On April 5th, 2011, Bonhams placed for auction, a portrait of Emperor Jahangir labelled as “The largest known Mughal portrait attributed to Abu’l Hasan, Nadir al-Zaman painted at Mandu, dated AH 1026/AD 1617”, and later sold it for £ 1,420,000 to a Middle Eastern museum. The portrait depicts Emperor Jahangir sitting on a European style thrown, holding a celestial globe. Celestial globes (a representation of stars and constellations as they are located on the apparent sphere of the sky) were initially developed by Greeks and later spread to other parts of the world. The initial evidence of such globes in India, some historians argue, have been found during early times of Mughal kingdom when King Humayun brought one of such products to India from Iran. This celestial globe, that appeared in the painting, was manufactured by a renowned metallurgist of that time. In 1980, Professor Emilie Savage-Smith (historian of Islamic science at Oriental institute, Oxford University) conducted research on the history of celestial globes in the Middle East; and came across a few such globes which were originally manufactured in Lahore. She observed the unique feature of globes cast in Lahore than those cast in other regions. This unique feature was the hollow seamless casting product (made by investment casting technique) instead of seamed ones usually available at that time. The craftsmen of Lahore were not only experts of this casting method but also ahead of their counterparts at that time. Sarma, Ansari and Kulkarni (1993) listed the names of known metallurgists of Mughal era in their paper ‘Two Mughal Celestial Globes’ published in Indian Journal of History of Science. The authors include the names of Muhamd Salih of Thatta, Ali Kashmiri, Qiam Muhammad and his son Diyaal Din as the most prominent craftsmen during the Mughal reign. The product Jahangir holds and appeared in this portrait is assumed to be made by either Muhammad Salih or Ali Kashmiri. Ali Kashmiri is known as the pioneer of manufacturing such metallurgical masterpieces in India during Emperor Akbar’s reign; while Muhammad Salih produced most of these castings in the eras of Emperor Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Celestial globes were initially developed by Greeks and later spread to other parts of the world. The initial evidence of such globes in India, some historians argue, have been found during the early Mughal era when King Humayun brought one of such products to India from Iran These Celestial Globes shed light on the manufacturing history in India. The foundry business began to surface in Northern India and being the major city in this region, Lahore was at the centre of this initial industrialisation. Why this city, Lahore, became the central point of manufacturing in Mughal rule is a question that comes to mind. One reason for it being the centre might have something to do with the availability of foundry clay or casting clay, deposits of which were found in Batala, a town located about 100 km from Lahore. Thus, we can assume that the availability of raw material and the craftsmanship of Ali Kashmiri and Muhammad Salih made Lahore the manufacturing city for these casting products — first of its kind in India. Batala and Lahore have some special connections when it comes to manufacturing of the products. Batala served as a source of raw material to establish small scale foundries in its own premises and in the urban Lahore situated nearby. The other one is the Batala engineering company (BECO) established by Chaudhry M. Latif (a Mechanical engineering graduate from Maclagan Engineering College, now the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore) in 1932 in Batala. This company flourished in a record time and was one of the leading suppliers of steel products to British army during the WWII. After partition, in 1947, Ch. M Latif left behind his industry, migrated to Lahore, and once again established this company from scratch in Badami Bagh, Lahore. BECO was later expanded exponentially and shifted to Kot Lakhpat area of Lahore. It was Pakistan’s leading engineering brand until its nationalisation in 1972. Heads of the states from China, Korea, Jordan and other countries used to visit this engineering facility during their formal visits to Pakistan. With such a rich historical background in manufacturing and engineering, Lahore has somehow lost this aspect of prominence. Although it still holds three large industrial states within its premises and adjacent areas, the hallmark manufacturing and engineering outlook of the city have been dismally diminished. Many initiatives have been taken and efforts are underway to rehabilitate the manufacturing base of Pakistan — the most important indicator of GDP growth. The recent 7th Joint cooperation committee on CPEC has agreed to initiate work on first phase of special economic zones. These economic zones are supposed to host light manufacturing industries to fulfil the needs of country’s domestic market, which are currently being met mostly from Chinese and European imports. But what about the already existing Industrial zones in the country? The Sheikhupura, Quaid-e-Azam and Sundur industrial states in Lahore have hundreds of industries struggling to survive against energy crisis and cheap Chinese products in the market. How can these manufacturing industries of Pakistan be revived? With fast track work on power projects, the problem of energy crisis seems to be managed considerably up till 2018. The other major challenge is the capacity development and adoption of new technologies in manufacturing without which the competition with Chinese and other European products is not possible. The fourth industrial revolution, commonly known as Industry 4.0, is focusing on incorporating advance manufacturing techniques, digital technologies and Internet of Things (IOT) with products processes resulting in the transformation of old manufacturing lines into smart factories. Pakistani manufacturing industry, therefore, needs to capitalise on its existing strengths of foundry, textile, sports, medical equipment, light weight machinery, plastic and chemical products by incorporating automation and new production techniques. Over the years, Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) has played a tremendous role in promoting the information technology education, increasing the efficiency of public departments and growth of IT based business start ups. As a result, information technology is accelerating pace in Pakistan. As indicated by the state bank figures of IT exports, it stands at US$ 938.64 million in the fiscal year 2016-17. Another important step needed to be taken is the development of Pakistan domestic manufacturing base and the inclusion of these information, communication and digital technologies with conventional manufacturing industries which is exactly what Industry 4.0 is emphasising on. The recent and related example of such an inclusion is the Chinese single day shopping trend. The one-day-sales volume has fetched 24 billion US$ in revenue through online shopping on Alibaba alone. China made it possible primarily due to advancement in digital technology infrastructure and the strong domestic manufacturing base. To achieve this target, there is a dire need to develop academia-industrial collaboration in the form of dialogue, technological exchange and transfer, joint research projects and industry funded research labs. This meaningful engagement will be the first step to bridge the gap between the manufacturing capacity of Pakistan and the industrial structure of developed countries. Ijazul Haq is a PhD scholar at Politecnico di Torino, Italy and a former lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore. He can be reached at [email protected] Mehvish Riaz is an Assistant Professor at the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore and a Fulbright alumna of New York University. She can be reached at [email protected] Published in Daily Times, December 22nd 2017.