EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH AMIR WALLIUDDIN CHISHTI – CHAIRMAN CHISHTI GROUP

How would you define the legacy of ‘Chishti Group’ built by your ancestors?

My father, Walliuddin Chishti came to Karachi in 1947. He was a freedom fighter of the movement at that time. He started Chisti Group in 1954, initially he setup a packaging factory on a small scale in Bolton Market and worked very hard to establish the business. We are six brothers and all of us are in business. Under my portfolio, I have health, education, and finance and energy sector. With more than 3000 employees all over Pakistan.

I am the fifth among my brothers and we all live in the same compound.  The family business is headed by my eldest brother Sultan Saluhuddin Chishti however my initial business training was done by my late brother Khalid Bin Waleed Chishti.

Two of my companies are one of the largest tax payers in the country and contribution towards the country is endless, economically as well as socially. The hospital and medical college is our pride, since my father believed in working for the betterment of Pakistan, he always believed in providing equal opportunities for the people who don’t have access to healthcare and education. Both of these institutions are non-profit organizations.

We always believe in giving the best, and even in difficult times, we work with passion and dignity. Puma energy is our face in the international market with an operation running in 51 countries and with an ambition to make it grow bigger. At the moment we have more than 542 petrol pumps across Pakistan.

Shajar Capital is one of the leading financial brokerage houses in Pakistan and we have one of the finest human resources leading this company

To cater health sector we have Darul Sehat Hospital, it’s a 250 bed hospital, providing one of the finest health services in Karachi. In education, we have Liaquat College of Medicine and Dentistry where every year 200 students graduate.

Making our mark in the energy sector. Puma energy is our face in the international market; with an operation running in 51 countries and with an ambition to make it grow bigger. At the moment we have more than 542 petrol pumps across Pakistan.  We always believe in giving the best, and even in difficult times, we work with passion and dignity.

Holding such a large business portfolio under the name of ‘Chishti Group’ how do you manage different divisions?

I believe in the philosophy of hiring the right person for the right Job, as far as managing is concerned; I have the best Human resource who manages my portfolio. I have a team of experts who are my asset and also my investment as a businessman I believe in human development.  My father used to believe in keeping the employees loyal to the company and for that he never let go of anyone, Infact in my father’s factory, the workers who started with alongside with him, still have their third generation working with the group. My role in the group is primarily policy making and as a visionary I am more of the backbone related to the decision making. People say that I am a very busy man but the truth is I do not work after 6pm, but when I start my day, I just focus on my work.  I tend to enjoy my work and for me it is not very hard to manage things, once you have made priorities in life.

How difficult is for a business tycoon to manage multiple chains of businesses?

Definitely, it is not an easy job, but as I said, I tend to enjoy my work. No business can be stable, it has ups or downs and in some cases it is stagnant, mainly affected by the economic factor, having said this the current situation and the economic reform changes this may not be a good part for investment or start a new business, however a time to review and reflect on current business portfolio. Pakistan is a land of opportunities and I am very confident that 2020 will be better.

Attaining one of the highest business structures in the market, how do you tend to continue the success you have garnered?

My goal in life is to work on sustainable business model and that is through hard work and commitment.  As I mentioned, the current economic situation of our country is not encouraging for entrepreneurs to initiate any kind of new business activity. All the people I know from this fraternity, doing their own business have agreed upon the decision to hold the projects until the situation settles down.

How has the new government played a role in enriching the economic sector of Pakistan?

To be honest, the confidence of businessmen is shaken due to the uncertainty in our economy, as previously mentioned, this government needs to take the business community into confidence and make policies which will help the businessmen to venture into new projects otherwise we need to maintain the current status and wait for the stability in the economy. When we estimated the cost for some of our projects at that time dollar was around 120 and now it has reached up to 160, the costs have gone up dramatically. As far as CPEC is concerned, we need to make sure that we know how to benefit from China, because China clearly knows what to benefit from this project. Secondly, they need to build confidence amongst people regarding the development of CPEC.

Coming across hard times and aiming for the best, how do you manage criticism?

Difficult times are part of life; one should face them with determination. Throughout my upbringing, I had seen my father work hard and achieve his goal. It was because of him, where we stand and the base of this business empire.  Entrepreneurial skills run in our blood, it is a system which I and my brothers have grown up in.  I saw my father doing business; it became easy for me to handle difficult situations and then getting out of it as well.

Talking about family values Samira my wife has been a great supporter and admirer for my dedication and passion for my business, besides being a British Pakistani she respects our family values and has been the main reason for us to live and work in Pakistan

Leading the entire business structure from the front, what new ventures are to be seen under the family wing?

We have exceled at the energy, health, education and finance sector, but we want to expand our group by venturing into 2 different sectors. First is the aviation industry, I personally feel that we have a huge gap in the aviation industry and we have done the primary research and working, however the economic cloud at present as mentioned above is not favorable for any project. The second one is more of a dream rather than just a project. My father wanted us to develop another industry probably the country’s largest paper mill. This would have been also a platform for creating jobs and empowering individuals and enhancing revenue on a national level

With such a vast professional portfolio on your name, how do you manage time for your personal life?

I have a simple rule about work and personal life, when I am working my complete focus is on my work but after 6pm, the business mind transforms into a family guy. We are a very close knitted family we all still live under one roof and Allah has been very kind for keeping the bond. Twice in a year we go a family vacation and enjoy time out. I am not a very social person “wow” word animal, however my own time is playing golf which I have been playing and enjoying with some very close friends.

What message would you like to give our readers, especially youth?

The youth is the future and we need to speak to them in a very clear tone, we need to empower them. Today’s youth is progressive but at the same time very rebellious so we need to make sure that we mentor them with a vision and making them understand their role and responsibility. I am a great supporter of our generation and our youth is extremely talented and inspiring.