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This book, just like my whole life,

is dedicated to my great mother who


taught me how to live. I attribute my
entire success to her prayers.

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig


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Acknowledgements
First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to express my
gratitude to Dr Baig for sharing his immense knowledge on the
commercial, economic and political aspects of Pakistan. In addi-
tion to that, Dr Baig also shared his entire lifetime – upsides as
well as downsides – in the most candid way possible giving us
all the details that make his life worth writing about.

Moreover, I would also like to thank

CEO who as the


Chairman of the Publication Committee, played a major role in
initiating the publication process.

Last, I would like to appreciate Mr Rashed A. Siddiqui without


whom the publication of this book would not have been possible.

Syed Salahuddin Haider


President
21st Century Business & Economics Club

i
Publisher’s Note
“The world's most successful people are famous for their skills
and talents, while others are distinguished for their courage or
profound impact on society. But one thing many of the world's
most successful people have in common is their ability to inspire
others.”

I strongly believe that, we should promote those people who


leave legacies behind and have dedicated their lives to the
advancement of the country and are role models to millions. This
book will promote a positive image of the country and inform
people about the heroes this country has produced, and a small
attempt to bring about a few positive changes to the society.

For the publication of this book, I'd like to thank Mr. Salahuddin
Haider, the Founder President of our prestigious club and
Mr. Rashid Siddqui to give me the honour of contributing to this
noble task.

I'd also like to appreciate every stakeholder involved in the


publication of this book as it required a great deal of courage and
hard work to work on such a project. I hope we have carried out
this responsibility justly.

Thanks & Regards

Salman Aslam
Executive Director
Century Packages Private Limited
salman@centurypackages.com
0300-8245777

ii
Table of Contents
Chapter Pages
PROLOGUE

Writer’s Account 1

PART I – WHEN IT ALL BEGAN

Childhood Adventures 4

The Baig Family and their Standpoint: A Mother’s 10


Dream, Struggle and Love

Challenges, Distractions and Savior 18

The Dreamer’s Initial Progress 20

A New Life in Dubai 22

Qudsia Baigum’s Other Son 24

PART II – THE RISE

A Change of Perspective 28

Controversy and Settlement 32

“Women were created from the rib of man to be 35


beside him ….”

Morocco: Déjà vu 41

Roiling Waters Ahead: Trips to States and Saudi 45

The Risk Taker is at it again! 48

The Revival of a Sick .. Very Sick Industry 50

The Big League 53

iii
PART III – TROUBLED TIMES

A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed 64

Ishtiaq Baig Loses his Better Half 67

When a Loved One Departs – Forever 69

A Brand New Career and another Major Loss 74

PART IV–FOR THE COUNTRY AND COUNTRYMENT


The Analyst and His Pakistaniat 82

When a Boy becomes a Man 92

The Philanthropy Begins 104

Those Who Die with a Smile 108

Bringing Yemen and Pakistan Closer 118

PART V – EVERYTHING HAS TO COME FULL


CIRCLE

The Darkest Hour 126

EPILOGUE 132

Sun Rises Everyday 133

The patriot, the industrialist, the politician, the family 146


man and the economist, all share their thoughts:

THE MAN TODAY 149


AWARDS RECEIVED
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL
AWARDS 2014-17 RECEIVED 152
LAUNCH OF “A LIMITLESS PAKISTANI”
IN KARACHI AND ISLAMABAD

iv
PROLOGUE

Writer’s Account
This one could quite easily be one of the most enthralling tales
that have ever been told, and the reason is quite understandable:
when you are dealing with a country – an extraordinary one mind
you, since it is a people that can easily claim to be recognized
across the globe like no other on this planet – with a population
of above eighteen million, there is bound to be many remark-
able individuals who have left their mark on this world one way
or the other. Still, this is nothing out of the ordinary in today’s
world where human intelligence is perhaps in its fastest evolu-
tionary phase and almost every nation can tout many acclaimed
heroes. What is quite unprecedented, however, is the arrival of
a person, who is not merely business-savvy, but also an intellec-

a number of them which are completely polarized to each other.

Such are the people who leave legacies behind; such are the peo-
ple who are role models to millions; and such are the people
whose stories are worth telling. This one, as aforementioned, is
one such grand tale which would grip any reader till the end.
And the protagonist of course, is none other than the man him-
self, Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig.

Honestly put, all I knew about Dr Baig before writing this book
was that he was an industrialist who was into politics as well, or
maybe it was the other way round – nothing exceptional. There
are many such individuals out there who juggle between a polit-
ical and business career simultaneously.

However, as our meetings began, and I started interviewing


him and collecting data about him, Dr Baig slowly but surely,

1
through his pleasant demeanor, soft speech, calculated and ap-
propriately selected words, and a highly positive attitude and
balanced approach, removed the prejudices that I, just like any
other common man, have generally regarding those who belong
to the ruling class.

One does not have to spend a great deal of time with Dr Baig in
order to identify some of the traits that make him stand out from
the rest. Before we begin the actual tale, I’d like to share with
my readers at least one such incident – a very brief one – that
highlights the kind of personality that Dr. Baig has:

at 1:30 p.m. Having a journalism background, and conducted


many interviews with many celebrities of Pakistan, I knew very
well that there was no point in being punctual since it is consid-
ered fashionable by such important people to be late. Still, while
constantly cursing myself for being unable to drop this habit of
punctuality, I reached at 1:15 p.m. only to be surprised by Dr.

still about ten minutes before the scheduled time – and the very

are punctual since it is the key to success. This pattern contin-


ued throughout the series of interviews that I conducted with Dr
Baig over a span of three and a half months until our very last
meeting when I got late as I lost my way, and Dr. Baig ended up

On this note, we shall begin our tale which I hope would be


a source of lesson and guidance for the readers as it certainly
proved to be one for me, and you would enjoy reading it as much
as I have enjoyed penning it down.

Taimur Sabih

2
Childhood Adventures
There was an absolute silence all around. The only two
sounds that could be heard were the echoes of the bounc-
ing ball that ricocheted off the club’s walls, and the heavy
breathing of the four players who were totally engrossed in
a game of table tennis. So much so, that they did not realize
that their deadline to reach their destination was fast ap-
proaching.

Their intense pursuit of scoring points to one-up each other


came to a screeching halt as the call of azan-e-maghrib rose
in the air. It seemed as if everything stopped; as if they were
brutally yanked back to the bitter reality. They looked at each
other. Their expressions told the story. They were scared –
dead scared.

“What now, bhai?” Shireen asked her brother.

“I asked you guys to leave half an hour ago, but you just
wouldn’t listen!” Complained her brother, Ishtiaq.

“Well, I like that! We were ready to leave, but Ikhtiyar bhai


didn’t want to!” Afreen, the other sister, refuted immediately.

“That’s because he has been winning today. Why would

Shireen’s face deepened.

“True that! I really had a lot of fun today. Afreen is Saint


Joseph’s team’s captain, and yet she didn’t stand a chance
against me. I’m really that good!” Ikhtiar, whom everyone
was accusing, was as careless as ever.

“Well, you can joke all you like right now. But once we reach
home, it’s going to be a totally different story. You’ve got all of

4
us in trouble. Amma will be furious with us for being late. You
KNOW that we are not allowed to be outdoors after Maghrib.”
Ishtiaq was doing his best to hide his fear in front of his al-
ready half-trembling sisters, and the brother who was sur-
prisingly – to him, foolishly – smirking smugly as if he had a
plan.

-
ters together looking at their brothers beseechingly.

got him confused looks from his siblings as if they doubted


his mental stability at that point in time.

“You okay, bhai?” Shireen could not hold her surprise back
any longer.

“Absolutely. I have a plan.” Ikhtiar’s carefree attitude was


now getting on everyone’s nerves.

“Plan? Nothing can get us out of this predicament!” His sib-


lings exclaimed together.

“This will. Let me show you.” Ikhitar said calmly as they all
jogged out of the table tennis room of The Hall Institute.

Before they swiftly scurried into the car, Ikhtiar ran to the

stones; and stacked them on top of each other. He gave ev-


eryone a triumphant look as he got in the car.

“THAT was your plan, bhai?” Asked Afreen. Ikhtiar beamed


victoriously at her.

The drive to home was a very quiet one. They all sat there
dead silent with the shadows of fear on their youthful fac-

5
A memorable childhood photograph of Ikhtiar Baig

6
just a few days when he was faced with a similar situation.
He was visiting a few friends, and during their merrymaking,
he completely lost track of time and got late. A superstitious
friend of his, who noticed the fright on his face, told him of
this ‘remedy’.

“I’ll tell you a way to get out of your plight.” His friend offered
expert advice.

“No, yaar, I won’t lie to amma no matter what. But I know I’m
in deep, deep trouble now.” Ikhtiar’s upbringing will never
allow him to deceive anyone, let alone his own mother.

“You won’t have to, silly. Come, I’ll show you.” It was his friend

and forget about all his worries. Doubtfully, Ikhtiar did that,
and went back home prepared for a trashing of a lifetime.
With his heart pounding, he stepped into his house; crossed
the yard cat-footed; opened the door to his room, and tried
to sneak inside unnoticed.

“Ikhtiar!” Amma’s graceful voice touched his ears. He stopped;


contemplated. There was not even an iota of anger in his
mother’s voice which was extremely surprising. Tentatively,
he turned around to face his mother. And there she stood in
the yard across from him, as beautiful as ever. Her delicate
features and fair complexion glowed in the increasing moon-
light, while her dark, long and straight hair peeked from un-
der her scarf.

“I .. yes .. amma?” He did not know how to respond.

“Baita, I want you to do something for me.” His mother said


lovingly while she gestured at Ikhtiar with her thin hand to
come to her.

7
My (Late) Father, Mirza Mushtaq Baig

8
Ikhtiyar could not believe his luck. His mother was extremely
strict when it came to discipline – no exceptions whatsoever.
However, it was quite unusual this evening. In spite of him vi-
olating a major rule laid down by her, she did not scold him.
Instead, she just gave him some task that he happily carried
out. His friend was right. The trick did work.

And this tactic was exactly what he intended to utilize once


more that day. As the car came to a halt, Ikhtiar was brought
back from his reverie. They all stepped out of the car. Ikhtiar

soon as they went past the main gate, they saw their mother
standing there, waiting. And what a sight it was to behold!
Their mother’s bright eyes gleamed with anger in the fad-
ing twilight; her beautiful, delicate features had shaped into
a furious expression; she was livid! As all his siblings trem-
bled and glared at him at the same time, Ikhtiar regretfully
realized half an hour too late that the trick did not work this
time.

And the rest as they say is history. It was a lesson in realism,


discipline and superstition that the kids were never to forget
for the rest of their days to come. Once the scolding was over,
their mother announced that the kids were not to eat that
night. It was only their father, Mr Mirza Mushtaq Baig, who
-
nal meal of that eventful day. For Ikhtiar, it was a lesson that
he learned the hard way, but it was about to come in very
handy to him in his future: never to depend on luck blindly,
never to be superstitious.

9
The Baig Family and their
Standpoint: A Mother’s
Dream, Struggle and Love
At this juncture, it is needless to mention that if there was
one thing that the Baig family would never compromise on,
then that would be discipline. The head of the family might
have been Mr Mirza Mushtaq Baig, but the head of the daily
affairs was most certainly his wife, Qudsia Baigum. She was
the one who single-handedly took the responsibility of incul-
cating strong moral values in her children.

She was an unconventional mother. Unlike most of her coun-


terparts, she did not believe in spoiling her children by hid-
ing their mistakes, or condoning such actions that should not
be condoned. Her philosophy was simple: focus, discipline
and hard work.

She would very methodically do the scheduling for each and


every one of her children. Like some thoroughly professional
corporate manager, she would manage her children’s time
in such a way that they would spend appropriate time on
their studies, sports and, social and religious activities. Even
though it was a middle-class family that migrated from Delhi
in 1947, the family still had a royal descent, and Qudsia Bai-
gum was well aware of the repercussions that it could have.
She worked meticulously in order to instill humility in her
children instead of vanity.

The strength of her will is evident from the fact that the birth

the parents, and has the potential to alter an individual’s per-


sonality drastically, did not deter her from raising him in the
most disciplined way possible along with the remaining of

10
My Great Mother Qudsia Begum

11
his siblings who followed later.

The kids were never allowed to go out and play in the streets
no matter how much they pleaded with their mother to al-
low them to do so. They could only go to a club for all sorts
of recreational activities and that too during their allotted
time only.

Behind this strict regime, however, Qudsia Baigam had a


well thought-out purpose – a dream; a dream that was far,
far above the generic ambition of the masses to see their
children on top at whatever they do. She did not just dream
merely of her children’s academic and professional excel-
lence, but she also yearned and strived to turn them into
remarkable human beings. Such human beings who would
know the value of ethics, morality, integrity, and most im-
portantly, other human beings around them; human beings
that would one day compel the world to say that Qudsia did
not simply raise and educate her children, she nurtured and
-
sent God’s best creation in every possible way: humankind.

All this, however, could not be done overnight or without


challenges and struggle; especially, when you are raising a
boy as ambitious and eccentric as Qudsia Baigum’s.

Ikhtiar’s best friend, who was at least equally, if not more,


ambitious and eccentric as Ikhtiar himself, was Jahangir
Shah. Both of them would meet up regularly and most of
their time would be spent on planning – dreaming – to be
precise. Sometimes, Ikhtiar would pretend to be the Presi-

hundred branches, and he would ask Jahangir Shah to come

12
coffers. Their discussions and planning would continue on

and the presidents of the richest countries would come to

– condescendingly rather – provide on their own terms and


conditions.

Once, Jahangir Shah came to pick Ikhtiar up at night. Ikhtiar


quietly sneaked out of his house to speak to him.

“What’s up, J?” He whispered.

“I have a brilliant idea. I think we should go to the beach to


discuss it.” Jahangir proposed proudly.

“At this time?” Ikhtiar asked cautiously looking over his


shoulder.

“Yeah, my head works better at night.” Jahangir said in a very


matter-of-fact manner.

“So does mine, yaar.” Ikhtiar could not agree more.

Ikhtiar tip-toed back to the gate, peeked inside, shut it quiet-


ly, and came back to his waiting friend.

“I think we should leave the car here. It makes a lot of noise.


Besides, since we are going to Hawk’s Bay, it would be a hell
lot more fun to go on my bike.” Ikhtiar’s eyes gleamed with
excitement.

Very obediently, Jahangir parked his car a few houses away


from Ikhtiar’s house while Ikhtiar pushed his bike to the end
of the street without turning the engine on. Once they were
at the end of the street, he kick-started the engine. It revved
to life immediately.

13
It was almost 9 p.m. when they reached Hawk’s Bay. They
parked their bike on the sandy beach and jogged towards
the water. They sat down on the shore. The dying waves hit-
ting their ankles softly felt quite pleasant in the warm night.
However, they were not there to discuss the serenity of the
environment. There were far, far more important things to
be discussed: such as, how to become a billionaire in just half
a decade.

Their discussion was serious; intense. Jahangir was still in


the middle of explaining his brainwave when Ikhtiar stopped
him.

“J, I feel …. strange.” Ikhtiar had a confused look on his face.

“What’s wrong now, Ikhti?” Jahangir looked at his friend, a


tad annoyed as he felt sure that Ikhtiar just delayed the inev-

“I don’t know …. my foot hurts!” All of a sudden, Ikhtiar had


started shivering a little. Immediately, Jahangir stood up,
helped his friend up on his feet and took him back to where
their bike was parked. He noticed that Ikhtiar’s body tem-
perature had abruptly gone up.

“Here, let me have a look at your foot.” He turned on the


headlight of the bike.

There was a big reddish-blue mark on Ikhtiar’s foot, and the


area around it was now beginning to swell up.

“It’s a bloody blue-bottle bite!” Jahangir announced. “We are


going to the hospital.”

However, there was one slight little problem in going to the


hospital. Jahangir Shah did not know how to drive a bike and

14
Ikhtiar, who was now only half-conscious, was clearly in no
condition to do so. Still, it was Ikhtiar who came up with a
dangerous, but only possible solution.

“Look, I can barely focus. But I think I can handle the bike.
You just keep telling me where to go. Got that?” Ikhtiar strug-
gled to get the words out.

It is said that two heads are better than one. Perhaps, it


was this particular incident that sub-consciously cemented

personalities forever. It was a queer sight for any passerby


who was himself quaint enough to be out on the road at mid-
night: two young lads on the same bike; the one sitting at the
back would shout directions as loud as he could, and the one
driving would turn blindly to his friend’s voice without even
thinking for a second. It was a perfect depiction of the classic
tale read by millions of children in their childhood telling the
story of a blind man carrying a man with no legs over his
-
ing village.

The adventure was, however, far from over when they


reached the hospital in Kharadar. As soon as they alight-
ed, Ikhtiar fainted. Jahangir had to practically drag his un-
conscious friend indoors who was immediately admitted.
Thankfully, it turned out to be nothing serious and Ikhtiar
regained consciousness in about half an hour.

Jahangir Shah used to go out with his friends and his fami-
ly was quite accustomed to it, therefore, his absence did not
worry them unnecessarily. Ikhtiar’s family, however, was not
as unconcerned when one of his sisters informed the rest of
his family that the bike was missing from the parking area
which immediately perturbed the whole family as Ikhtiar

15
was not allowed to go out late at nights. The discovery of Ja-
hangir Shah’s car parked in the street brought some solace

left together. But where were they? This was the question
on everyone’s mind which was only answered after a cou-
ple of hours when they heard a faintly growing sound of an
engine coming from the end of the street which eventually
died a few houses away from Ikhtiar’s house near Jahangir’s
car. They all looked at each other, partly amused as some of

siblings. The boys’ ingeniousness was evident; they were in


their stealth mode. They intended to part company just like
the way they began their adventure: Jahangir would return
home in his car quietly while Ikhtiar would push the bike
back in the parking area unnoticed, and sneak back into his
room. Jahangir left as planned, but Ikhtiar had no idea what
awaited him.

The agitated family marched right out in the street like a


procession methodically charging towards its desired desti-
nation. There was just about enough light in the street for
Ikhtiar to make out the rallying silhouettes moving towards
him. His heart sank; he knew he was in trouble.

-
bers positioned themselves around him. He was summoned
inside for a thorough probe about his adventure that night.
His beloved amma never asked for an explanation. She simply
announced that she would not talk to him anymore and for-
bade him from going out with his friends anymore. Amidst
the bedlam, somebody noticed that Ikhtiar was limping a lit-
tle, and looked extremely exhausted. Questions were asked.
He narrated the whole incident as truthfully as ever, all the
time looking at his mother beseechingly. He expected her to
melt down. Her expressions did not change; she still had a

16
stern look on her face.

will not go out with friends anymore. I cannot tolerate this


sort of indiscipline.” Qudsia Baigum simply walked back to
her room.

Ikhtiar did not know what to say anymore. He was hurt, and
now, heartbroken too. He quietly retired to his room. His fa-
ther told him three days later, when things got back to nor-
mal, that his mother had cried all night thinking about the
pain that her son must have endured due to the injury that
he suffered that night. He went to her straightaway and apol-
ogized once more. He intended to set things right once and
for all. But this time round, he did not have to insist at all.
Qudsia Baigum simply embraced her son while she wept and
admonished him at the same time.

This was the time when Ikhtiar realized the importance of


his mother the most. She was one of those very few peo-
ple in this world on whom he could rely blindly and turn to
whenever needed. As it turned out, his mother proved him
wrong as she never gave him an opportunity to turn to her.

him well ahead of time.

17
Challenges, Distractions
and Savior
A few years rolled by. Ikhtiar stepped into his boyhood. He
was a youth full of energy, ambitions, and a highly potent
tendency of getting off track.

One of his childhood friends was Murtaza Jatoi. His father, Mr


Ghulam Murtaza Jataoi, was the Chief Minister of Sind at that

Murtaza could be a tad reckless and irresponsible at times.


He was not much of a planner unlike Ikhtiar and would not
give a great deal of thought to his future life. He believed
in living in the present moment. Ikhtiar had occasionally
started going out with Murtaza and two of his other friends,
Naeem and Saleem, who quite quickly grew very fond of Ikh-
tiar as he always used to assist them in their studies.

Sometimes, the friends would dine out, go for a drive, or


simply hang out till pretty late at nights. It would require a
Herculean effort on Ikhtiar’s part to convince his mother –
who did not care one single bit if it was the Chief Minister’s
son waiting at her door or the President’s – to allow him to

teenager, his adamant pleading, or his mother’s immense


-
sia Baigum let her eldest son go – with always a time limit of
course – with his friend, we would never be able to tell, but
one thing was for sure: she never approved of it willingly,
and she had already made up her mind to speak to Ikhtiar
about it come the right time. The right time came soon.

Once, Murtaza came to see Ikhtiar at his workplace inviting


him to go out. Although, Ikhtiar immediately rejected the

18
invitation and delayed it till the evening as he understood
his responsibilities as a professional well enough, but when
Qudsia Baigum came to know about that, she knew she had
to step in then.

“You are getting distracted, baita.” Qudsia Baigum’s tone was

family and he doesn’t have to struggle much in his life. You,


on the other hand, have to do everything on your own start-
ing from the scratch. At this stage, if you’d lose your focus,
then you’d never be able to get to the destination that you
have decided for yourself.”

And that was all that it took. A few short sentences from his
mother, and Ikhtiar was back on the right course. Now was
the time for him to prove to his mother that she mattered
more than anybody else to him. And that is exactly what he
did.

19
The Dreamer’s Initial Progress
Since his school days, Ikhtiar had scored well. But his skills

in for his matriculation examination. He knew it very well


that he may be the one taking the exam, but his mother –
despite not saying anything – was also feeling the effects of
the same mental and physical fatigue that he endured since
she had invested heavily in his education too. He did not let
her down.

When the result was announced, Ikhtiar, as always, had


scored well and got admission in D. J. Science College which
is even today one of the top most colleges of Pakistan. This

could now analyze his strengths and weaknesses well; he


knew now what he wanted to do with his life. He wished to
be a successful banker.

“Mark my words, I’m going to be an economist, and Time


Magazine and Newsweek will have me on their cover.” Ikh-
tiar minced no words about his ambitions while speaking
to Jahangir Shah once. Their days of dreaming and planning
were far from over.

After graduating from D. J. College, Ikhtiar, along with Jah-


angir Shah, went for staff training at the UBL Staff College
in Karachi which was followed by their appointment at the
-

great deal of potential and ability to go the distance. Ikhtiar


and Jahangir were posted at different branches.

Lady luck smiled upon Ikhtiar and Jahangir when they ap-
plied to BCCI, which was a Pakistani international bank

20
headed by the legendary banker, Agha Hassan Abidi. They
both got the interview calls, and were interviewed by Mr
Abidi himself who selected them and decided to post them
abroad.

Jahangir Shah’s father, Abbas Shah, who was the President


of the Muslim Commercial Bank, however, was of a differ-
ent view. He believed that if both the youths would go to the
same place, they might get distracted and not achieve what
they had the potential to achieve. He advised Ikhtiar to join
his newly launched bank in Dubai, the Middle East Bank, a
joint venture of the MCB and Al-Futtaim Group, whereas, his
own son, Jahangir Shah went to BCCI.

However, as they say, if it has to happen, it will. Immediately


after his recruitment, Jahangir Shah was posted in Abu Dhabi
by BCCI which gave both the boys a wonderful opportunity
to meet up every weekend and stay in touch with each other.

21
A New Life in Dubai
A bright new chapter of Ikhtiar’s life awaited him in Dubai.
However, by this time he had matured enough to know that
nothing comes easy in this world. He knew he had to plan
things out sensibly especially, when his mother was left
miles behind, and her constant guidance and watchful eye
would not be with him anymore. But he was still equipped
with his mother’s teachings, and his skills to analyze any giv-
en situation deeply.

In just a few days, Ikhtiar realized that he was at a distinct


disadvantage in Dubai. He did not know the vernacular. Nev-
er one to lag behind, he intended to overcome this weakness
immediately. He started learning Arabic, and got command
over the language in a very short time. This turned out to be

scale.

Initially, in his boyhood days, when Ikhtiar wished to be a


banker, he himself did now know what made him take that
decision. However, things were getting a great deal clearer
now. Simply put, he was born for it. His number crunching
ability combined with his immaculate PR building skills,
were doing wonders for him as well as the bank that he rep-
resented.

His social circle expanded dramatically. He got to know some

Needless to say, this had immense effects on his career too. It


was becoming a walk in the park for him to acquire high pro-
-
uation, he became habitual of not just attaining his targets,
but exceeding them. So much so, that his branch became the

22
an ordinary boy from a middle-class background was now
beginning to understand what reputation and wealth meant
in life. From 1977 to 1982, Ikhtiar progressed substantial-
ly. He was enjoying it. He did not want this dream to end. It
was as if he always wanted this life: set a goal, achieve it, and
then set another one higher than the previously achieved
one.

And then an incident shook him. It struck him that how


wrong and misguided he was. This was the point where he
decided to quit all that and try to seek the right way. It had
always been there right in front of him. He just did not see it
earlier. But he needed to speak to someone; someone who
could advise him well. Ikhtiar decided to call his brother,
Ishtiaq Baig.

He would understand.

Ikhtiar was at work, but he wanted to speak to his brother


immediately. He picked up the phone to call him. Little he
knew that this one simple call will alter his life forever.

23
Qudsia Baigum’s
Other Son
One trait that Qudsia Baigum had inculcated deeply in her
offspring was the trait of being always united. Perhaps, this
was the reason why Ikhtiar aided his brother Ishtiaq Baig to

found his footing.

To his credit, Ishtiaq had never been the one who would
be contented with simply being in the shadow of his elder
brother. Although they were seven years apart, but still, Ish-
tiaq had always been able to keep apace with his brother.
Therefore, it was not really a surprise that his achievements
as well were second to none.

Unlike his brother, who was more of a numbers person, Ish-


-
ation from Karachi University, he did his Masters of Technol-
ogy along with a number of other vocational courses. With

He was immediately employed by the Karachi Shipyard and


Engineering Works as a mechanical engineer.

His opportunity came when Ikhtiar Baig called him from


Dubai and told him about a vacancy in Sharjah. With his
brother’s guidance, Ishtiaq applied for the position, got se-
lected, and moved to Sharjah where he started working as
the Head of Planning and Estimation at Sharjah Shipyard.
The brothers decided to move in together.

Despite working for long hours, the brothers always made


sure that they spoke to each other regularly on important
topics. It was Ikhtiar who made it a point to check on his

24
Two brothers, business partners and
friends - Ikhtiar & Ishtiaq Baig

25
younger brother regularly.

“Whenever we speak, you have something new and exciting


to share.” Ishtiaq once told his brother.

“I know my proposals and ideas are always thrilling.” Ikhtiar


boasted light-heartedly.

They were having a good time. They both were progressing


in their respective careers; their mother was happy. Although
the sudden death of their father had created a great void,
putting a cumbersome responsibility on their shoulders, the
brothers had fared well. They got their sisters, Parveen, Yas-
meen, Nasreen and Shireen married respectively to Rai Zaf-
ar Ali, Ikhtiar’s colleague in the Middle East Bank, Dubai, Dr
Azam Ali Baig, presently settled in Houston, USA, Professor
S.M. Tahir engaged in higher education in the United Arab
Emirates, and Saleem Yousuf, a former Pakistani test cricket-
er. What else could one wish for?

And then Ishtiaq Baig’s phone rang. It was his brother. And
his brother’s proposal was once more quite thrilling to say
the least.

26
A Change of Perspective
Ishtiaq Baig was left thinking by his brother’s latest pro-
posal. He had always admired his brother’s unconventional
ways, and would usually go with whatever his brother would
suggest, but Ikhtiar’s latest proposition required a great deal
of thought and planning to go into it. The snippets of his con-
versation with Ikhtiar were still dashing through his mind.
He carefully recalled everything; word by word, sentence by
sentence. He knew his brother well. He knew exactly what
was going through the daredevil’s mind.

“Okay, bhai! Slow down! Say that again. What Iranians? What
brain?” Ishtiaq had to calm his excited brother down on mul-
tiple occasions as Ikhtiar had started blabbering at an almost
scary pace as soon as he picked up the phone.

“Listen, I have an idea. I was at work the other day and some
Iranians came to the bank. They come here regularly. Believe
you me, they have their worth in gold. They make millions
every week by simply importing jeans from Hong Kong and
taking them to Iran via boats. And you know what? Tech-
nically, I am the brain behind their business. I advise them

why are we wasting our time? Why can’t we use our knowl-
edge and experience for ourselves? I believe we should go
into business – together.”

“Bhai, think about it rationally.” Ishtiaq said cautiously al-


though he could bet his bottom dollar that Ikhtiar would
never suggest something without going over it a thousand

suggesting to invest their entire savings in a single project.


“This is Dubai; everything is expensive. We don’t have that
kind of money.”

28
“I can arrange that. But I need you with me in this venture.”
Ikhtiar was resolute.

“Right. Let’s sleep over it, bhai. Let’s discuss it tomorrow at


home.” Although, Ishtiaq was partly convinced already, he
still wanted some time to think.

“Okay, tomorrow it is then. .” The faint click on the


other end told Ishtiaq that his brother had put the receiver
down.

Ikhtiar had got into his head, and rightly so, that he may have
achieved a lot since he came to Dubai, but no matter what,
there had always been a limit to his success; no matter what
he did, he would always be faced with certain barricades that
he could not cross. As remarkable as his success may seem,
but it will reach a saturation point sooner or later. His vision
and ambition on the other hand, had no frontiers; he simply
wanted to break all barriers. He longed to be limitless. No
matter how skilled and talented one is, as long as one uses

not the individual himself. And Ikhtiar had realized that.

Ishtiaq, who is known for his decision-making skills, thought


hard, but not long. He had made up his mind. He would sup-
port his brother in their joint venture.

“I’m with you, bhai; just one condition.” Ishtiaq Baig said to
his brother.

“Accepted. What?”

“Since this is your idea, and if we got into trouble, then it


would technically be your responsibility, therefore, you will
resign before I do.” Ishtiaq Baig said to his brother jestingly
while trying to keep a straight face.

29
“I already have.” Ikhtiar Baig beamed at his shocked brother.

The next logical step of course, was to plan out their course
of action. They needed to invest carefully and with as min-
imal risk as possible. The brothers researched hard on the
business that they wanted to set up. It was Ikhtiar whose ob-
servation abetted in formulating a sound strategy.

processed and developed. Ikhtiar found out about a new


technology in Japan that could condense the process sub-
-
ed to visit a plant supplier, NORITSU, in Wakiyama, Japan to
study this technology. He went through a rigorous training
programme for thirty days in order to acquire the techni-
-

and concluded that it would be viable to set up a quick photo


-
nance.

Even the combined accumulated investment of the brothers


was about half a million Dirham less than the required sum
for this kind of a project. Ikhtiar’s reputation and banking
experience came into play at this juncture. They took the
balance amount from BCCI as a loan; bought the process-

name of Photomagic in Sharjah.

As it turned out, after that, the brothers never looked back.


The developing process that used to take almost a month

queues in front of Ikhtiar’s lab grew longer and longer every


-

30
-
rooms operating all across The United Arab Emirates.

As was his ambition, Ikhtiar did not intend to stop here. His
thirst for success and growth was insatiable. Very soon, Pho-
to Magic headed to Morocco as well as Pakistan. In just about
six months, the brothers paid off the loan that they took from
the bank at the inception of their venture which was quite an
extraordinary feat in itself.

Photomagic also became the pioneers in what they call, ‘no-

and Arabic families. Ikhtiar and Ishtiaq Baig hired a team of


specially trained female photographers and editors adher-
ing to certain Royal and Arabic traditions where they do not
want their women to be seen by outsiders.

There are few people who would deny the fact that success
comes at a cost. Photomagic was an established name now
in the region and their reputation was growing. Along with
their regular business, they were also sponsoring fashion
events in several different countries. One such event was
about to stir up a controversy that would not just affect Ikh-
tiar’s business and reputation, but also his entire family in-
cluding his mother whom he had left behind in Pakistan.

31
Controversy and Settlement
It was the year 1982. Photomagic was sponsoring a major fash-
ion event. There were many renowned fashion designers and
models participating in that show. The one who was leading the
event was Betty O’ Connor. Betty had the title of Miss India at
that time and was a celebrity with an extraordinary fan follow-
ing making her the most important personality as compared to
any other model performing in that mega event. Watching Betty
perform gave Ikhtiar a novel idea.

After the show, being one of the sponsors, Ikhtiar was intro-

made a somewhat surprised Betty an offer to join Photomagic.

across from her.

“We just intend to use your name in order to promote our new
company, that’s all.” Ikhtiar offered the simplest possible solu-
tion.

“What’s in it for me?” Betty was all business like.

“What do you have in mind?” Ikhtiar could tell that she was in-
terested.

“Ten thousand Dirham with all the perks and accommodation.”


Betty replied straightforwardly.

Ikhtiar kept looking at Betty for sometime; his number-savvy


mind calculated at the pace of a bullet train.

“Okay, done.” Ikhtiar said with a smile.

32
And just like that he got one of the top celebrities in the world
sign a contract to work for Photomagic. Betty joined Photomag-
ic as the Promotion and Publicity Manager. She personally made
this announcement in a press conference the very next day. The
news took The United Arab Emirates by storm. After all, it was
Miss India who joined a Pakistani company and this was no or-
dinary news. The headlines in many newspapers stated: “Miss
India Joins a Pakistani Firm”

Ikhtiar’s idea paid dividends. Photomagic accumulated even


more popularity after the acquisition of Betty O’ Connor. Her
fans would pour in from all over UAE for her autograph and pic-
tures with her, turning Photomagic into a household name.

This accomplishment, however, did not sit too well with certain
Indian companies operating in The United Arab Emirates. Cer-
tain entities, very strategically, started targeting Betty. She was
under immense pressure to either relinquish her title, or give
up her job with Photomagic. Betty, despite all that, turned out
to be an extremely strong-willed person. Not only she refused
to resign from her job at Photomagic, but also tackled the situa-
tion in a thoroughly professional way.

She made it clear that she would not breach her contract with
Photomagic even at the cost of her title. She insisted upon the
fact that her decision to stick to Photomagic was not merely
because of the money that she got. It was also an enlightening
learning experience and exposure for her that she would cer-
tain she would carry with her throughout her professional life.

Betty’s level-headedness and the ability to think through things


did not go unnoticed. Ikhtiar, who had been a silent spectator
thus far amidst all this chaos as he wanted Betty to make a deci-

made sure that he showed his appreciation at that point for her.

33
Their professional relationship grew stronger than ever which
-
sion and growth of the company.

Betty O’Connor resigned from Photomagic once her contract


was over wishing Ikhtiar Baig and his company the very best of
luck in the future. Even till this day, Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig admits
openly that Photomagic owes a great deal to Betty O’Connor
who contributed a lot during the formative years of the com-
pany.

34
“Women were created from the
rib of man to be beside him ….”
A man can only do so much. Ikhtiar Baig had now experienced
what success tasted like, and he wanted more; wealth, recognition,
power. But it all comes at a cost, a cost that could have been too
much to bear even for the highly ambitious Ikhtiar Baig had his
wife, Noreen Baig, would not have been there beside him.

To the delight of the whole family, Noreen Baig became a bright


new chapter of Ikhtiar Baig’s life in 1983 with the mutual consent
of his sisters, especially, Afreen Baig, and his mother. Whenever Dr
Baig turns around and looks at the obstacles that he had overcame

is his brother, Ishtiaq Baig, who has always been there as a constant
support to him and their conglomerate. However, the other person
who has always stood by him handling the issues of his personal life
that could have impeded his progress substantially is Noreen Baig.

to Dubai. Since it was an arranged marriage, there was a lot that


Noreen had to learn about her husband; his ambitions, occasional
whimsical ways, habits and shortcomings, and most importantly,
the kind of support that he needed from her whether he realized it in
the early goings of their marriage or not. As it happened, she turned
out to be a quick learner.

For instance, she immediately learned that Ikhtiar Baig was not
a regular 9-5 husband. No matter what, he would leave for work
-
utes before 9 a.m., and after that, his return would totally depend on
his work schedule. She never complained. To her, her husband was
like a new book, and she was reading it chapter by chapter in order
to understand it well.

35
Noreen & Ikhtiar, the Bride and the Groom

Ikhtiar & Noreen with their son Omair Baig at his


School's Annual Sports day function

36
Ikhtiar Baig’s Indian friends, Amina and her daughter Farha-
na Nagri, received Noreen in Dubai, renovated the new couple’s
house, and hosted a grand reception for them at Marbella Club in
Sharjah which was attended by a large number of Ikhtiar’s friends
residing in Dubai and Sharjah.

After spending a few weeks in Dubai, the newlyweds went to the


United States of America on their honeymoon where Noreen Baig
proved her sagacity in handling a challenging situation and while

can play a pivotal role in guiding a man towards a wholesome life.

As Mr and Mrs Baig landed in Las Vegas, United States of Amer-


ica and checked in at the Caesar’s Palace, Ikhtiar Baig asked for
Noreen’s permission for something which made her extremely un-
comfortable:

“Although I used to live here when I was studying, I never went to


any casino since amma would have killed me had she found out.
But now that you are with me, I’d like to try my luck this time.”
Ikhtiar asked his wife with a child-like vehemence.

di-
ately, but she checked herself.

“Please promise me that you’d be back in an hour.” She said softly.

“What do you mean? Wouldn’t you come with me?” Ikhtiar was a
bit surprised.

“You didn’t ask for that, Ikhtiar.” Noreen asserted politely.

“Right, I’ll be back in an hour.” Ikhtiar said excitedly as he shut the

37
door behind him.

Exactly after an hour, Noreen Baig heard an excited rap on the door;
she opened it. It was Ikhtiar of course. He was beaming.

“Do you know how lucky you are for me? Every time I played, I
won!” Noreen was still looking for a suitable way to respond when
Ikhtiar added, “If you’d allow me, I’d like to have another go at it.
May I? I promise I’ll be back in an hour again.” He looked at her
beseechingly.

“Last time; one hour only.” Noreen once more suppressed her urge
to stop her husband prudently.

“Righto!” Ikhtiar rushed out of the room once more.

Noreen kept waiting for him to return patiently. She knew she had
to tackle the situation extremely carefully as they were still in the
very early-goings of their marriage, and any impatient or rash deci-
sion on her part could have turned the situation critically sensitive.
Once more, Ikhtiar returned exactly in an hour, but this time, instead
of excited footsteps and knocking, Noreen heard her husband walk-
ing slowly across the lavish corridor, taking out the key-card softly
from his pocket and swiping it while he gently pushed the door
inwards to enter their room.

Noreen Baig did not say anything. She just kept looking at her hus-
band; she wanted him to start the conversation.

“I lost, Noreen. Why did you let me go the second time?” He asked
her innocently.

wrong,

38
then it’s wrong, Ikhtiar. Luck has nothing to do with it. But I want-
ed you to realize that yourself.” Noreen politely stated her point of
view.

Ikhtiar Baig could not have thanked God enough for giving him a
wife like Noreen Baig. He promised his wife that no matter what,

would never happen again. Noreen Baig knew her husband would
keep his promise. And Ikhtiar Baig did not let her down as today,
after thirty-two successful years of their marriage, Noreen Baig can
proudly say that her husband always stayed true to his word.

But it is not just Dr Baig who has played his part in the success of
their nuptial bond alone. The bulk of the contribution, according
to Dr Baig only, has come from his wife. He does not mince any
words in admitting that Noreen Baig has proved to be exception-
ally fortunate to him; she not only brought three beautiful children,
Umair, Anum and Hiya Baig, to their life, but also single-handed-
ly took care of their upbringing as Dr Baig used to be away most
of the times due to his business activities when his children were
growing up. It was Noreen Baig who looked after the children’s
well-being and education, and on top of that, whenever required,
she also proved to be a helping hand to her husband in his business,
participating and handling actively, in the past, as well as even now,
numerous events whenever he is unable to manage due to his hectic
schedule. Today, Noreen Baig holds the distinguished honor of be-

highlight her capabilities and devotion that is a part and parcel of a


multi-faceted personality.

39
40
Ikhtiar & Noreen at Taj Mahal in India
Morocco: Déjà vu

by that time which was quite an achievement since it was


done in a very short time. Kodak, from whom Ikhtiar Baig
had bought NORITSU Quick Labs initially, after witnessing
his dramatic success, approached him with another lucrative
offer: they wanted Photomagic to represent them in North
Africa.

The plan was simple: Ikhtiar had to visit three countries, Al-
geria, Tunisia and Morocco. His task was to study the market
there, make a feasibility report and inform Kodak NORITSU
that which country out of these three would be the best in
terms of business.

“Are you ready for a grand honeymoon all over again?” Ikh-
tiar Baig asked his wife mischievously.

“What do you mean?” Noreen Baig was still in the process


of getting accustomed to her husband’s unconventional and
naughty ways.

“I’ll show you in a few days. Just pack your bags.” Ikhtiar Baig
-
sions.

Baig stepped foot on the Moroccan soil after visiting Algeria


and Tunisia. The history of the country, Moroccans’ love for
Pakistan and Pakistanis, their liberal mindset and culture,
food, and simply the general overall feel of the country ap-
pealed to him so much that he decided to choose Morocco
immediately.

The two widely spoken languages in Morocco are French

41
42
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig with the King of Morroco, Muhammad VI at The Time
of Historical Signing GATT/WTO Agreement at Royal Palace Marakesh in
1994 as a member of the Pakistani Delegation
and Arabic. Although Ikhtiar Baig knew Arabic already, but
he still felt the need to tweak it quite a bit as the Moroccan
dialect was very different from the language spoken in the
United Arab Emirates. And the need was rather a genuine
one indeed as even to tell the chef to cook a chicken, initially,
Ikhtiar Baig had to act like one in order to get his message
across!

It was quite literally déjà vu for Ikhtiar Baig. It seemed as if


he was reliving his life in Dubai. Once more, he relied heavily
on his PR building and people skills, and aggressive market-

Baig was quite different from that carefree, happy-go-lucky

This was a seasoned and polished businessman.

Very soon, he made his presence felt. So much so, that he be-
came a regular visitor of the Royal Palace of Morocco since
he was on excellent terms with the then Crown Prince of Mo-
rocco who is now their current King, H.E. Seedi Mohammed.
Needless to say, this did not happen overnight.

Ikhtiar Baig learned the Moroccan dialect of Arabic from


Fatima Maghdadi who was a highly popular Moroccan sing-
er, and later became a very good friend of Ikhtiar Baig and
his family. Fatima played a vital role in introducing him to
-
ery prominent fraternity of the Moroccan society. Even when
one of the princesses would be getting married, it was Fati-
ma Maghdadi who would be invited by the Royal Family to
entertain the visiting dignitaries at the Royal Wedding.

Another friend, who abetted Ikhtiar Baig a lot, was a fellow


Pakistani, Bi Bi Jani, the daughter of the Ambassador of Pa-
kistan at that time in Morocco, Mr Tayyab Ji. She was also

43
the Crown Prince, H.E. Seedi Mohammed’s class fellow at
his school and later said her vows with an American Sena-
tor who is presently working with the King. She was the one
who introduced the Baig family to the Royal Family of Mo-

He got his company registered; however, it was not an easy


task to acquire the right sort of technical staff in Morocco
since the laborers over there lacked the technical expertise

lab. This is where Ikhtiar Baig’s PR building skills once more


came into play as the government easily granted visas on his
request to many skilled Filipino and Pakistani technicians
living in Dubai with minimum scrutiny.

Lady luck smiled upon Ikhtiar Baig once more as in a very


short time, he managed to do what Kodak had been trying to
do unsuccessfully in North Africa for a very long time. Before
him, nobody could have even dreamt that a Pakistani com-
pany was about to conduct unrivaled business in Morocco
successfully for the next three decades.

44
Roiling Waters Ahead:
Trips to States and Saudi
It is anybody’s guess now that Ikhtiar was not the one who
would allow his life to stagnate. He decided to move to the
United States of America to study further. He had already
completed his Master’s of Business Administration from
there. But he felt that there was still something missing. His
unquenchable thirst for knowledge compelled him to go for
his Doctorate, DBA. The thesis that he chose to undertake
during his Doctorate was an extremely intricate topic titled:
‘The Revival of Sick Industries can Catapult the Economic
Growth of Pakistan: An Empirical Thesis and Case-Study on
Sick Units in Pakistan’

After returning from the USA, Ikhtiar decided that it was high
time he thanked his Creator for all those blessings that had
been bestowed upon him. He had already performed Umrah
and Hajj on multiple occasions as it was his practice to take
his mother to Saudi Arabia every year which he did continu-
ously for fourteen years. But this time, something extremely
special was about to happen.

Once, when he took his mother to Makkah, the tawaf was


stopped for some time as the King of Saudi Arabia wanted
to enter Khana-e-Ka’aba. Watching this captivating sight, a de-
sire stirred deep down in Ikhtiar’s heart: he wanted to enter
Khana-e-Ka’aba. How? When? He did not know. He just longed
for it. How little he knew that Allah Almighty had already
decided to grant his wish a few years down the road.

Ikhtiar, and his brother, Ishtiaq were appointed as Consul


General Yemen and Morocco respectively because of the nu-
merous accolades that they had gathered in their careers.
The call that they got from the Saudi Embassy declaring that

45
they had been invited for the bathing ceremony of Khana-
e-Ka’aba was an extreme honor for the brothers to say the
least. They both were left ecstatic. Now they were to enter
Khana-e-Ka’aba as royal guests.

On their arrival in Makkah, the brothers noticed that the re-


maining guests were all Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings
and Princes of different countries. There were thirty-two
people in all. They were divided into three groups. Ikhtiar’s
group was supposed to enter Khana-e-Ka’aba

Hijr-e-Aswad, the sacred stone. Ikhtiar


kissed it vehemently. But it was the second step that he had
awaited for so many years: entering Khana-e-Ka’aba. The
gatekeeper was the head of the ‘Al-Sha’abi’ clan. They have
been responsible for taking care of Khana-e-Ka’aba since the
time of the great revered Holy Prophet, Muhammad (Peace
be upon Him). Just as Ikhtiar was about to enter, the leader
smiled and said to him in Arabic, “Congratulations to you!”
To this, Ikhtiar responded in Arabic, took a deep breath,
made one last attempt to control his feverishly pounding
heart, and stepped inside Khana-e-Ka’aba.

It was surreal inside. Ikhtiar felt a sweet aroma refreshing


his mind. It took Ikhtiar’s eyes a little time to get used to the
dim light inside Khana-e-Kaába after being in the bright sun-
shine outside. He looked around, spellbound. There were
pots and pans hanging on the pillars that were once used by
the Holy Prophet (PBUH) himself. On the other side, the Holy
Prophet’s (PBUH) prayer-mat was spread out. To Ikhtiar, it

trance, his feet carried him to the prayer-mat; his body threw

became completely oblivious to his surroundings, relatives,


this world, and even himself.

46
Ikhtiar had forgotten every single thing that he had intend-
ed to implore Allah for. He felt as if all that mattered was to

gentle, pleasant breeze in a carefree manner. He felt alive;


he felt a spring of life sprouting powerfully deep within him;
elevating him; liberating him.

Ten minutes went by; his group departed, but he kept sit-
ting there. The second group entered, spent its allotted time
in Khana-e-Ka’aba, and left. The third group followed suit.
Ikhtiar was still there; rooted to his spot. Finally, one of the
caretakers of Ka’aba walked up to him and addressed him in
Arabic again: “May you have a long life; it’s time to leave.”

With eyes still full of tears, he got up, stepped out of Ka’aba,
and started bathing the glorious structure along with others.
The building was washed using rose water, Aab-e-Zam Zam
and white silk. At the end of the ceremony, Ikhtiar was given
as a benediction a piece of Khana-e-Ka’aba’s cover, Aab-e-Zam
Zam and a piece of white silk that was used to clean the walls.
There were many Pakistanis to greet Ikhtiar as he walked
out of Harram. He shredded the piece of cover into as many
pieces as possible and distributed in the people over there.
At that moment, Ikhtiar had discovered that no matter how
much success he accumulates in life, nothing would ever be
able to top what he had just experienced.

47
The Risk Taker is at it again!
Ikhtiar Baig was by this time one of the most prominent
businessmen of Dubai. His business was expanding, the fam-
ily had settled down, and there was a well-set course leading
to even further heights ahead. This was an ideal situation for
any given individual, but not Ikhtiar Baig.

As always, he was restless. For some time, he could not dis-


cern as to what was behind this restlessness. And then it
struck him. He could not see any real big challenge in imme-
diate future. The element that drove Ikhtiar Baig the most
was missing: risk. As hard as it may be to digest for an aver-
age individual, Ikhtiar Baig wanted to accomplish more. He
turned his attention towards his thesis that he did during his
PhD: ‘The Revival of Sick Industry’

This gave him a novel idea. After giving it a bit of thought, he


put his plan forth in front of his wife, Noreen Baig, who did
not hesitate one single bit in rendering her two cents.

“I don’t see how this would work. We are well settled here;
kids are studying at good schools. We can’t disturb that. Be-
sides, the investors in Pakistan are investing in Dubai and
you intend to do the exact opposite!? The circumstances of

are many security issues, and you are planning to make an


investment of billions! It’ll never work.” Incredulous, Noreen
refuted the idea strongly.

Ikhtiar listened to the outburst patiently, smiling all the time,


and then said lovingly to his wife: “It’ll work. I know. My
country is the best place in the world to invest. It just needs
a bit of planning and lots of faith in one’s country. On top of
that, I owe my country a lot. My investment will create many

48
Noreen knew that was the end of discussion. She could see
the determination on his face and now nothing in this world
could persuade him to do otherwise. But Ikhtiar was not the
one who would let his own ambitions hinder others’ lives es-
pecially, his loved ones. He did not force his family to quit
their well-settled lives in Dubai and come to Pakistan. In-
stead, he came alone. He was once more back in the territory
from where it all started. But this time round, things were
different. He was not a carefree youth anymore, but an ur-
bane tradesman; a man on a mission; a man who sought to
do something that everyone else had thought impossible. His
league was about to change forever.

49
The Revival of a Sick ..
Very Sick Industry
Ikhtiar was more focused than ever before in his life. He
knew well that the journey ahead would be a perilous one.
He decided to go back to the basics. Just like the time in
Dubai when he laid the foundation of Photomagic, he again
spent a few months simply observing and studying the eco-
nomic state and market of Pakistan. And then he found what
he was looking for.

After getting the initial paper work done and making an ex-
tensive feasibility report, he started working on a spinning
mill project. It was a sick industry – abandoned by every in-
dustrialist. Ikhtiar’s resolve, however, was unshakable. He

the resucitation of such industries was the only way to vigo-


rate the frail economy of Pakistan.

He initiated the complicated project of restarting a rickety,


shut-down unit, Wahid Spinning, which he bought from the
Bhawani Group after a vigilant analysis of the provided bal-

locate and remove any undisclosed liabilities.

nonfunctional for quite some time and the equipment was


almost in an inoperative condition. On top of that, there were
numerous litigations pending regarding social security (SES-

the previous management.

“It looks really bad. Are you sure about this, sir?” One of Ikh-

50
tiar’s team members asked doubtfully.

brother who was still evaluating the site. “Dead sure.”

-
thing.” The man was still doubtful.

“We’ll get by.” Ikhtiar smiled back at his confused subordi-


nate.

The others were not aware of the fact that Ikhtiar Baig had

that another few months were required to furbish the place


and bring it in working condition. And Ikhtiar Baig was not
willing to wait for that long.

Ikhtiar decided to buy new machinery for the mill. Before


that, however, he paid off the heavy bank loan on the dead
project as he planned to get it listed on the stock exchange
later. Once the machinery had been set-up, the next task was
to hire an adequately skilled staff. Since they were starting
from the scratch, Ikhtiar made sure that he was physically
present during each and every phase of this project. It was
an extremely taxing routine that he followed: every morning
before dawn he would be present at the site making sure that
everything would go smoothly, and then he would travel to
Burn’s Road where he would sit at some street-typing-shop
with the typists working there and get all his paperwork
done. He would leave quite late at night only when he would

The vicious cycle would repeat every day. But it bore results.

In just a matter of a year, what thousands deemed undo-

51
able, turned into a reality as Ikhtiar’s conviction resulted in
a highly lucrative project not just for the Baig family, but the

Ikhtiar was not surprised at all. He knew it all along; he knew


that it was just a matter of time before he achieved his de-
sired outcomes. Little did he know that there was someone
else as well who was observing him intently – very intently.

52
The Big League
It was Pakistan People’s Party that was ruling Pakistan at
that time. Ms Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister. Being
an acute observer that she was, she would never allow any-

sights set on Ikhtiar Baig.

He was invited to an award ceremony by the Government of


Pakistan to confer an award to appreciate his unprecedent-
ed achievement of successfully reviving a sick industry, and
bringing invaluable foreign exchange to Pakistan. When Ikh-
tiar Baig proudly stepped on the stage to receive his award
from Ms Bhutto, the late Mr Hakim Saeed, who was the Gov-
ernor at that time, and the investment board chairman, Mr
Safdar Abbas Zaidi were also standing next to her.

Once the award was handed over to Ikhtiar Baig, Ms Benazir


Bhutto asked him to have a word with her.

“How did you manage to turn a literally dead unit into a


massively lucrative project in such a short time?” Ms Bhutto
was evidently curious, but neither her words, nor her tone

“Ma’am, I did my thesis on the same topic, and I had been


planning to undertake such an assignment for quite some
time. All that I needed was just an opportune moment. I
believe what matters most in such projects is the timing as
one needs to have an absolute understanding of not only the

the factors that turned this unit in a dead one, and by the in-
duction of new technology and machinery, skilled manpow-

working capital, we were able to timely procure good cotton

53
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig receiving SITE Association Awar - 1994,
on foreign investment and revival of sick industry in Pakistan by
Prime Minster of Pakistan Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto

54
which eventually resulted in the production of high quality
yarn.” Ikhtiar responded passionately.

For the next few minutes Ikhtiar Baig explained the possi-
bilities of bringing such sick units back to life which could
result in the production of many jobs and a certain economic
boost which the country badly needed. He further explained
that since the investment had already been done in the ma-
chinery, the infrastructure was ready. It was either due to the

become sick. He also analyzed the possibility of deliberate


defaulters who never had the intentions of running the unit;
instead, they simply took the funds away via over-invoicing.

Ms Bhutto looked closely at Ikhtiar for a few seconds; her


brilliant mind was racing. Yet, her graceful countenance re-
vealed nothing. She had made a decision.

“You would be my special advisor on the revival of dead


industries, Ikhtiar.” She said to Ikhtiar. Then she turned to-
wards Safdar Abbas Zaidi. “Mr Zaidi, set up a meeting with
this young man tomorrow.” And just like that, Ikhtiar was
propelled to the upper echelons of the people running the

But this was merely the inception of the association between


Pakistan People’s Party and Mirza Ikhtiar Baig. There was a
great deal more to come.

In a matter of a few months, Ms Bhutto realized that Ikhtiar


had the potential to be a lot more than just an advisor. He
was performing the tasks rendered to him dutifully, sincere-
-
mance impressed Ms Bhutto. So much so, that whenever she

55
-
dence grew in Ikhtiar’s skills, she decided to put his abilities
to a much, much more cumbersome test.

One day, Ikhtiar was summoned by Ms Benazir Bhutto on an


urgent basis.

“I need to see you immediately, Ikhtiar”, said Ms Bhutto in a


serious tone.

“On my way, BB.” Somehow, Ikhtiar could sense the magni-


tude of the situation.

expecting him. He saw her sitting in her seat, bent over some
papers concentrating hard.

“I’m here, BB.” Ikhtiar announced as he stepped into the of-

“Sit down.” She gave a brief response still going through the
papers laying all over her table.

After a while, she lifted her head up, slid the pile of papers
towards Ikhtiar, looked at him and asked, “What do you think
of this?”

Ikhtiar’s sharp eyes were already scanning the documents


meticulously. It took him just a few seconds to realize what it
was, but he still made sure that he understood it completely.
Ms Bhutto did not like incomplete or incorrect answers. And
now she was looking at him, expectantly; waiting.

Ikhtiar chose his words carefully: “This seems to be the rudi-


ments of …. of the economic agenda …. of Pakistan People’s
….”

56
“Exactly! Rudiments.” Ms Bhutto seemed to be pleased by his
understanding. “To you, these won’t even be the guidelines
as I want you to start from the scratch. Design Pakistan Peo-
ple’s Party’s economic agenda for our country – a complete

abilities.

Yet again, he was at a point where a task far more intricate


and substantial than any that he had ever performed, was
being placed before him. Simply put, the fate of the economy
of the country was being given to him. He was not respon-
sible for just himself or his family anymore. Each and every
one of his decisions and strategies would affect millions liv-
ing in the country. His instincts were right: the magnitude of
the situation was indeed great. It was a humungous respon-
sibility.

For a moment, he contemplated his position. He could say no.


He knew Ms Bhutto would understand. She had to. But then
he felt that oh-so-splendid-and-familiar adrenaline rush that
he had not felt since the time when he came to Pakistan to
invest in a dead industry. This was a challenge with a lot of
risk. Risk. How Ikhtiar missed that.

I can’t risk the future of the entire nation just for the sake of my own
thrill and personal satisfaction.

His wavering mind could not settle down. Finally, he made up


his mind. He would suppress this urge, say no to Ms Bhutto,
and get on with his duties as an Advisor. Just as Ikhtiar was
about to push the pile of papers back towards his beloved
leader, he thought of something that his mother had taught
him. She had always emphasized the importance of self-reli-

57
most importantly, would it not be wasting an opportunity to
better the lives of the multitude?

“You can do it, Ikhtiar.” Ms Bhutto said as if she had read his

“I know, BB. I will.” In a split second, all the confusion and


hesitation had faded away and Ikhtiar had found his focus
once more. He had another challenge to meet.

meet his mother, and ask for her blessings. He went looking
for her in her room. And there she was; slightly weak due to

she was still all the strength in the world that he needed.

“Please pray for me, amma. I’m about to start something very
important; something that would bring about a massive
change in the lives of our people – a good change that is.”
Ikhtiar requested his mother lovingly.

Qudsia Begum looked at him, smiled a little, and said softly,


“May Allah be with you, my son.”

As it was anticipated, the task was by no means a simple one.


It was a project that required an acute analysis of multiple
facets. Ikhtiar studied the economic history of Pakistan thor-

the past, and that which did not; the industries that could be

would be needed; and most importantly, since Pakistan had


had a turbulent history with certain other countries, with
which countries trade would be possible. The factor that
Pakistan shared its boundaries with multiple countries, and

58
some of them were quite notorious for not following inter-
national trade rules, which ultimately could harm trade and
commerce within the country too, also needed to be kept in
mind. On top of all this, Ms Bhutto’s vision to make Pakistan
one of the best countries in terms of employment among
many other domains, was also supposed to be a part of the
agenda of the proposed economic plan.

It was a tough time. Ikhtiar would work day and night, study
things from several different angles, identify the problems,

way!”

“But I need one million.” She would respond unfazed.

“One million is out of question, BB! I’ve tried to work it out


many times.” Ikhtiar would try to convince her.

“It can be done. It requires more work.” Ms Bhutto’s convic-


tion was unshakable.

“All right. Let me try one more time.” Ikhtiar was never the
one to give up easily either.

And one more attempt it would be, and then another, and
then another. Sometimes they would work beyond an av-
erage individual’s capacity. Once, they were working at BB’s
place. He was completely engrossed in his calculations. It
was midnight. He thought he had found a solution. However,
as always, before sharing it with Ms Bhutto, who was sitting
across from him, he wanted to be absolutely sure that it was
the right one. All of a sudden, he felt that their workroom had
gone extremely quiet.

Ikhtiar looked up. Ms Bhutto had dozed off! Her head rested

59
60
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig with Prime Minister of Pakistan
Benazir Buhutto at Madrid Palace, Spain
against her chair. Ikhtiar could not help smiling. He spoke to
Ms Bhutto softly: “BB ….”

“Uh .. What? No one is going to sleep until this is done!!” She


jolted out of her sleep.

“BB, I’m not sleeping. But you must go and rest, please. I have

will give you the complete details in the morning, I promise.


But you must sleep now.” Ikhtiar respectfully promised Ms
Bhutto to convince her to retire to bed.

“I’ll see you in two hours.” Hesitantly, she stood up, looked at

once more. He truly admired his leader and her profession-


alism. He turned his attention back to work.

Ikhtiar’s dedication and hard work later paid dividends.


Their efforts came to fruition when the economic plan that

People’s Party unanimously as their best possible solution to


the economic crises that the country was faced with.

This was a critical time for Ikhtiar. He felt strangely wonder-


ful. His success in Dubai as a banker; then the time when he

came back to his homeland to set up his own manufacturing

could not discern the answer. And then it struck him.

Whatever he had done in his life before this project, had ei-
ther been for himself or his family. But this was different. The
nature of this success was completely polarized to the kind

This was helping out millions in attaining their livelihoods.

61
Ikhtiar’s mind was once again thinking in a different direc-

addiction. He thought it was high time he did something for


the nation on a massive scale. He planned to give back. But
he was forced to wait. Fate was planning something else for
him: a series of catastrophes that would change not just him,
but his entire family forever.

62
A Friend in Need is a
Friend Indeed
While Ikhtiar Baig strived to establish himself as one of the
top industrialists and economists of Pakistan, his childhood
friend, Jahangir Shah, also had a great run. From Abu Dhabi,
he was sent to Egypt, Miami and many other places as he also
proved himself as a suave banker and enjoyed a great deal of
success.

While progressing in their respective careers, the old friends


were not able to see each other frequently now. Howev-
er, they were always in touch keeping track of each other’s
progress and well-being.

Somewhere in mid 90s, the bank where Jahangir Shah was


employed, BCCI, collapsed leaving thousands of their em-
ployees stranded. Some of them chose to compromise on
their positions and designations and went for smaller jobs
in the countries wherever they were, while others chose to
head back to Pakistan. Jahangir Shah was one of the return-
ing ones.

This was one of the worst phases of his life. Granted, it is not
an easy task to labor one’s way to the top, but once one has
experienced the glory and position that success can bring, it
becomes almost impossible to survive if one hits the bottom
again. Jahangir Shah had hit the bottom.

would call was Ikhtiar Baig. The old friends would meet up,
visit their common friends and party like teenagers. But not
this time. It was different this time. Jahangir Shah was almost
broken; he had lost a position that thousands dreamt of. Like
Ikhtiar Baig, he also had a family now and was responsible

64
for providing for them.

Ikhtiar Baig was not unaware of the situation. This time, he


called Jahangir Shah and asked him to come to his place. Ja-
hangir Shah did.

“Just because we haven’t spoken in a while doesn’t mean


that I don’t know what’s going on, J.” Ikhtiar Baig started
once Jahangir Shah had settled down. “I know that you’ve
been going through a tough phase. I’m sorry that I didn’t con-
tact you earlier.”

“Didn’t know you were spying on me, Ikhti!” Jahangir Shah


faked surprise jestingly.

Ikhtiar Baig chose his words very carefully: “I’ve been plan-
ning something for a while. I was just waiting for the right
time and I believe now is the right time. I have a business
proposal for you and I want you to hear me out completely. I
am about to start a leasing company and I want you to be at
the helm.”

Jahangir Shah kept thinking for a while. His speech was a lit-
tle slower than usual as he began to speak: “It is very kind of
you indeed to make such an offer, but this would be a favor
too big to return. I’m proud of having you as my friend – my
best friend that is – but I think there are other things to con-
sider as well here. First, I don’t have that kind of investment.
Second, it is an extremely important position and someone
more experienced than me is needed.”

Ikhtiar Baig brushed every argument aside in a few simple


sentences: “First, this is not a favor; you would do the same
for me. Second, if you want to take it that way, then you must
remember as I do that it was your father who got me going in

65
Your arguments regarding the investment and experience
are valid. The minimum investment for this project would
be hundred million Pak rupees; I’ll try to arrange that. And
as far as experience is concerned, you can recommend one
of your seniors and we’ll hire him, but I need you with me in
this. No further arguments please.”

Jahangir Shah worked at Ikhtiar Baig’s Pak-Gulf Leasing

made sure that his friend was well looked after. When Jahan-
gir Shah got an opportunity to work at the Oman Investment
Bank, as always, he discussed it with Ikhtiar Baig. It was mu-
tually decided that it would be even better for his career if he
moved abroad once more. With lots of prayers from Qudsia
Baigum, and a promise to stay in touch, Jahangir Shah once
-
tiar Baig had a heavy heart when he went to see his friend off,

time of need, he could do something for his dearest friend.

66
Ishtiaq Baig Loses his
Better Half
Pakistan’s celebrated history is full of the talented people
that this glorious land has produced over the years. Amongst
such sons and daughters of Pakistan who made their moth-
erland proud, there is a name that enjoys a unique position
in the music industry of Pakistan: Nazia Hasan.

Along with her brother, Zohaib Hasan, she single-handedly


revolutionized the entire Pop music industry of Pakistan giv-
ing a number of super hit albums that brought her interna-
tional recognition and fame. So much so, that she was posted
as the youngest representative of Pakistan at the United Na-
tions Organization.

When Nazia Hasan was diagnosed with cancer, her world


started falling apart. She had to go under the knife in order
to get it removed. It was Ishtiaq Baig who, despite knowing
that Nazia was under treatment, decided to go ahead with
their marriage as planned. The couple started off their life
happily when they went to Venice, Italy on their honeymoon.
Things became slightly complicated when Nazia expressed
her desire to conceive against the advice of the doctors.

After a great deal of resistance keeping Nazia’s health in


view, Ishtiaq Baig gave in to Nazia’s constant, unwavering
insistence, and the couple was blessed with a beautiful baby
boy, Arez, who is studying in the UK nowadays. Those happy
moments did not last very long as what Ishtiaq Baig and the
doctors dreaded came true: Nazia’s health started deterio-
rating and the odds of her survival thinned every minute.

to get her the best possible treatment. They stayed in their

67
house in London for as long as Nazia’s treatment lasted. Ev-
ery day, Ishtiaq Baig would tell Nazia that they would soon
go back to Karachi where he was getting a new house con-
structed with a mini-Venice in it to commemorate their hon-
eymoon.

Regrettably, Nazia never got to see that house. On August 13,


2000, Nazia left her grieving husband and the rest of their
family shattered. Ishtiaq Baig returned to Karachi where he
resumed his business activities once more that he had been
away from for months.

Ikhtiar Baig remembers Nazia Hasan as someone who was


highly intelligent, talented and caring. He used to discuss not
just his familial issues with her at length, but also the polit-
ical ones. When Nazia Hasan was in Dubai, she developed a
very strong friendship with Benazir Bhutto due to her acute
observation and knowledge regarding national and interna-
tional affairs. The aftermaths of her death on the Baig family
are irreversible.

68
When a Loved One
Departs – Forever
The entire Baig family especially, Ikhtiar Baig’s parents, Mr
Mirza Mushtaq Baig and Qudsia Baigum, prided on the fact
that they were blessed with six daughters. The idea of raising
their daughters in the shadow of their sons never crossed
their minds even once. They believed in equity and equal op-
portunity amongst all of their offspring. That is why all their
daughters turned out to be very well-spoken, educated la-
dies when they entered adulthood. One of Ikhtiar’s sisters,
Afreen Baig, however, outshone the rest.

Since her childhood, she showed signs of being a natural


sportswoman as well as someone who was exceptionally
good at planning and strategizing. On top of that, she was
also a pretty strong-headed individual who did not hesitate
to speak her mind eloquently and possessed the ability to
take her own decisions. In short, she had all the characteris-
tics needed to be an accomplished business person.

With most of her sisters now enjoying the nuptial bond, it


was Afreen’s turn to follow suit. But she had other plans. She
yearned to follow in the footsteps of her brothers by foraying
into business. With a very strong interest in the entertain-
ment industry, Afreen intended to get into drama production.

She started doing her homework by accumulating informa-


tion about various aspects related to the drama industry.
Once that was done, she prepared an extensive feasibility re-
port to estimate the cost of her proposed venture. Last, in an

69
not help but feel very, very proud of his baby sister. But as
always, Ikhtiar kept himself in check:

“Seems workable.” He said cautiously, with his eyes glinting


naughtily.

“Seems workable! Bhai! It IS going to work! I’m telling you!”


Afreen replied passionately.

Afreen’s dedication and commitment won over her brother.


After facing some initial resistance from several elders of
the family, the siblings were able to convince everyone that
Afreen’s dream of producing a drama serial could easily ma-
terialize without bringing the name of the family into disre-
pute.

And so it began. It seemed as if Afreen was born for this busi-


ness. She started her own production house by the name of
Baig Productions and never looked back. With her brothers’
-
cess after success in her production career. In a matter of just
a few years, Baig Productions produced highly acclaimed
and expensive plays like Anarkali, Kabhi Kabhi Pyar Main, Kiya
Yehi Pyar Hai and Chandni Raatain featuring and reintroducing
the likes of Faryal Gohar. Most of her serials got the presti-
gious Lux Style Awards for being the best serial of the year. It
was only a matter of time before her reputation grew beyond
the borders of Pakistan and several directors from across the
border offered their services to work with her.

“All this would never have been possible without you and
Ishtiaq bhai.” Afreen once said thankfully to her brother, Ikh-
tiar Baig.

70
“It is your hard work. I’m just a guide. You deserve it, sister.”
Ikhtiar truly felt happy for his sister and her success.

Their felicity, however, turned out to be short lived.

Afreen Baig got married to a media professional and con-


tinued with her professional activities successfully. She was
in the middle of one of the most expensive dramas that had
ever been produced in Pakistan, Anarkali, when catastrophe
struck.

The news hit the whole family like a bolt of lightning: Afreen
Baig was mysteriously found dead in her bungalow one

to believe that her daughter, her innocent little baby girl, was
gone – forever. It took a while before it sank in. Ikhtiar’s re-

while the brothers made sure that they keep consoling their
sisters as much as they could. Ishtiaq Baig would sometimes,
however, give in to his emotions, but Ikhtiar, being the eldest,
knew very well that he had to stay in control. He could not af-
ford to lose his composure as that would have spelled doom
for his already broken and battered family.

Ikhtiar made sure that he paid a lot of attention to his mother


since her grief was the deepest. Being now a father himself,
he could very well comprehend the feelings of his mother. It

and blood sleeping eternally. Then, of course, he had to see to


his sisters who were left terribly out of sorts to say the least
as a result of this tragedy. Afreen’s departure had created a

After a few weeks of his sister’s death, when his mother and

71
siblings had somewhat started coming to terms with life,
-
thing that he had been looking forward to doing for quite
some time. He mused on the situation trying to look deep
down within him. While taking care of everyone, he had al-

Slowly and gradually, he realized that a part of him was gone.


Over the years, of all his sisters, Afreen had come closer to
him the most.

A few tears painfully fought their way out of Ikhtiar’s closed

since her death. It was painful. “I will beat you today, bhai
.. amma has allowed me to choose a bride for you .. all this
would never have been possible without you, bhai ..”

The thoughts were killing him; reverberating throughout his


aching head. Vindictive memories encumbered his already
heavy heart while he tried to calm his nerves in vain.

A few hours and tears later Ikhtiar felt slightly better. His sis-
ter was gone now and he had to learn to live with it. A gentle
rap on his door brought him back from his reverie.

“Coming.” He said softly.

He got out of his easy chair, checked himself in the mirror,


straightened his shirt, splashed cold water on his face and
got ready to leave his room. He could not stop; he could not
mourn. His job was far from over as there was still a lot that
needed to be addressed.

After Afreen Baig’s demise, Ikhtiar and Ishtiaq Baig complet-


ed their sister’s incomplete drama serial, Anarkali, as they felt

72
Qudsia Baigum could not hold her tears back when she went
to attend the launch ceremony of Anarkali organized by ARY.
Ikhtiar and Ishtiaq Baig feel proud of the fact that their sis-
ter’s hard work paid off as Anarkali turned out to be one of
the most successful serials in the history of Pakistan’s drama
industry.

73
A Brand New Career and
another Major Loss
By this time, it goes without saying that Ikhtiar Baig had
proved his worth to Pakistan People’s Party beyond the
shadow of any doubt. His abilities were well appreciated not
just by Ms Bhutto, but the entire top tier lot of the party. For
this very reason, almost everyone got involved when Ikhtiar
Baig initially said no to Ms Bhutto’s proposal of running a
campaign for the constituency of NA 250.

“I want you to contest for NA 250, Bilawal House constitu-


ency, Ikhtiar.” Ms Bhutto was as upfront and matter-of-fact
as ever.

“Me? BB, I’m a hardcore businessman and economist. What


do I know of politics? Besides, it’s a dirty system. I don’t think
I want to be a part of it.” Ikhtiar was a little taken aback.

Benazir Bhutto looked at him closely for some time. She


knew Ikhtiar Baig could be hard to convince at times; espe-
cially, when he looked so resolute. She chose her words care-
fully:

“I agree with what you say. To change the system, one has to
be a part of the system. We need good people to bring about
a good change. Of all the people, you should be able to see
that.”

Ikhtiar’s mind was elsewhere though. He was still hung up


on the satisfaction that he felt when his propounded eco-
nomic plan created jobs for thousands of people. Apart from
his corporate activities, he only wanted to focus on some of
his personal projects that he had planned. His agenda at the

74
the needy. He was also assisting Ishtiaq Baig who was in the
middle of some intense negotiations with The Make-A-Wish
Foundation Int’l USA which was an organization granting
the wishes of the terminally ill children all across the globe –
sans Pakistan. Ishtiaq Baig wanted them to start their activ-

for Pakistan. But all this needed his undivided attention.

I can’t get distracted now. There’s a lot that I must do and it would
only materialize if I remain focused.

“I can’t do it, BB. I don’t think I’m cut out for this; at least, not
in this point of time.” As much as Ikhtiar despised saying no
to his beloved leader, he did. He knew he was doing the right
thing.

But Pakistan People’s Party was not about to let up so easi-


ly. At this juncture, Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Raza Rabbani,
Naheed Khan, and a few other renowned senior PPP poli-
ticians got involved. At the end, even Ikhtiar did not know
whether it was everyone’s insistence or Ms Bhutto’s disap-
pointment that convinced him to say yes. It was only when
some time had passed he realized that by making him take
that decision, fate had been very cruelly kind to him.

This was the year 2007, the year when Ms Bhutto decided to
end her self-exile, and come back to Pakistan. Realizing the
importance of the seat of NA 250 – which was also known
as the Bilawal House seat amongst all PPP workers – Ms
Bhutto decided to become a part of the campaigning herself
and start right from the airport only. So much so, that she
decreed all her workers to put on caps mentioning Ikhtiar
Baig’s name and constituency. She did the same herself.

As the elections loomed closer, the party got to have a bet-


ter idea of the competition for this particular constituency.

75
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Central Leader PPP addressing a
rally on 1st March 2009 at Bagh, Azad Kashmir.

76
It was decided that an alliance would be made with Pakistan
Muslim League Nawaz Group in order to bolster the chances
of victory. Once more, keeping the credentials and reputa-
tion of Ikhtiar Baig, he was chosen as the sole joint candidate
of both the political giants.

Benazir Bhutto was made. It was a close call, but fortunately,


she survived as the bombs that exploded near her proces-
sion, did not harm her. The entire Pakistan People’s Party
was shaken in the wake of that atrocious incident. Howev-
er, there was an even greater problem to be tackled: Benazir
Bhutto was scheduled to appear personally to sign the nom-
ination papers in front of the Sind Election Commissioner.
Under such drastic circumstances, another attempt to assas-
sinate her was inevitable.

All the senior leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party includ-


ing Naheed Khan, Sherry Rehman, Raza Rabbani, Dr Fehmi-

Shah and Rehman Malik were unanimous that Ms Bhutto


should not go personally to sign the papers as it was ex-
tremely dangerous. Ikhtiar Baig’s opinion was no different.
However, it appeared to be unavoidable.

When nobody could come up with a solution, Ikhtiar Baig


decided to speak to his friend, Kanwar Dilshad who was the
Secretary Election Commission at that time. Miraculously,
and to the relief of everyone, Ikhtiar was able to get Benazir
Bhutto’s personal appearance to sign the papers waived off.
Instead, it was decided that the papers will be signed at Bila-
wal House. On Mr Rehman Malik’s advice, Ikhtiar got this in
writing as well.

The campaigning resumed once more and was in full swing

77
A memorable picture of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto
sporting a cap with the name of Dr Baig during the election
campaign on October 18, 2007

78
when the unthinkable occurred: the assassination of Bena-
zir Bhutto. It seemed as if Ikhtiar Baig was hit with a ton of
bricks. He never wanted to step into politics. He only did that
for his beloved mentor, Ms Bhutto. And now she was gone.
He, along with thousands of other political workers, was left
stranded.

At Ms Bhutto’s funeral in Naudero when Mr Nawaz Sharif


came to pay his condolences, he spoke to Ikhtiar gravely:

“I’m glad I did what she asked me to do by withdrawing our


candidate, Saleem Zia, against you in NA-250. I never knew it
would turn out to be her last request to me.”

Ikhtiar Baig just stared back at Mr Nawaz Sharif with an ex-


pressionless face. He did not know how to respond. In an as-
sociation that spanned for two decades, he had got so used to
Ms Bhutto, her feedback, guidance and over all presence that
it was now almost impossible to imagine that they would
have to proceed without her.

Glad .. last request.

Silently, he read the last text that Ms Bhutto had sent him. It
stated:

“I hope you R happy now. U must win this Bilawal House


seat.”
His only consolation at this point was the fact that he agreed
to venture into politics when his dearly loved leader asked
him to do so as it turned out to be her last request to him.
Now that she was gone, the mere thought of saying no to her
would have rendered his wits numb. Yes, he was glad too

Bhutto.

79
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Textile Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig with
Former Governor Punjab Salman Taseer at Governeor House Lahore

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig with Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz


Shareef at the Punjab Investment Conference in Karachi.

80
The Analyst and His
Pakistaniat
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig’s reputation had grown throughout the
world not just as an entrepreneur, economist and writer, but
also as an analyst. He was constantly being invited by differ-
ent television channels for interviews and analyses.

In one of his interviews with a television channel, while an-


swering a question directed towards the chaotic situation
that Pakistan is faced with, Ikhtiar Baig analyzed the trouble-
some situation so accurately – more importantly, truthfully –
that his views were accepted by every patriot and true child
of Pakistan wholeheartedly:

“The way I see it, the problem originates from General Zia ul
Haq’s policies. Since then, we have been entangled drastical-
ly in a situation that has turned this country into an absolute
warzone which makes it almost impossible that foreign in-
vestors invest here. Second, we do not have enough electric-
ity; the demand is there, but the supply is not. The system is
bound to crash. Third, Pakistan has had an extremely dismal
history when it comes to true leaders. We’ve had a lack of
that; a good leader is needed.”

Being the one who always looks to solve problems and not
just highlight them, Ikhtiar Baig also provided the solutions
to one of the biggest problems that have been tormenting
Pakistan for more than a decade now:

“We must carry on with the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project. We


must also import LNG gas and the terminal to do so should
be constructed on an immediate basis. In addition to that, a
great deal of priority should be given to certain alternative

82
sources of energy such as Thar coal and Chashma three and
four projects by China. Moreover, the good news is that in
Sind we have discovered shell gas reserves; we must focus on
that. The downside is that there is a special kind of technolo-
gy required to extract and reserve that gas; we must acquire
that. Last, medium and small hydro-plants should be built to
extract energy from water. If we could do all this, then tenta-
tively speaking, in about three years or so, we would be able
to overcome this energy crisis that has been perturbing the
whole nation for years.”

Addressing a question on the inconsistency prevalent in the


economic strategizing of the political parties that have ruled
Pakistan over the years, Ikhtiar Baig gave a perfectly practi-
cal and plausible solution:

“If we could have a Charter of Democracy, then why can we


not have a Charter of Economy? That way, every government
would be bound to continue on with the economic policies
that would be formulated by experts in the light of their ex-
pertise and experience rather than following somebody’s
personal vendetta blindly.”

Once, when Ikhtiar Baig was asked a question related to all


the negative elements that beset Pakistan today, the world
got to see Ikhtiar Baig’s emotional, patriotic side live on tele-
vision:

“The problem with us is that we undermine the reputation


of our country ourselves. Why do we do that? Pakistan is the
second largest exporter of yarn; second largest producer of
salt and hummus; third largest producer of fabric; fourth

sixth largest producer of rice; seventh largest producer of

83
84
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig with President of Kazakistan at
Palace of Nation, Dushanbe.

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman, PAK-U.A.E trade and Industry Committe


of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Indusrty at 8th joint
Ministrial Commission held at Abu Dhabi, received by Sheikh Hamdan Bin
Zayed Al-Nahyan , Ministry of State for Foreign Affairs, U.A.E and Gohar
Ayoub Khan Foreign Minister of Pakistan before the JMC meeting.

85
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig with Highness Prince Krim Agha Khan.

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Federal Advisor Textile, Government of Pakistan


and Director World Federation of COnsuls with H. E. Benigno S. Aquino III,
President of the Republic of Philippines after his meeting at Malacanan
Palace, Manila.

86
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Dean Hon. Consular Crops Sindh
and Director World Federation of Consuls with Senator
A. J. Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign
Trade Jamaica in Kingston

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, President Consular Corps Sindh with


His Highness Crown Prince Alexander and Her Highness
Princess Katherine at the Royal Palace, Belgrade Serbia.

87
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Banking,
Credit & Finance with MD IMF H.E. Christine Lagarde, Finance Minister
Senator Ishaq Dar & Governor SBP Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, Dy Governor
SBP Saeed Ahmad & CDC Representative in Pakistan at their meeting on
National Economy Review in Islamabad on October 2016.

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Dean Hon . Consular Corps Sindh and Director World
Federation of Consuls presenting Memento to H. E. Sir Patrick Allen, Gov-
erner General and Head of State of Jamaica Kings Palace, Kingdom. Also
seen Honorable Arnold Foote, President World Federation of Consuls.

88
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Central Leader Pakistan People’s Party
& Chairman Baig Group receiving Chief Minister Sindh Syed
Murad Ali Shah.

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Federal Advisor Textile Government of


Pakistan and Director World Federation of consuls (FICAC)
addressing at the Union Parliment in Brussels. Also seen Eco-
nomic Minister Qasim Nawaz and Commercial consular Aisha
Sayed Pakistan Embassy EUC Brussels.

89
Abdul Rauf Alam President FPCCI along with S.M.Muneer
CEO TDAP inaugurationg Baig Tower at Shahra-e-Faisal on
28th January 2016, alos seen Iftikhar Ali Malik Chairman
UBG, Dr, Mirza Ikhtiar Baig & Ishtiaq Baig of Baig Group &
Commissionaer Karachi, Syed Asif Haider Shah

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig President Hon. Consular CORPS Sinsh


& Former Advisor to PM on Textile with the her excellency
Ameenah Gurib Fakim President of Republic of Mauritius at a
meeting in Karachi on 19th April’16

90
tons of coal mines and this tonnage is more than the collec-
tive coal and oil resources of Saudi Arab and Iran! Being the

the world. This nation has produced youngsters like Arfa


Kareem, Sharmeen Obaid and Ali Nawazish amongst many
other remarkable individuals. Despite all this, if one still
has a pessimistic or cynical approach towards this majestic
homeland of ours, then I must say it is not the right or logical
attitude by any means.”

“Moreover, look at the percentage of our population; it is


a perfect combination of youth and experience with sixty
percent being youngsters and the remaining forty percent
retired people. This is the exact opposite of what we get to
observe in Europe and the United States of America where it
is just thirty percent youngsters and the remaining seventy
percent are retired individuals. Just imagine the possibilities
of propelling this vibrant youth which constitutes the bet-
ter part of our population in the right direction. The results
would be far better than what can be imagined. We just need
to get them focused.”

Ikhtiar Baig’s vehement expressions were seen across the


country by millions during this short monologue of his while
he spoke of his country, and it was evident to everyone that
he had strayed far, far away from the conscious oration that
is a specialty of diplomats and politicians as he dug deep
down within his heart which consequently brought forth the
profound and spontaneous emotions that were instilled in
him and his siblings years back by his mother, Qudsia Bai-
gum, for his homeland, Pakistan.

91
When a Boy becomes a Man
Over the course of this extensive history of mankind, it has
been proven again and again that a pen is always stronger
than a sword; a thinker or a philosopher is more effective
than a mighty general; and a writer is more persuasive than
any ruling body. Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, as unconventional as
he may be, never went against history as far as this particu-
lar fact is concerned.

do something for the youth of Pakistan, Ikhtiar Baig decided


to document his views for the guidance of the masses. He
had been writing articles on the political and economic state
of the country for the last thirteen years in Jang and other
dailies of Pakistan, but now he thought was the time to take
it a step beyond that and write a few books that would be
available free of cost in different universities and colleges so

visiting numerous universities such as the National Defense


University, NIPA, Bahria University, SZABIST and several oth-
er educational institutions on an honorary basis to deliver
lectures on the economic and national issues, budget, trade
policies and various other topics.

Over a span of a mere three years, Ikhtiar Baig successfully


-
derway. The launch of Ikhtiar Baig’s second book, ‘Shehrag
– Hissa-e-Dom’, was held on November 16, 2008. The Prime
Minister of Pakistan at that time was Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani
who graced the occasion with his respectable presence. The
event took place in the Chief Minister House where some of
the elite politicians like Shehla Raza, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Pir
Mazhar-ul-Haq and Ali Nawaz Shaikh were all present. The
Prime Minister of the liberated Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar

92
Atiq Ahmed Khan and Zahid-ul-Mulk came from Islamabad
to Karachi just to attend the book-launch. Apart from these
-
liamentarians, scholars and businessmen were there to ap-
preciate the services of Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig. Almost every
prominent personality from the print and electronic media
was there to cover this remarkable launching ceremony as it
was telecasted live across the country.

However, keeping all this grandeur aside, the most nota-


ble and honorable personality to Ikhtiar Baig who came to
witness the noble step that he was taking despite her ail-
ing health, was his mother, Qudisa Baigum. Throughout
the event, Qudisa Baigum could not control her tears of joy
which she kept trying to hide unsuccessfully. Her little bun-
dle of joy whom she had nurtured and cared for throughout
her life had today made her proud. Although she had never
been very vocal about it, but Qudsia Baigum had always been
proud of her son. His remarkable academic achievements,
his business feats, his political and diplomatic success, and

gave him so much; this is what she had dreamed of; this is
what she had lived for; this is what she had always wanted

dreams.

On the whole, the mood of the event was quite light-hearted.


During his opening speech, Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig addressed
some of the problems that he had faced while moving ahead
through his writing career, and how he overcame those
problems. He was all praises for his mother and wife with-
out whose support it would have been impossible to achieve
what he had achieved that day.

“I would work till quite late at night in order to collect data

93
Deputy Speaker Sindh Assembly, Shehla Raza, Prime Minister
Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah,
Qudsia Begum and Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig.

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig Adviser to the Prime Minister on Textile


with Honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yousuf Raza
Gilani on his recent visit to Islamabad on 13th January 2011

94
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, former Advisor to PM presenting his
biography ‘A Limitless Pakistani’ to the Honorable Governor
Sindh Muhammad Zubair 25th Feb’17 on his visit to Baig
Tower.

Governor Sindh H.E. Muhammad Zubair paid a courtesy visit


to Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig Chairman Baig Group on 25th Feb’17
at his of�ice at Baig Tower.

95
96
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group with Prime Minister
Nawaz Shariff at a recent meeting at Governor House Karachi on 14th March’17.
and meet my deadlines, and Noreen would keep asking me
to switch the lights off so that she could sleep peaceful-
ly; I would keep telling her that I’d do so in a bit until she
would fall asleep with the lights still switched on. Finally, she
stopped complaining as she got used to my routine.” Dr Mir-
za Ikhtiar Baig told the audience from the rostrum with a
smile as he looked at Noreen Baig appreciatively.

To this, Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani replied with a laugh: “Well, I


never disturbed my wife while writing my book as I wrote
it in prison.” On a serious note, he quoted a famous Europe-
an scholar and requested Ikhtiar Baig to add this quote to
his book as well: “If all the crowns of Europe are offered to
me on this condition that I should quit reading books, then I
would go for the latter.”

Opining further on the services of Ikhtiar Baig, Mr Yousuf


Raza Gilani shed light upon a few concrete facts: “Econo-
my is the spinal cord of any country. Whatever predictions
that Dr Baig has been making in his columns over the years
regarding international crisis and depression, soaring oil
prices, shortage of electricity, a few incorrect policies, op-
erations of different industries in Pakistan, import, export,
agriculture and stock exchange, have come true. This proves
his foresightedness and also depicts that how strong a grip
Dr Baig has on economy. I thoroughly appreciate his efforts
and also congratulate him on becoming the Federal Advisor
for textiles.”

Later, Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani also met Ikhtiar Baig’s mother,


wife and brother, and congratulated them as well on the suc-
cess of their most celebrated family member.

Out of the many speakers who came to deliver speeches after


Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani, a prominent economist, who is him-

97
98
Dr Baig, Federal Advisor Textile, Government of Pakistan with the Prime Minister of
Pakistan, Mr Gillani at the PM House
self a regular columnist, analyzed the economic approach
and writing style of Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig as follows:

“He holds a mirror to reality as his columns are based on


complete objectivity with not even an iota of subjectivity
anywhere. The language that he uses is quite simple as he
avoids jargons as much as possible which makes his col-
umns understandable for everyone. Moreover, Dr Baig bases

analysis approach which gives us a clear picture regarding


the economic state of Pakistan and what is happening world-
wide.”

their causes, but also provides solutions while suggesting


strongly to always having a result oriented approach. Some-
how, Dr Baig has been accepted unanimously by almost ev-
ery businessperson in the country today to represent the
business fraternity of Pakistan. Perhaps, the reason behind
this acceptance is the positivity, impartiality, realism and
optimism which are quite evidently widespread in Dr Baig’s
columns. In the end, we must also acknowledge and appre-
ciate the fact that throughout his writing career, which now
spans over a decade, Dr Baig has never charged anyone a sin-
gle penny for his writings.”

While looking at the smiling faces of the people around him


and listening to their passionate discussions regarding his
book, Ikhtiar Baig had already gathered this much that al-
though the target readers in his mind were mainly the stu-
dents and youngsters with an interest in economics, his
book will be read and used as a guide by the scholars, trad-
ers, industrialists and most importantly, the economic policy
makers of Pakistan. This would mean that now there was an
added burden of responsibility on his shoulders. Every year,

99
100
Prime Minsiter of Pakistan Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani launching Sheh Rug Part II written by Dr Mirza
Ikhtiar Baig on 16th Nov. 2008. Also seen Chief Minister Sindh and Sr. Minister for Education
the economic conditions of the world would change and he
would need to update his knowledge as well as others con-
stantly which basically meant that he could not stop writing
now. With his book in his hand, Ikhtiar Baig made a silent
promise to himself: “I would do everything in my power to

in a day to enlighten and update my countrymen.”

Towards the end of the event, when most of the guests had
departed, Ikhtiar Baig and his family were ushered into the
chambers of the Chief Minister. Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani await-
ed them there. He wanted to meet the whole family once
more and speak to everyone personally. Although, the event
had ended, but their meeting was far from over as Noreen
Baig had organized a dinner and ghazal programme back at
the Baig House.

The Prime Minister, interim Governor and the Chief Minister


all accompanied the Baig family to their house where they
were later joined by the Commerce Minister, Mr Amin Fa-
him, who came specially to congratulate Ikhtiar Baig on the
launch of his book.

After the dinner, when all the guests had taken their leave
and the house was quiet again, the Baig family prepared to
retire to bed as it had been a long and exhausting day. As was
his usual routine, Ikhtiar Baig went to see Qudsia Baigum in
her room before going to bed. She was waiting for him.

“Amma, why aren’t you in bed? I just came to say shab bakhair.
Go to sleep now please; it has been a really tiring day.”

Years of hard work, planning and thinking had taken its toll
on Ikhtiar Baig’s mother. She had grown very weak and been
facing health issues for quite a few years. She did not say

101
102
Governor Punjab Ch. Muhammad Sarwar at the Launch of Dr Baig's froth book "Pakistan Aur Muashi
Haqqaiq". Also seen Chief Secretary Sindh Sajjad Hotiana and Consul General of USA Michael Dodman
anything. Instead, she simply gestured Ikhtiar to come clos-
er who immediately stepped towards his mother and helped
her stand up. Qudsia Baigum quietly put her arms around
her son’s neck and embraced him tightly; a few tears rolled
down her cheeks. Even Ikhtiar Baig felt his own eyes going
a little moist. Her mother had strange ways of showing her
affection and appreciation.

“Proud of you, Ikhtiar”, Qudsia Baigum said weakly as she


held her son close to her. Ikhtiar Baig could feel that his
mother’s hands were shaking a little. He knew she was very
tired. She had stayed up till that late just to speak to him.

He helped her get into the bed; pulled her duvet over her;
grabbed a chair and sat next to his mother’s bed with her
hand in his. She fell asleep almost immediately; her expres-
sions were serene; she was at peace. Quietly, Ikhtiar Baig
stood up, switched the lights off and shut the door softly be-
hind him while his mother slept soundly.

found its way out. Ikhtiar Baig was happy; very, very happy.

103
The Philanthropy Begins
It is pure human nature that if one has so much splendor in
one’s life as Ikhtiar Baig did, one might tend to turn blind –
advertently or inadvertently – to those sections of the soci-
ety that deserve the attention and care of the successful and

had plans to bring about a positive change in the lives of the


underprivileged people, but due to his immense workload
and extraordinarily hectic schedule, especially during his
formative years, he had not been able to properly devise and
map out a comprehensive strategy to do something for the
slums of Pakistan. One way or the other, he had been tied up
with something which would, despite his willingness to go

noble cause, as had been the case throughout Ikhtiar Baig’s


life, came from his mother, Qudsia Baigum, who instructed
him to set aside everything, and be practical about what he
had been planning, but not doing.

Ikhtiar Baig started a trust which was named after his moth-
er, Qudisa Trust. They focused solely on the slums of the city
where their services were needed the most. During their sur-
vey, when they went to areas like Korangi, Chamra Chowrangi
etcetera, they found out that how cruel life could be at times;
and not only for the people living in those areas, but also for
the people like them who had the means to set a lot of things
right, and yet, they delayed it. Their hearts wrenched; seeing
so much poverty around them, and knowing that so many

it was indeed extremely saddening that those who were in


dire need of help, were totally unattended. The Baig brothers
intended to set this right – as much as they possibly could.

Being brought up by an educated mother who emphasized

104
105
Attending sick children on Eid wih Omair & Anum
the importance of formal secular and religious education

that Qudsia Trust took was to make an attempt to educate


the poor children. Many schools, mosques and dispensaries
were set up in order to abet the people living in poor locali-
ties and the trust made sure that the students were offered
incentives and prizes whenever they achieved something
out of the ordinary.

On the 27th of every Ramadan, Ikhtiar Baig, along with his


son and nephew, would always make sure that every reli-
gious institution run and supported by the trust was visited

Quran, or memorized it, then the student would be rewarded


accordingly.

-
ery year Dr Baig makes sure that he visits several communi-
ties and discusses their issues and achievements with their
elders so that the standard of teaching can be maintained
and improved at the religious schools.

Needless to say that this brought a great deal of satisfaction


to the entire family, however, they had no clue that this was
nothing in comparison to the experience that awaited them
in the future which would change the lives of millions as well
as the whole perspective of the Baig family on humanity for-
ever.

106
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Federal Advisor on Textile & Cen-
tral Leader PPP visited Ahsanabad Flood Relief Camp

107
Those Who Die with a Smile
The bigger break in philanthropy for the Baig brothers came
when Ishtiaq Baig managed to bring Make-A-Wish Founda-
tion, an international organization, to Pakistan and asked
Ikhtiar Baig to become the Secretary General. The mission
statement of Make-A-Wish Foundation was indeed a unique
one, and appealed to the brothers immediately: They aimed
to grant the last wishes of the terminally ill children before
they passed away.

It took Ishtiaq Baig three years to persuade Make-A-Wish


Foundation Int’l in USA that the brothers had the resources
to run it, and despite Pakistan not being on the Foundation’s
map, he managed to convince them to accept Pakistan as one

What followed was a paradoxical emotional state of mind


that Ikhtiar Baig got to experience after the inception of
Make-A-Wish. On one hand, it was an elevating feeling to be

longer be with them in near future; but on the other hand, it


was indeed an extremely dismal thought that the smile that
he was able to bring to a juvenile face would soon fade away
-
dren, many a time MAWF Pakistan volunteers had to spend a
great deal of time with them; speaking to them, playing with
them, laughing with them. Often – almost always – he would

after a few months that the child, whom he was able to bring
some sort of comfort and felicity, was no more. It was a grat-

more for them in addition to just making them happy for a


short time. But he could not.

108
they have left with joy, happiness and peace.

And ironically, most of the times the wishes of the children


were such that they would leave him wondering if he really
got to know their last wish – which should ideally be some-
thing grand – or not. Even when the child would be long
gone, Ikhtiar Baig would keep questioning himself that how
could such a trivial desire be the last desire of an ailing child
who was about to leave this world forever? It would give him
goose bumps just to think that what if such a simple wish

gone with it still being in his innocent heart? Who would be


answerable then in the eyes of Allah?

Usually, the dying children would ask for simple things such
as mobile phones, battery operated toys, television sets et-
cetera, as their last desires before they breathe their last;
however, the wish that shook Ikhtiar Baig the most was in-
deed a unique one.

It was the wish granting ceremony of the Make-A-Wish


Foundation. Since Mirza Ishtiaq Baig, who was the Founding
President of the organization, was not in the country, being
the Secretary General, Ikhtiar Baig went to the ceremony to

a soft little voice addressed him quietly, “Uncle?”, said the shy
little voice.

Ikhtiar Baig turned around. He was looking at a boy who was


hardly six or seven years old. He was small for his age; clad in
a simple white, short-sleeved tee shirt, black shorts and san-
dals, he was holding some small toy in one of his hands while
he straightened his shirt nervously with his other hand. He

109
skin and bones; his complexion was a little pale, while he had
very short straight dark brown hair, and the smudged marks
that ran from just below his innocent big eyes all the way
down to his cheeks were indicative of his recent weeping.

Ikhtiar Baig bent down, “What is it, baita?” He asked gently.

“I want something too.” He said nervously, still straightening


his shirt.

“Of course, please tell me what can I do for you?” Ikhtiar Baig

The boy kept thinking for a bit; he dropped his toy. Ikhtiar
Baig gently picked it up and handed it back to him, smiling.

slowly:

“I want to eat as much as I want. At home, my mother passes


the same plate to all my siblings and not even once in my life
I have eaten as much as I wanted to eat because there has
never been enough.” Every word that the boy spoke felt like
a hammer to Ikhtiar Baig’s brain. He looked around. Every
guest at the ceremony ate and schmoozed carelessly not no-
ticing even once that the quantity of leftovers on their plates
– which they considered very little – would amount to a huge
stockpile of perfectly eatable food gone as waste.

“There’s one more thing, uncle.” The boy’s weak, almost in-
audible voice yanked Ikhtiar Baig back from his reverie.

“Yes, baita?” He asked.

“I also want to visit some bara hotel and eat there. That’s it.
I don’t want anything else.” The boy’s tone was abrupt and
cautious at the same time as he looked at Ikhtiar Baig be-

110
111
Dr Baig Secretary General Make-A-Wish Foundation at the wish granting ceremony of the
terminally ill chilldren at US CG residence, also seen Ambassador & Consul General of USA
seechingly who simply looked back at the waist-tall child
standing in front of him, thinking that this was the biggest
wish of the life of this youngster which was about to come
to an end.

Immediately, Ikhtiar Baig ordered his team to book a table


at Movenpick (formerly known as Sheraton) so that such a
simple wish of an innocent heart could be granted without
any delay. Since that day, Ikhtiar Baig and Ishtiaq Baig made
sure that there was always a table reserved for their children
at Movenpick so that no child would ever be kept waiting for
such ordinary desires.

They say love and care can make miracles happen. The Baig

child, Basit, who did not have long to live according to the
doctors as he suffered from Leukemia, wished to be a Paki-

was, this wish was something special to Ishtiaq Baig. He con-


tacted the former Pakistan Chief of Army Staff, General Ki-
yani, and discussed the whole idea with him.

Special arrangements were made to recruit the child in the

-
ed in the army. Miraculously, the same child who was pro-
nounced to die after a short while, recovered dramatically;
so much so, that even his parents were left wondering that
how could just one happy day bring about such an extreme
change in his medical condition. Basit had now started walk-

to restore peace in Pakistan.

Ikhtiar Baig always made sure that he discussed all these in-
cidents with his mother who was herself quite unwell those

112
days. But such stories always brought a smile on her face.
And that was what Ikhtiar and Ishtiaq Baig wanted. After all,
it was Qudisa Baigum who had brought her progeny up in
such a manner that they truly understood the needs, hard-
ships and sufferings of others.

“I’ll tell you something very interesting, amma.” Once Ikhtiar


Baig told his mother as she lay in bed, smiling, while he had
his dinner next to her bed.

“What is it? And eat slowly, Ikhtiar.” Qudsia Baigum admon-


ished her son lovingly who was rushing through his dinner
like a ten-year old in a hurry to get back to his video game.

“Sorry!! But I have a few things to catch up on before I go


to bed. Yeah, so, a few weeks back, two little boys and a girl
wished to be taken to Mumbai to meet the Indian actor, Sal-
man Khan.” Ikhtiar Baig told his mother excitedly.

“Really? You should listen to yourself; even you sound like a


little child.” Qudsia Baigum pointed out.

“I do? Well, that’s because I feel glad that we were able to do


what they asked for. Ishtiaq managed to set up an appoint-

Make-A-Wish Foundation.” Ikhtiar Baig replied back. And


then he narrated the whole story to his mother.

As it happened, three children expressed their desire to meet


Salman Khan. As a part of the international accord, all the af-

to accommodate each other in such a situation.

Salman Khan was contacted; asked about his schedule; pos-

in Mumbai where he would be shooting for his upcoming

113
movie, Dabang 2. When the children heard the news that they
-
ally started jumping in the air joyously. Since that moment,
all they could think of was their future trip to Mumbai. They
bought different sorts of things as gifts for their favorite ac-
tor.

Karachi to Mumbai; a luxurious van was there at the Mum-


bai airport to transport them to Taj Hotel. Once they had
checked in, they were straightaway taken to the studio from
where they traveled to the set of Dabang 2.

-
man Khan, one of the icons of the Indian movie industry,

in front of those three innocent children who would unfortu-


nately not live for a very long time to tell this unique tale that
not a lot of people can tell.

a few souvenirs that he took from Pakistan, and which were


later displayed on Salman Khan’s personal website as well.
He also introduced everyone else, and then left Salman
Khan alone with his awe-struck young guests whose jaws
-
gle word, but later, Salman Khan with his easy-going nature
and humble attitude made them feel at ease and they grew
comfortable with him. He spent about thirty minutes with
them, joking with them, making them laugh. They gave him
the gifts that they got from Pakistan. The girl, who was the
youngest of the lot, gifted a wrist watch to Salman Khan. He
immediately took off his own watch and gave it to the child,
and wore the one that she presented him. He told her that
he would keep wearing it throughout the shooting that day

114
which instantly brought a thousand-watt smile on the face of
the innocent child.

“You know what, amma? That little girl did not survive for
long once we came back from India. It saddens me a lot. I
just can’t seem to forget the way she smiled that day. Ishtiaq

Baig sorrowfully concluded his story.

“She is still smiling, Ikhtiar. Just keep doing what you broth-
ers are doing. May Allah be with you both.” Qudsia Baigum
prayed for her sons before she went to sleep.

In a very short time, the operations of Make-A-Wish Foun-


dation spread across the country. Once, a few children orig-
inally from Baluchistan made a request to meet the former
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani. When
Ikhtiar Baig rang him up, quite an interesting conversation
ensued:

“Why, of course! I am always there to meet everyone. Why


don’t you bring them over to Islamabad, Ikhtiar? I’d be more
than glad to spend some time with them. It would give me
a short break from my hectic schedule as well.” Mr Gilani
agreed to it immediately. However, the situation was not as
simple as he thought of it.

“Sir, actually, instead of a short break, I was thinking to pro-


pose to you a longer break since you work so hard. With all
due respect Mr Prime Minister, these children happen to be
critically ill. Therefore, they wouldn’t be able to travel. Sir,
you have to come to them to Karachi.” Ikhtiar Baig, in his typ-
ical light-hearted, sarcastic style, explained the whole situa-
tion to the former Prime Minister.

“Oh! Oh, I see. Didn’t think of that actually.” Mr Yousuf Raza

115
Gilani chuckled sheepishly a little; cleared his throat; and
then said in his most matter-of-fact voice, “Alright, Ikhtiar.
You bring them over to the Governor House, Sind, and I’ll be
there next week to meet the kids.”

“Of course, sir. Happy holidays … err… holiday.” Ikhtiar Baig


could not help smiling as he put the receiver down.

As hard as it may be to believe, but the drama did not end


there. Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani made sure that he was there
at the Governor House before the kids so that he could wel-
come them. It was 11 p.m. and as per the instructions of the
former Prime Minister, a few gifts had been brought for the
kids. One of the items, that caught the eye of Mr Gilani as he
entered the Governor House a night before the arrival of the
kids, was a stuffed teddy-bear.

“You call THAT a teddy-bear?” His booming voice echoed in


the luxurious entrance hall.

“Sir, I think … this IS a teddy-bear.” One of the attendants re-


plied cautiously.

“Yes, I see that. But the problem is that this is a very SMALL
teddy-bear.” Mr Gilani responded immediately. “Get the chil-
dren the biggest teddy-bear in the market.” He decreed.

“Sir, it’s 11 ‘o’ clock, all the shops are closed and the children
are expected to be here pretty early in the morning!” The
team at the Governor House was suddenly beginning to pan-
ic.

looked at him from head to toe; raised his eyebrows a little,

of that shop who is either willing to conduct more business

116
than usual tonight, or start earlier than usual tomorrow
morning.”

It is still a mystery to date that how it was done, but some-


how, miraculously, someone was able to locate one of the
local peddlers, and managed to acquire the biggest possible
teddy-bear in the market. The important thing is that when
the children entered the Governor House next morning to
meet the Prime Minister, he was himself there to greet and
welcome them, and even more importantly, he had a gi-
ant-sized teddy-bear next to him to the delight of the chil-
dren who were virtually over the moon to see this sight.

Similarly, one day, Itkhair Baig received a call and somebody


told him that a child from some remote area of interior Sind
wished to come to Karachi along with his family just to pay a
visit to the Father of the Nation so that he could thank Quaid-
e-Azam for giving us a wonderful country. As usual, Make-
A-Wish Foundation made immediate arrangements for the
dying child and his family to travel to the great Muhammad
Ali Jinnah’s tomb in Karachi without any delay. Before leav-
ing for his village in interior Sind, the patriotic child told Ish-
tiaq Baig that he did not want to die before paying homage
to Quaid-e-Azam.

terrains spread over miles, the wishes would pour in every-


day, and each time the Baig brothers would do their utmost

and serenity which would in turn result in a greater sense of


achievement for the entire family making everyone, Qudsia
Baigum in particular, swell with humble pride.

117
Bringing Yemen and
Pakistan Closer
Back in 2004, when Mr Parvez Musharraf was in power, he
visited Yemen to promote trade between the two countries
as it was proposed by most of the economists that such a

for both the countries. The idea got a further boost when
Mr Abdullah Saleh, the President of Yemen, reciprocated Mr
Parvez Musharraf’s visit and came to Pakistan to discuss the
possibilities of enhancing trade and investment between the
two countries.

It was mutually agreed that in order to enhance trade in this


region Yemen needed to have a representation in Karachi,
Sind in the form of an honorary Consul General – someone
who understood business and trade thoroughly. The Yeme-
ni government already had a very strong interest in forming
a good relationship with Pakistan since hundreds of their
students were already studying in Pakistan at some of the
famous Pakistani medical, engineering and humanities and
social sciences universities.

Keeping in view Ikhtiar Baig’s reputation and expertise in


trade and commerce, and the services that he had rendered
in the past for the overall betterment of the country’s econ-
omy, President of FPCCI recommended his name as the Hon-
orary Consul General of Yemen in Karachi to the Ambassador
of Yemen in Islamabad. Dr Baig was appointed by both the
governments on February 16, 2006.

The following six years proved that both the governments


could not have taken a better decision as Ikhtiar Baig man-
aged to double the trade between Pakistan and Yemen during

118
119
The President of Republic of Yemen conferred National Award Yemen 'Order of Merit' to
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Hon. Consul General of Yemen in Sindh. Photo shows: Ambassador
of Yemen H.E. Abdo Ali Abdul Rehman decorating Dr. Baig with the Award.
120
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Hon. Consul General of Republic of Yemen and Director world
Federation of Consuls with H.E. Dr. Abu Bakr Abdullah Al-Qirbi, Foreign Minister of
Yement at a meeting in Sana'a
this time period. The path of course was a jagged one, but
Ikhtiar Baig, with his dogged devotion and vast experience,
prevailed.

For instance, almost immediately after his appointment, six


months to be precise, the President of Yemen paid a visit to
Pakistan and the situation turned a little testing to say the
least. The ambassador of Yemen asked Ikhtiar Baig to ar-
range the President’s Yemeni delegation’s meeting with the
top businessmen of Pakistan immediately as he was willing
to spare only one day for it. The task, under normal circum-
stances, would have been a fairly simple one as all Ikhtiar
Baig would have had to do was to send a few invitations
nationwide, and a pretty decent gathering would have con-
vened without any hindrances. However, this particular day,
on which Ikhtiar Baig was asked to organize the conference,
happened to be the twelfth of Rabi-ul-awwal which is cele-
brated as a national holiday across the country as it marks
the birthday of the great Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)
and many rallies and processions are taken out which create
quite a commotion throughout the country.

Amidst the astounded and confused faces of his team mem-


bers, who had a feeling that it would be impossible for them

reputation, Ikhtiar Baig was the only person who was all
smiles.

“Let’s get this done.” He said, unfazed.

And he got it done. Miraculously, a meeting between the


President of Yemen and the top three hundred and ten busi-
nessmen of Pakistan was arranged at Marriot, Islamabad.
The President was awarded with a replica of the Great Tipu

121
Sultan’s sword and while swinging it and praising the efforts
of Ikhtiar Baig, the President asked Ikhtiar Baig to visit Ye-
men so that he could look into sick industries and propose
the ways to revive them. Ikhtiar Baig agreed.

The very next day, Ikhtiar Baig proposed to the authorities


to arrange the President’s visit to Taxilla to see the demon-
stration of Pakistan’s Al-Khalid Tanks and other armored ve-
hicles which was to be followed by a visit to the Aeronautical
-
tions expressed by the authorities as the commute from Is-
lamabad to Taxilla was a long one, and there might have been
certain security issues. Ikhtiar Baig predicted that since the
President had an army background himself, he might be in-
terested in buying a substantial amount of warfare equip-

economy of the state. This not just got him the permission,
but also the satisfaction of seeing his prediction coming true:

As soon as the Yemeni President saw the Al-Khalid Tanks, he


hopped onto one; ducked into the cockpit and disappeared
for a few minutes; had a careful look; popped back out;
jumped on the ground, and asked the Pakistani government
for a few tanks as well as armored vehicles straightaway. The
only factor due to which this deal could not materialize was
the reservation of the Saudi Arabian government which was
not very comfortable with Pakistan selling heavy artillery to
their neighbor, Yemen.

Later, when Ikhtiar Baig accompanied Prime Minister Shau-


kat Aziz as a member of his entourage to Yemen, although,

Ikhtiar Baig’s suggestion to the Prime Minister to establish a


Pak-Yemen Joint Business Council between Pakistan and Ye-
men Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry com-

122
prising twenty leading businessmen of both the countries to
promote direct interaction between the private sector of the
two countries, Shaukat Aziz instantly advised the Law Min-
ister and Advisor to Mr Parvez Musharraf at that time, Sha-
reefuddin Pirzada to draft an agreement with Ikhtiar Baig’s
input and get it signed during the visit.

This agreement was signed by Dr Baig, representing FPCCI,


and the President of the Yemen Federation of Chamber of
Commerce and Industry at a ceremony in Sana overseen by
the Prime Ministers of both the countries. Little did the Ye-
meni President know that the agreement that he just signed
was proposed and drafted while Dr Baig was airborne com-
ing to Yemen just a short while ago.

This initiative brought great results as the trade between the


two countries increased dramatically – doubled to be pre-
cise – rendering Pakistan the largest exporter of rice, elec-
tric fans, pharmaceutical and textile products to Yemen. Due
to his invaluable contribution, Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig was
awarded with the highest civilian award of Yemen, Order of
Merit, which he considers a great honor not just for himself,
but also his country.

the news and celebrated the occasion was his mother, Qudsia
Baigum.

123
The Darkest Hour
Every soul that has been sent to this earth, or anywhere else
in Allah’s prodigious universe for that matter, has to face
death someday. Ikhtiar Baig’s mother, Qudsia Baigum, was

fought her illness for a good half a decade. However, the in-
tense treatment that she had to go through combined with
the pain that she bore due to her tumor, had taken its toll on
her aging body.

The Baig siblings' father had passed away twenty seven years
ago, which had naturally brought all of them even closer to
their mother; especially, Ikhtiar Baig who was willing to go
to any length to get his mother cured.

He made sure that his mother was treated by the best doc-
tors available in Pakistan as well as abroad. Finally, Qudisa
Baigum had to go under the knife. Her tumor was removed,
and the surgery was followed by multiple radiotherapy and
chemotherapy sessions in order to avoid reoccurrence. Fate,
however, had other plans.

The tumor developed again. Once more she had to be oper-

hours. Eventually, Qudsia Baigum started having problems


with her breathing as well and she was immediately trans-
ferred to the Intensive Care Unit. Ikhtiar Baig, who had al-
ways been there with his mother, called his siblings one after
the other.

all should be with her.” He told his sisters over the phone re-
siding in Boston and Dubai.

126
127
Ishtiaq & Ikhtiar with their mother
According to the doctors, Qudsia Baigum’s last hope was a
medicine which was only available in America and Europe. It
could regenerate the cellular structure of the lungs making it
easier for the patient to breathe.

“I’ll get it!” Without wasting a second, Ikhtiar Baig started


dialing his family and friends living in the United States of
America, Europe and the United Kingdom. He also called his
daughter, Haya in Montreal and niece, Aymen in the US to
look for the medicine. Meanwhile, the doctors were also able
to dig up some more information regarding that medicine.
They informed Ikhtiar Baig that India had also prepared a
substitute of that medicine which was tantamount to it.

Once more, Ikhtiar Baig contacted one of his friends, Mr Bha-

was available and agreed to bring it to Pakistan. Amidst all


this development, someone brought the promising news
that the Indian version of the medicine that could resusci-
tate Ikhtiar Baig’s mother was also available in Karachi at
Kausar Medicos. There was just one catch: It was Eid ul Adha
(Baqra Eid). Every shop in the entire city was closed, but Ikh-
tiar Baig was not willing to submit to fate without putting

Kausar Medicos who immediately agreed to open his shop


and provide the medicine as he knew and respected Ikhtiar
Baig and his family.

Ikhtiar Baig himself rushed to Kausar Medicos; got the med-


icine; thanked the owner a lot; and drove back to the hos-
pital as soon as he could. The doctors were quite surprised
that he was able to attain the medicine in such a short time.

turned out to be her last doze as well.

128
Ikhtiar and Ishtiaq Baig held their mother’s hands. She in-
structed them to always be united; she said a few more
words which were inaudible to them. She looked at them,

her grandchildren. She smiled as she saw the concern on


their faces; shut her eyes; and went into a deep eternal sleep
peacefully. Her job in this world was done. She died a proud

her responsibilities to the best of her abilities and that re-

left behind.

Just after Qudsia Baigum’s death, Mr Bhatia arrived from


Delhi as well brining an ample amount of the medicine with

was given to the hospital in case it was needed by someone


else.

To Ikhtiar Baig, it was the end of the world. There was noth-
ing left without his mother – she was his world. He had sur-
vived a lot: his sister’s death, Benazir Bhutto’s assassination,
business setbacks and many other hardships that life had
thrown his way, but his mother was always there as a pro-
tective shield. He survived due to her presence and prayers.
Today, that shield had been taken away. He felt like a lone
wanderer with no sense of direction in a vast desert with the
scorching sun taking away all his energies.

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig broke down. For once, he did not


think about the people around him, where he was, or who
was watching. He just wept. He wept for all the beatings and
scoldings that he received from Qudsia Baigum as a boy; he
wept for her teachings; he wept for her guidance; he wept for
her anger; he wept for her happiness and love; he wept for
how she got him married; he wept for how he went for Umrah

129
with her; he wept for the smile that she had when his books
were launched; he wept for the satisfaction on her face when
he told her about the ailing children. Ikhtiar Baig wept for
his mother that day whom he would no longer be able to see
anymore except in his dreams.

130
Sun Rises Everyday
It took Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig a lot of time to recover from
the loss of his mother. But it is only natural that as human
beings we have been blessed with a psychological defense
mechanism by nature that protects us from the calamities
that life sometimes brings our way. Being the strong individ-
ual that he is, Dr Baig bounced back. However, there were
certain factors that abetted him to do so. The most import-
ant one would be his children, Umair Baig, Anum Baig, Haya
Baig, and his nephew, Mirza Ishtiaq Baig’s son, Imran Baig.

To the delight of the Baig brothers, all these young Baigs are

cascaded to the younger generation by both Ikhtiar and Ish-


tiaq Baig.

Umair Baig successfully did his Master’s in Finance from Har-


vard University, Boston, USA while Ikhtiar Baig’s daughter,
Anum Baig, completed her Master’s in Strategic Marketing
from Cardiff University, Wales, UK where she got a distinc-
tion. Umair Baig, along with working for the Baig conglomer-
ate, is also serving as the Honorary Consul General of Poland
in Karachi, the youngest diplomat ever. Keeping the impor-
tance of education and strong family values in mind, Dr Baig
got his son married to Eman Khanji who is the daughter of
Alamgir Khanji, the direct descendent of the Nawab of Jun-
agadh family, and the granddaughter of Admiral (R) Fasih
Bukhari, former Naval Chief of Pakistan and Chairman NAB.
Dr Baig’s youngest daughter is still studying Business Man-
agement at McGill University in Montreal whereas, Ikhtiar

same subject from Coventry University, UK.

133
Baigs, Family

134
Dr Baig with son Omair & nephew Imran

Wedding Reception of Mirza Omair Baig, S/o Noreen & Dr Mirza Ikhtiar
Baig with Iman Khanji, D/o Alamgir Khanji and granddaughter of Admiral
(R) Fasih Bokhari held in Karachi. Photo shows: Governer Sindh Dr Ishrat ul
Ibad, Governer Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar, Admiral (R) Fasih Bokhari, Mr &
Mrs. Ikhtiar Baig, Mr & Mrs. Alamgir Khanji, Ishtiaq Baig, Saleem Yousuf and
other family members.

135
Baigs, Omair Iman baig, Anum, Noreen, Ikhtiar, Haya, & Imran

Ikhtiar Baig & Noreen Baig with children at their beach house.

136
Iman, Omair, Noreen, Ikhtiar Baig

Omair, Haya, Noreen, Anum & Ikhtiar Baig.

137
Recently, Dr Baig experienced an emotional incident that
every daughter’s father has to go through at some point in
time in his life: his daughter’s wedding. The grand event was
attended by a number of senior diplomats, federal and pro-
vincial ministers, senators, senior bureaucrats, bank pres-
idents, leaders of the business community, social elite and
many prominent personalities such as the former Prime
Minister Mr Yousuf Raza Gillani, Governor Punjab Chaudhry
Muhammad Sarwar, Former Interior Minister Mr Rehman
Malik, Federal Minister Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi, Chief Justice

Supreme Court, M.D. Fauji Fertilizer Lieutenant General (R)


Haroon Aslam, Acting Chairman FBR Shahid Hussain Asad,
Speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani, Deputy Speaker
Sindh Assembly Shehla Raza, Senior Minister Education Nis-
ar Khoro, Minister Prison Manzoor Wassan, Minister Mir Ha-
zar Khan Bajrani, Chief Secretary Sindh Sajjad Saleem Hotia-
na, Station Commander Karachi Brigadier Farrukh Waseem,
Commissioner Karachi Shoaib Siddiqui, Administrator Ka-
rachi Rauf Akhtar Farooqui, Senator Ghulam Nabi, Senator
Saeed Ghani, Senator Haseeb Khan, Ambassadors of Yemen
and Poland and Consul Generals of USA, Turkey, Germany,
Thailand etcetera. Amidst the electrifying performance of a
renowned band from the United Kingdom, Sahara RDB, Dr
Baig greeted his guests with tears of joy in his eyes, and a
slightly heavy heart as one of his most caring children, Anum
Baig became a part of another family. Anum got married to
Aadil Zuberi who is the son of Professor Rukhsana and Wa-
miq Zuberi of Business Recorder and AAJ TV Group. Aadil
has done his Master’s from Harvard University and he is
currently working at an international bank in New York. The
couple plans to start a new life in the US shortly.

What made Ikhtiar Baig’s heart swell with pride was the fact

138
he asked them about their plans for the future, he got the
same reply every time: “We have achieved what we came
to achieve abroad; we would like to come back to our dear
homeland now.” Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, who is himself in a
-
times the very same day – irrespective of the duration of the

prouder of his children and their patriotic decision.

To him, it was a new beginning, the start of a new era in


which, just as he had planned all his life, he could see his new
generation serving this glorious country to the best of their
abilities following in the footsteps of their forefathers. Noth-
ing could ever be more satisfying.

139
Noreen & Ikhtiar Baig at the Mehndi

140
141
With my wife Noreen at the special Olympics New Year Ball 31st Dec.
Dr Baig with wife Noreen

142
Mirza Umair Baig with wife Imam

143
Baig Brothers Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig & Ishtiaq Baig

144
145
A memorable photograph of the family taken at the Nikkah & reception
of Taha s/o Nasreen & Tahir in Dubai on 10th March’17.
The patriot, the industrialist,
the politician, the family man
and the economist, all share
their thoughts

and I achieved it; the second phase in which I targeted rec-


ognition and fame, and I achieved it; and the third phase –
the most important phase – in which I realized that wealth,
popularity, and all such worldly things, although we run after
them our entire lives, only bring temporary satisfaction. True
inner peace lies in giving back once you are in a position to
do so; in serving the nation; in serving the people who need
your support; and in acting as an integral element to bind
one’s family together. Only that brings lasting satisfaction.
This book is a humble effort on my part to share whatever
I have achieved in my life with the readers; especially, the
youth. And if this document brings about a good change in
even one person’s life, I would consider my mission accom-
plished.”

“Before anything else, I must straightaway declare that suc-

Allah’s blessing; parents’ prayers and blessings, especially,


one’s mother’s; hard work, but only in the right direction and
structured smartly; good academic background and educa-
tion; and one’s niyah (intentions) – that needs to be at its pur-
est. Don’t look for shortcuts as without the aforementioned
factors, enduring success is impossible to achieve.”

“That said, being a parent myself, and knowing the impor-


tance and contribution of parents towards building a healthy

146
message to you is simple and short: give your children the
best possible education, even if you have to go beyond your
means sometimes; combine that with good, sound moral val-
ues by adopting an exemplary demeanor yourself, and you’d
see the results.”

“Second, I’d like to address the youngsters of Pakistan. You


are the light on the other side of the tunnel. If my generation
could not deliver, then that does not mean that you cannot
either. You are far more intelligent than your previous gener-
ations. All you have to do is to recognize two simple qualities

are Pakistanis. Rise above these trivial and petty issues of


ethnicity and sectarianism; realize your worth and potential,
and there is no stopping you. Another cue leading to success
that I’d like to share with you is how well you manage your
time. One always has enough time to do what is needed; it
just needs to be divided smartly, and once that is done, one
must stay committed. For instance, even if I sleep at 2 a.m.
in the morning, I would stick to the schedule that I decided
for the next day. I have followed this rule for over last three
decades.”

“I must also not forget the business fraternity of Pakistan as


they are the ones who contribute the most towards the eco-
nomic growth of our homeland. You are extremely resilient
people; tenacious enough to produce results under the most
adverse circumstances. I must make a couple of requests to
you and I state this with a great deal of conviction: Pakistan
is the safest country to invest in; your own people deserve
your investment the most in order to create jobs. Don’t al-
low anything or anyone to dissuade you from doing the right
thing by investing in your country only.”

147
time, but I say this from experience that such businesses
are not always long-lasting. Interest is like a war against the
Good Lord, and at least I’m not strong enough to war with Al-
lah. I recently sold off one of our spinning mills, Lucky Cotton
Mill in Nooriabad. Within one month, I got four offers from
different textile giants to buy Lucky Cotton Mill. We decided
to sell it to the Bonanza Group for 1100 million rupees out
of which 1000 million rupees were paid as the accumulat-
ed amount of interest on bank loans. I must add here that
it was Allah who helped us in devising such a timely exit
strategy. Now, we are trying to pay off the interest amount
on Pak Denim as well. The point I am trying to make is that
one will only experience true inner peace if one gets out of
interest-based business and switch to Islamic Banking com-
pletely. Then and only then you would feel Allah’s barakah in
your business, and true peace of mind.”

“At this juncture, it is imperative that I say something to those


who walk the corridors of power, and rule Pakistan. Rulers
must always think beyond themselves; one sincere and loyal
ruler can change the fate of an entire nation; we don’t need
a bunch of people to do that. We have many examples such
as China, Turkey and Malaysia where one person turned the
whole nation around. Please, be faithful to this wonderful
country that we have.”

“Last, I consider it my duty to express my gratitude to the


expatriates living across the globe. I salute you and your ef-
forts. Due to you, Pakistan is known and recognized through-
out the world and our homeland’s image is uplifted. Not only
that, you also contribute a great deal towards the foreign
reserves of the country by remitting fourteen billion dollars
every year.”

148
THE MAN TODAY
Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, is a renowned industrialist and Chair-
man of Baig Group, a multinational conglomerate that has
-
co for the last 26 years. He has done his Master’s in Market-
ing and Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) in the
Revival of Sick Industries. He is a businessman par-excel-
lence with a rich background of international exposure to

Dr Baig is the author of a number of books on Economics,


Sheh Rug- Part I , Part II, ‘Muashi Haqqaiq Aur Pakistan’, ‘Pa-
kistan Aur Muaishat’ and ‘Pakistan ko Darpesh Muashi Chal-
lenges’ addressing the current national and international
economic issues. He regularly writes economic columns in
the leading newspapers and his expert views are given due
importance by the policy makers. He has been awarded the
-
ally renowned magazine, The Economist.

He was conferred the prestigious civil award, Tamgha-i-Im-


tiaz by the President of Pakistan in recognition of his contri-
bution to the economy of the country.

He is also a diplomat, Honorary Consul General of Republic of


Yemen and elected President Hon. Consular Corps, Sind, Ka-
rachi. Dr Baig has been elected as Director on Board of World
Federation of Consuls (FICAC). The President of Yemen has
recently awarded the prestigious Civil Award “Order of Mer-
it” in recognition of Dr Baig’s contribution to enhance bilat-
eral trade and investment between Yemen and Pakistan.

He is the recipient of various awards including gold medals


from the President of Pakistan in recognition of his meritori-

149
proud recipient of FPCCI Special Export Merit Trophy Award
from President/Prime Minister of Pakistan for the last six-
teen consecutive years on the export performance of denim
fabric.

Dr Baig was instrumental as Federal Advisor on Textile for


-
al Textile Policy 2009-14 announced by the government for
the Textile Industry of Pakistan. He has been nominated on
the Prime Minister constituted Business Persons Council
(BPC), a think-tank on national economic policies. He is also
the Hon. Secretary General of Make-A-Wish Foundation Pa-
kistan, an NGO granting wishes of the terminally ill children.
He is the current Chairman of Think Tank 21st Century Busi-
ness & Economic Club.

Dr Baig has been nominated Chairman Pakistan Textile City


and Director Pakistan State Oil (PSO). He is also Chairman,
FPCCI Standing Committee on Banking, Credit & Finance for
the last twelve years. Dr Baig has represented the private
sector at the various Joint Ministerial Commissions Meet-
ings in Pakistan & abroad for the enhancement of bilateral
trade and investment. He has been elected as Chairman Pak-
UAE Business Council. Dr Baig was instrumental in present-
ing the revised criteria to EU for GSP Plus and as a result EU
has recently allowed Pakistan duty free market access under
GSP Plus.

As the Chairman Pakistan Denim Manufacturers & Export-


ers Association, Dr Baig is elected on the board of FPCCI
for 2014. Dr Baig has been awarded 100 Business Leaders
Entrepreneurs & Difference Makers of Pakistan by the CEO
Club Pakistan

150
"National and Internatioanl
Awards 2014-17 Received"
Annual HRM Summit Shield - 2017, from Governor Sindh
Muhammad Zubair, organized by CEO Nutshell Forum,
organizer of 12th Edition of Annual HRM Summit on 1st
February 2017.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group receiving


FPCCI Excellence Award from Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Chief
Minister Punjab, also seen Iftikhar Ali Malik, S.M.Muneer,
Abdul Rauf Alam former President FPCCI at a function held
on 21st December, 2017 at Chief Minister House Lahore.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group receiving


Brand of the Year 2016 Senator Raza Rabbani, Chairman
Senate of Pakistan & Zubair Tufail President FPCCI, also
seen Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad, President Brands
Foundation & Mohsin Sheikhani, Chairman ABAD.

Receiving Excellence Award 2016 from Dean & Rector


Institute of Business & Technology at their convocation
ceremony at Karachi campus on 19th Nov 2016.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Central Leader PPP & leading


industrialist presenting his biography “A Limitless
Pakistani” to Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto having
memories with Shaheed Benazir Bhutto at Bilawal House
Karachi on 19th May 2016.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group receiving


FPCCI Achievement Award 2016 on Contribution to
National Economy from H.E. Mamnoon Hussain, President
of Pakistan at Aiwan-e-Saddar Islamabad on 3rd May 2016,
also seen Governor Punjab Malik Rafique Rajwana, former
President FPCCI Abdul Rauf Alam, CEO TDAP
S.M.Muneer, VP SAARC Iftikhar Ali Malik & former SVP
FPCCI Khalid Tawab.

152
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Dean Hon. Consular Corps Sindh
Karachi, Pakistan and newly elected Director of the World
Federation of Consuls receiving recognition from the new
President Hon. Aykut Eken & outgoing President Hon.
Arnold Foote at the 11th World Congress of Consuls 2015
held in Istanbul Turkey.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman PDL Denim, receiving


Special Export Merit Trophy Award from the Prime Minister
of Pakistan M. Nawaz Sharif for the 16th consecutive year at
the 38th FPCCI Export Award ceremony on June 2015.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman PDL Denim, receiving


Brand Scientist Award 2014 from Federal Minister
Commerce Khurram Dastgir, also seen CEO TDAP
S.M.Munner & former President FPCCI Main Muhammad
Adrees.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group receiving


Patron Award Youth Parliament from former President of
Pakistan Gen (R) Pervaiz Musharraf at their Annual
Convention, also seen Chairman Youth Parliament, Rizwan
Jaffer.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group receiving


CEO Leadership Award 2014 from former Governor Sindh
Dr.Ishrat ul Ebad at CEO Summit Asia 2014, also seen Ishrat
Hussain, Dean IBA.

Award of 100 Performing CEOs and Leaders of Pakistan -


2014, from former Chief Secretary Sindh Sajjad Saleem
Hotiana, organized by 21st Century Business & Economic
Club.

Award of 100 Top Business Leaders of Pakistan - 2013, by


Manager Today Magazine, presented by Ahsan Iqbal,
Federal Minister for Planning & Development, Government
of Pakistan.

153
Order of Merit – 2013, by the President of Yemen, H.E. Abd
Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, for enhancing bilateral trade and
investment between Yemen & Pakistan as Hon. Consul
General of Yemen in Pakistan

Special Merit Export Award - 2013 from the Prime Minister


of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif

Special Merit Export Award - 2011-12 from the former


President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari

Special Merit Export Award - 2010-11 from the former


President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari.

National Civil Award Tamgha-e-Imtiaz – 2009, by the


President Islamic Republic of Pakistan for contribution in
the banking services

Merit Export Award - 2009-10 from the former President of


Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari

FICAC Medal of Honor – 2008, by World Federation of


Consuls, for contribution to Consular services

Special Merit Export Award - 2007-08 from the former


Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani.

Businessman of the Year Gold Medal - 2006 from the


Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry
(FPCCI) conferred by the former President of Pakistan,
Pervaiz Musharaf, on meritorious services in the field of
Banking and Finance

Gold Medal - 2007 from the Federation of Pakistan Chamber


of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) conferred by the former
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani, for
contributing to the National Economy.

154
SITE Association Award - 2005, from former Prime Minister
of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz on outstanding performance as
Business Leader.

Special Merit Export Award - 2005-06 from the former


Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz

Award of Achievement from the renowned magazine “The


Economist” – 2004

Special Merit Export Award - 2003-04 from the former


Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz

Special Merit Export Award - 2002-03 from the former


Prime Minister of Pakistan Zaffrullah Khan Jamali

Special Merit Export Award - 2001-02 from the former


Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz

Special Merit Export Award - 2000-01 from the former


President of Pakistan Pervez Musharaf

Special Merit Export Award - 1999-2000 from the former


President of Pakistan Pervez Musharaf

Special Merit Export Award - 1998-99 from the Prime


Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif

Special Merit Export Award - 1995 from the former


President of Pakistan Farooq Leghari

SITE Association Award - 1994, on foreign investment and


revival of sick industry in Pakistan by Shaheed Mohtarma
Benazir Bhutto.

155
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group receiving shield
from Muhammad Zubair Governor Sindh, also seen Azfar
Ahsan, CEO Nutshell Forum, organizer of 12th Edition of Annual
HRM Summit on 1st February 2017.

Receiving Execellence Award 2016 from Dean & Rector Insti-


tute of Business & Technology at their convocation ceremony at
Karachi campus on 19th Nov. 16

156
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group receiving the
Brand of the year 2016 from Hon. Senator Raza Rabbani,
Chairman Senate of Pakistan & Zubair Tufail, President FPCCI,
also seen Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad, President Brand
Foundation & Mohsin Shekhani, Chairman ABAD.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group receiving FPCCI


Excellence Award 2016 from Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Chief
Minister Punjab, also seen Iftikhar Ali Malik, S.M. Muneer, Abdul
Rauf Alam, former President FPCCI at a function held on 21st
December 2016 at Chief Minister House Lahore.

157
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group receiving FPCCI
Achievement Award 2016 on his contribution to National
Economy from H.E. Mamnoon Hussain President of Pakistan at
Aiwan-e-Saddar Islamabad, also seen Governor Punjab Malik
Rafique Rajwana, former President FPCCI Abdul Rauf Alam,
CEO TDAP S.M.Muneer, VP SAARC Ikhtiar Ali Malik & former
SVP FPCCI Khalid Tawab on 3rd May 2016.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman PDL Denim, receiving Special


Export Merit Trophy award from the Prime Minister of Pakistan
M. Nawaz Sharif for the 16th consecutive year at the 38th FPCCI
Export Award Ceremony on June 2015.

158
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Dean Consular Corps Sindh, Karachi,
Pakistan and newly elected Director of the World Federation of
Consuls receiving recognition from the new President Hon.
Aykut Eken & outgoing President Hon. Arnold Foote at the 11th
World Congress of Consuls 2015 held in Istanbul Turkey.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman PDL Denim receiving Brand


Scientist Award 2014 from Federal Minister Commerce
Khurram Dastagir, also seen CEO TDAP S.M. Muneer & former
President FPCCI Mian Muhammad Adrees.

159
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig Chairman Baig Group receiving Patron
Award Youth Parliament from former President of Pakistan Gen
(R) Pervaiz Musharraf, also seen Chairman Youth Parliament,
Rizwan Jaffer on December 2014.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group receiving CEO


Leadership Award 2014 from former Governor Sindh Dr. Ishrat
ul Ebad at CEO Summit Asia 2014, also Seen Dr. Ishrat Hussain
Dean IBA.

160
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig receiving Special Merit Award - 2013
from the Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz
Sharif.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig receiving Special Export Award 2011- 12


from the former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari.

161
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig & Ishtiaq Baig receiving Special Export
Award 2010-11 from the former President of Pakistan Asif Ali
Zardari.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig receiving Special Merit Award 2009-10


from the former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari.

162
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig renowned Columnist and Chairman Baig
-
Group is receiving the Prestigious Civil Award Tamgha-e-Imtiaz
from Dr. Ishrat ul Ibad, former Governor Sindh on behalf of
President of Pakistan.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig receiving Gold Medal - 2007 for his
contribution to the National Economy from Federation of
Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) conferred
by the former Prime Minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani.

163
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig receiving Businessman of the Year Gold
Medal - 2006 from the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of
Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) conferred by the former
President of Pakistan, Gen. (R) Pervez Musharraf on his
meritorious services in the �ield of Banking and Finance.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig receiving SITE Association Award -2005,


from former Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Aziz on his
outstanding performance as Business Leader.

164
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Hon. Consul General of Yemen & Dean
Hon. Consular Corps Sindh presenting Memento to the former
President of World Federation of Consuls Hon. Arnold Foote,
also seen former Vice President Amarkai Amartei�io.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig receiving Special Merit Export Award -


1990- 2000 from the former President of Pakistan Gen. (R)
Pervaiz Musharraf.

165
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig receiving Special Export Award -1998-
99 from the Prime Minister of PakistanMuhammad Nawaz
Sharif.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Central Leader PPP & leading industrialist present-
ing his biography “A Limitless Pakistani” to Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto
Zardari having memories with Shaheed Benazir Bhutto at Bilawal House
Karachi on 19th May 2016

166
168
The Chief Guest Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr Khurram Dastgir Khan with distingguish speakers at the launch of Dr. Mirza
Ikhtiar Baig Biography in Islamabad, from right Senator (R) Abdul Qayyum, Muhammad Zubair, Federal Minister Lt Gen (R) Abdul
Qadir Baloch, Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, H.E. Rodolfo Martin Saravia, Akram Fareed, Abdul Rauf, Zubair Bakhtawari & Ishtiaq Baig.
Federal Minister for Commerce, Engr Khurram Dastgir Khan launching
biography of Dr. Ikhtiar Baig in Islamabad, also present Federal Minister
Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch, former Minister of Privatization,
Muhammad Zubair, former Dean of Diplomatic Corps Islamabad, Mr.
Rodolfo Martin Saravia, Akram Fareed, former VP FPCCI & Ishtiaq Baig.

The Biography “A Limitless Pakistani” of Dr. Ikhtiar Baig was launched by


Mohsin-e-Pakistan Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, also present Nisar Khoro Sr.
Minister, Mian Muhammad Adrees former President FPCCI, S.M. Muneer CEO
TDAP, Ishtiaq Baig Hon. Consul General Morocco, Zeba Bakhtiar, Rashid
Siddiqui, Salahuddin Haider, Mirza Umair & Imran Baig.

169
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig Presenting his book to the Federal Minister for
Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan and Leader of Opposition
Khurshed Ahmed Shah at the launching ceremony of his Biography “A
Limitless Pakistani” in Islamabad. Also present Federal Minister Lt Gen
(R) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Ambassadors of Morocco, Argentina and Others.

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig Chairman Bag Group called on former Chief Minister
Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah to discuss investment in Sindh, photo shows Dr. Baig
presenting his biography “A Limitless Pakistani” to the former CM.

170
Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Chairman Baig Group receiving Pillars of Pakistan
award 2015 for his contribution to the national economy and industry of
Pakistan from Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan at Jashn-e-Azadi function in Karachi.

171
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Minat Terkait