Rajco becomes first Pakistani company to supply sportswear to Hugo Boss

People walk by a Hugo Boss store in Paris, France February 9, 2019. (REUTERS)
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Updated 10 July 2020

Rajco becomes first Pakistani company to supply sportswear to Hugo Boss

  • Chief Executive of leading Pakistani sports manufacturer says he is confident the company will deliver the order in August
  • Companies like Hugo Boss are looking to reduce reliance on China over coronavirus and higher production costs, manufacturers’ association says

KARACHI: Pakistan’s Rajco Industries has received an order from Hugo Boss to make t-shirts for the German national soccer team in what is the luxury fashion brand’s first order with a Pakistani sportswear manufacturer, Rajco’s chief executive officer said on Wednesday. 
Earlier this week, Pakistan’s adviser on commerce Abdul Razak Dawood announced the Hugo Boss deal in a Twitter post, but did not reveal the name of the Pakistani company that had booked the order. 

The logo of German fashion house Hugo Boss is seen on a clothing label at their outlet store in Mezingen near Stuttgart, Germany, on October 29, 2013. (REUTERS)

“We have received the order for supply of sport shirts for their [German] football team,” Ijaz Ahmed Bhatti, the chief executive of Sialkot-based Rajco Industries, told Arab News, saying he was confident Rajco could deliver the shipment by August. He did not share details of the production value or volume of the order. 
Bhatti, whose company already produces sports garments for Fila, Kariban, Kappa, UHL Sports and other international brands, said he was hopeful this was the beginning of a lasting relationship with Hugo Boss, one of the official sponsors of the German football team.

The deal with Hugo Boss is the result of efforts by the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), commerce minister Dawood has said. The association hosted the International Apparel Federation’s (IAF) 35th World Fashion Convention in Lahore last year, in collaboration with Dutch industry association Modint. Hugo Boss officials attended the event as chief guests. 
“During physical interaction with the Pakistani [sportswear manufacturing] players, they [Hugo Boss] came to know that the knowledge base of our industry is sound,” PRGMEA chief coordinator Ijaz Khokhar, who is also the regional president of IAF, told Arab News. 
Speaking about Pakistan’s attraction for the German fashion house, Khokhar said Hugo Boss, like other European groups, wanted to reduce its reliance on China, particularly because of the coronavirus pandemic, which had started in China’s Wuhan city. 
“They are moving out of China apparently for two reason. The first is COVID-19 and they want to ensure alternate sources of supplies,” Khokhar said. “The second is that China is becoming expensive and our [Pakistani] labor is relatively cheaper.”
Pakistan’s total exports declined by 6.83% in fiscal year 2019-20, according to commerce ministry figures. 

Political parties, army chief agree military ‘intervenes’ in politics but only at government’s request — opposition 

Updated 23 September 2020

Political parties, army chief agree military ‘intervenes’ in politics but only at government’s request — opposition 

  • Opposition politicians confirm discussing army’s ‘interference’ in politics with army chief at meeting last week
  • Army intervenes because “civilians provided the military this space, sought the army’s help,” PMLN’s Khawaja Asif says 

ISLAMABAD: Opposition politicians have said this week that they discussed the issue of the all-powerful military’s interference in Pakistani politics at a meeting with the army chief last week where General Qamar Javed Bajwa and all parliamentary parties agreed that the army had intervened in the past but only when requested by civilian governments. 
The September 16 meeting with Bajwa has generated much controversy in Pakistan and was attended by at least 15 opposition leaders, including Shehbaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sherry Rehman from the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, the Aawami National Party’s Amir Haider Hoti, and others. The head of Pakistan’s military-run ISI spy agency was also present at the meeting.
Pakistan’s powerful military has ruled the country for more than half of its history, and sets defence and security policy. It has in the past denied meddling in politics.
During the current army chief’s tenure, the military has been accused by opposition politicians of electoral manipulation, meddling in politics, suspension of civil liberties and muzzling the media. The military has denied all counts.
But at the meeting last week, Bajwa admitted that the army had meddled in politics, but only at the behest of civilian politicians and governments, at least three opposition politicians interviewed by Arab News said. 

The army's media wing did not respond to detailed queries from Arab News sent via email.
“The gist of the army chief’s entire conversation was that in Pakistan, historically … whenever the military interfered - he [the army chief] gave his point of view - it happened because civilians provided the military this space, and sought the army’s help against each other,” Khawaja Asif, a senior leader of the PMLN and a former defence minister, said in a TV interview. 
“There was consensus among all people [at the meeting] that politicians ceded territory [to the army], themselves invited the army,” he added.
Asif said the “consensus point of view” at the meeting, which the army chief agreed to and reiterated, was that in Pakistan’s history, “all components of the power structure have committed excesses, which includes politicians, establishment, the army, bureaucracy, courts, media.”
“This is a territorial dispute between different power centers and we should sit down under one roof and resolve it,” the former defence minister said, saying that the solution should be based on rule of law and the constitution. 
“The territorial boundaries, according to the constitution: it is important to determine them,” he said. 
Asif said the September 16 meeting was requested by the military to discuss the issue of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China. In recent weeks, government officials have said Pakistan plans to declare the region a fifth province, a proposal which has unnerved neighbouring India with which Pakistan has a territorial dispute over the Kashmir valley. 
Asif said it was PPP senator Sherry Rehman who raised the issue at the meeting that the prime minister should have been present at a huddle at which a “legal and constitutional” issue such as making Gilgit-Baltistan a new province was being discussed. 
“From here, the direction of the meeting, the discussion, changed, and went in the direction of why does the army have to interfere … basically politicians provide this space… the discussion went into this direction,” Asif said. “And the prime minister’s absence became a kind of testimony, that if the prime minister had been here, if prime minister had taken charge of things, then the army chief or the military would not have had to call parliamentary leaders to discuss this but the issue [of Gilgit-Baltistan] would have just been discussed in a committee room in parliament.”
Senator Sherry Rehman confirmed to Arab News that she had raised the issue of the prime minister’s absence at the meeting with the army chief. “Why was this meeting not convened at the PM House,” she said she had asked the meeting’s participants. 
PMLN politician Ahsan Iqbal also said the army chief had called the meeting because the prime minister refused to sit down with the opposition or discuss Gilgit-Baltistan in parliament. 
“The prime minister is continuously refusing to sit with the opposition,” he told Arab News. “How can the system work this way?”
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, minister for railways, quoted the army chief at the meeting as saying the army was bound to respond “positively” when an elected government requested them for help. 
Senior journalist and head of Hum News, Mohammad Malick, said politicians often “dragged” the military leadership into political issues. 
“Why do politicians go to the military instead of using forums like parliament, media and judiciary?” he asked. “When you will take an issue to a state institution, then the institution will definitely give its viewpoint and suggest a preferred course of action.”
He said parliamentarians should have the courage to take ‘big decisions’ instead of looking towards the military for support. 
“The military does intervene in many areas, but it doesn’t mean that it intervenes in each and every issue,” Malick said. “We can’t blame them for the sins they haven’t committed.”