry like food and beverages, seed processing, citrus polishing and packaging, fertilizers, pesticides, meat processing and agriculture machinery. The zone is planned on 1500 acres of land and has been and will be developed in a phased manner.

FIEDMC: Vision of Integrated Business City

Jafza, Dubai, is world’s largest free zone; it is spread over 57 square kilometres on both sides of Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, and is accessible via road, and the Danube and UAE Exchange stations of the Dubai Metro Red Line. More than 7,000 global companies are based in Jafza. FIEDMC’s scope may be limited, but its inspiration for an integrated economic zone (SEZ) is coming from Jafza.

With this vision and inspiration, FIEDMC intends to create a fully integrated economic zone, (connecting its industrial cities) in AIIC and M3 Industrial City complete with business zone, country club, Expo & convention center, techno-parks, hi-tech Parks and Establishment of Institute of Quality and Management. Table B presents this vision for a quick glance.

Allama Iqbal Industrial City

FIEDM Business Zone at AIIC is planned over 200 acres of land which includes an Expo Center, Shopping Malls, 5 Star Hotel, retails outlets, skill development center and housing apartments. A FIEDMC Techno Park is to promote electro-medical technology industry in the country. Ministry of Science & Technology and FIEDMC have joined hands together for the establishment of state-of-the-art Techno Park on 200 acres of land.

The industries set up in this zone will get preferred approvals from the various authorities. FIEDMC has planned an Expo Center over 50 acres of land. This initiative will help in boosting the trade activities in the region and provide a platform to the business community to display their products to the international buyers.

This stateof-the-art Expo and convention center will cater to exhibitions, conferences, trade shows and corporate event. To bolster information technology and IT-enabled services, Government of Pakistan has introduced special incentives.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Planning minister Asad Umar explains how CPEC focus has shifted

A complete ecosystem will be provided characterized by quality infrastructure, collaboration with universities, industries and research institution and business incubation facilities to resident startups. This park will play a pivotal role in engendering economic activities, creating jobs and increasing exports. Finally, a state-of-the-art institute of quality and management will be set up in the SEZ in collaboration with Punjab University.

Initially, the institute will introduce Health and Safety Standards, International Standards Certification, Environment of Quality Standards, Maintenance of Industrial Floor, Home Appliances Standards, Specific Standards of Electronics, Integrated Courses and Certification. A memorandum of understanding will also be signed to enhance cooperation between FIEDMC and Punjab University.

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