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Friday, May 17, 2024

Quality Flavors asks Prime Minister to fix Allama Iqbal Industrial City

CEO of a food company, based in Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC), has written to PM Imran Khan asking for protection against organised harassment and bhatta khori. PM may take notice because this is Pakistan's premier CPEC linked Special Economic Zone inaugurated by the PM in Jan, 2020.

Faizan Ahmed Dogar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Quality Flavors (Pvt) Ltd, a company based in Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC), has demanded that PM Imran Khan and CM Punjab should take notice of the harassment being suffered by the investors like him inside Allama Iqbal Industrial City and streamline its affairs to attract and facilitate investors.

This will become a matter of concern for Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) because Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC) is the first SEZ linked with CPEC that has taken off and was inaugurated by PM Imran Khan in January 2020.

Global Village Space (GVS) has seen a letter written by Quality Flavors, AIIC, to Prime Minister Imran Khan, in which CEO Faizan Ahmed Dogar has informed PM of the intimidation tactics involving use of fire arms by a group of contractors inside Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC). CEO Quality Flavours has demanded PM to act to streamline affairs inside the Special Economic Zone (SEZ). These affairs, according to the letter sent to the PM, relate mostly to how the “earth filling of the plots” is taking place in a clandestine fashion by a designated group of contractors and how the contractors are blackmailing and harassing the investors for illegal moneys.

CEO’s letter, now on Prime Minister’s Citizen’s Portal provides details of repeated attacks against the business premises involving the use of firearms. It also complains that initially Punjab Police has been slow to react. However sources inform GVS that after a tweet by Editor Global Village Space, Punjab Police has taken strict action and has deployed itself with serious force to prevent the business premises.


Details of the Attack against Quality Flavor

Quality Flavor’s letter to the PM has made several serious allegations regarding how the industrial state is being run. It has been endorsed to Transparency International, Chairman CPEC Authority and to Secretary Industries. It also provides graphic details of the attacks by goons of a local contractor. The unfortunate developments bring a bad name to country’ first SEZ linked with CPEC. Industrial City, located on M3, near Sahinawalla Interchange, near Faislabad was inaugurated by PM in January 2020. SEZ has huge potential for investors from China, Middle East, Pakistan and from across the world.

According to the letter, men of a local influential contractor, that was demanding illegal moneys, had occupied the 15 acre (120 Kanal) premises of Quality Flavors but on Thursday, the Quality flavors with the help of its security staff gained the plot back and called the police for security; but the police did not respond.

On Friday at 1 AM, the builder sent gunmen who attacked the industrial unit’s site from three sides. The security staff of Quality Flavors responded and Punjab Police finally arrived that made attackers run away.

Water Logging: Challenge for Allama Iqbal Industrial City 

Quality Flavors have demanded the PM to order inquiry and punish the perpetrators. Their complaint has also raised questions about the safety and security of investments at AIIC, a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Major problem appears to be with the nature of most plots that appear to suffer from water logging. This problem has been compounded due to massive diggings in the area during the construction of M3 Motorway. These digging have created deep depressions in many plots. And these depressions get filled with water due to water logging. Apparently, according to the sources in the area, water table is very high and a mere 8-10 feet digging can reach water table. All this demands special management and strategies by FIEDMC. Given newer technologies now available this is not something to which a solution can not be found. However this demands professional focus from FIEDMC.

The previous CEO of FIEDMC, Aamer Saleemi, had promised industrial units, like Quality Flavor, that FIEDMC will fill these deep pits and it was promptly done by bringing in additional mud and soil. However Aamer Saleemi has recently left to join as CEO, Islamabad Special Technology Zone (STZ) headed by Amir Hashmi as Chairman. STZ is trying to attract US $100 million for technology investments within the next 4-5 years. Now, Quality Flavour’s complaint to the PM, alleges that the contractors at AIIMC are demanding cash payments from the industrial units. And when units, like QF, refuse then harassment follows. Given the importance of Allama Iqbal Industrial City as a CPEC linked SEZ PM Office and CPEC Authority will have to intervene and take actions to improve the internal workings of AIIMC and to safeguard the image and reputation of this important SEZ.

Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC)

Allama Iqbal Industrial City, which is one of the nine SEZs to be built in Pakistan under CPEC is being developed by FIEDMC – which is a Public Private Partnership like PIEDMC in Punjab. The SEZs are referred to as the lifelines of Pakistan’s industrial development as once operational, these can provide hundreds and thousands of new jobs. Creating new jobs is an important political consideration for PM Imran Khan and his government.

Read More: FIEDMC: Allama Iqbal Industrial City is closer to completion

This SEZ was inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan in January 2020. Addressing the ground-breaking ceremony of the Allam Iqbal Industrial City, he said that Pakistan needs to have intensive industrialization for wealth creation. He further stated that the problem of unemployment can’t be solved by the agriculture-based economy of the country and that the industries need to take up this responsibility.

Allama Iqbal City is spread over 3217 acres of land and strategically located just opposite M-3 Industrial City. Both M3 Industrial City and Allama Iqbal Industrial City are connected to M4 Motorway Sahianwala Interchange. FIEDMC, headed by its young chairman, Mian Kashif Ashfaq, of the Chen One Group, believes that within one to two years, several more companies would set up there which would significantly increase national exports. Mian Kashif has been working hard to achieve this goal. Already many national and international companies – including automobile giants – now consider AIIC as their home.