by Mona Khan
  • 05 Jun - 11 Jun, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Interview

Today we inaugurate a new article format. We wanted to give a voice to people that we hear too little in our opinion: successful entrepreneurs who have managed to master the difficulties of entrepreneurship and have grown their businesses. We begin this new format with a successful and renowned entrepreneur: Haji Mohammad Rafiq Pardesi. He’s the boss of the brand which bears his name, HMR Group. Haji Mohammad Rafiq Pardesi, a name in the leading business circles of Pakistan, a business tycoon based in Dubai, UAE is involved in promoting many activities like Islamic art and culture, social media, education, sports, World Kashmir Forum and much more. A man of virtue, Haji Sahib, has his business spread over different countries of the world. He has associations with various bodies including the Swiss Business Council and China Business Council. The list of his contributions to the world of business is never ending. So, MAG interviewed Haji Sahib to get an insight into his life as an entrepreneur. Read on to find out how he’s an inspiration for other budding entrepreneurs. Excerpts:

Your journey as a businessman has been one of perpetual hard work. Are you satisfied with your achievements?

I believe in constant hard work and effort and that’s what has gotten me where I am today. My brothers and I started our business jointly. Slowly and gradually our business spread all over the world. Three of my sons are also involved in business while one is still receiving education from UK. We’ve never financed our business by taking loan from the bank, yet we are here today as a result of constant hard work and determination.

You’ve received numerous prestigious awards for your services. Which one has been the most memorable?

The award most memorable to me is the one I received in Dubai from the Union Bank of Switzerland. I might be the only person to receive this prestigious award from that bank.

One of Pakistan’s leading markets, Empress Market, was terminated due to certain policies, what do you have to say about that?

I feel sad that almost 800 shops were demolished. I even designed a proposal for the restoration of those 800 shops. I spoke with the ex mayor of Karachi, Waseem Akhtar, but nothing came out of that either.

Tell us about Barkati Foundation.

Barkati Foundation has been working tirelessly for the advancement and promotion of education since 1980. We aim to turn madarassas to schools and schools to colleges and universities. Modern scientific education is the need of the hour. For that, we are working to organise and spread educational institutions all over Pakistan.

Unemployment is a big issue of Pakistan. What’s the solution for unemployment in your opinion?

In Pakistan, there is no shortage of workforce. When our people go to any other part of the world, they manage to prove their mettle in every sector. Then what’s the reason that they are unable to grow in Pakistan? We need to create more opportunities for our workers. We need to eradicate corruption from our systems and facilitate foreign investors to invest and setup companies and bring projects to Pakistan. This would help Pakistan economically and reduce poverty ratio. In a meeting with Japan Consul General, I requested him that instead of giving donations to Pakistan, it’s better to invest and setup companies in Pakistan by bringing projects and investment to Pakistan. This would help provide job opportunities to Pakistanis. As India is facing many internal and external problems, this is a golden chance for us to take advantage from this situation and send our products to foreign markets and make our mark. Here, I would like to highlight one example of Dubai’s system. The businessmen and investors in Dubai are free from all sorts of involvement from the government sector and are working independently. While in Pakistan, every sector tries to hinder the working of entrepreneurs by imposing their policies.

Lastly, what help and cooperation is the business community providing in beautifying Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi?

I believe that due to long mismanagement, Karachi has lost its beauty. That’s why our business community took the initiative to enhance the beauty of Karachi. My vision is to work alongside Sindh Government to help renovate the cities of Sindh, especially Karachi. I also aim to work alongside KMC and other departments in Sindh for this very purpose. •