Alexander Ponomarenko

   After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the Government of Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan realized the importance of local production of iron and steel. In 1958, Soviet premier Nikolai Bulganin offered technical and scientific assistance to Prime Minister Suhrawardy regarding the steel mills and expressing interests in establishing the country's first steel mills.

Steel mill in Karachi

After 20 years of policy development and studies, President General Yahya Khan gave the approval of the recommendations of the state-owned scientific think tank, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. As a result on the 2 July 1968 Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation was setup as a private limited company in the public sector.

Construction of the Steel mill

In January 1969, Pakistan Steel concluded an agreement with V/O Tyazhproexport of the USSR for the preparation of a feasibility report into the establishment of a steel mill at Karachi. Subsequently in January 1971 Pakistan and the USSR signed an agreement under which the latter agreed to provide techno-financial assistance for the construction of a coastal based intergrated steel mill at Karachi.

Steel mill in Karachi

Component units of the steel mill numbering over twenty and each a big enough factory in its own right were commisioned as they were completed between April 1981 to August 1985. The completion of the steel mill was formally launched by President of Pakistan General Zia-Ul-Haq on the 15 January 1985.

Steel mill in Karachi

The number of contingent of Soviet specialists was about 2500 people, together with family members.

The Chief Engineer of construction and the leader of the group of Soviet specialists was Alexander Ivanovich Ponomarenko.

Alexander Ivanovich Ponomarenko

For his labor activity, he was awarded with the Order of Friendship of Peoples (order number 15406), two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor (order number 961593 and 509849) and the Order of the Badge of Honor (order number 815594).

Awards of Alexander Ponomarenko
Awards of Alexander Ponomarenko

The Government of Pakistan awarded Alexander Ponomarenko with the Order of Pakistan (degree Sitara-e-Pakistan (Star of Pakistan)) - Pakistan's highest civilian award given by the Government of Pakistan for the highest degree of service to the country and nation of Pakistan.

Star of Pakistan
Star of Pakistan
Document Translation
An envelope sent to Alexander Ivanovich on 13 March 1981, in connection with his 60th birthday.

An eerie silence surrounds Pakistan Steel Mills today. Its machines and plants – that have the capacity to produce close to 1.1 million tonnes of steel in a year – run the risk of becoming permanently dysfunctional if they do not start running again soon :(