Family business in Pakistani-III Bawany, Colony, Hashwani and Crescent Groups | BY Ikram Sehgal

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Family business in Pakistani-III Bawany, Colony, Hashwani and Crescent Groups

BAWANY Group: Born in 1882 and 1890 respectively at Jetpur, Kathiawar, Ahmad Karim Ebrahim Bawany and Abdul Latif Ibrahim Bawany founded the Bawany dynasty.

Migrating to Burma towards the end of 19th Century, the two brothers reportedly made their initial fortunes by selling cloth as vendors on bicycles from village to village.

They incorporated their first limited company Ahmad Violin Hosiery Works in Rangoon and established themselves as importers and exporters.

After the Second World War they returned to set up a business in India, migrating to Pakistan in 1947.

A company incorporated in Karachi in memory of the Hosiery Mills at Rangoon with the same name is still doing a flourishing business.

Bawanys were a big family, Ahmad Bawany had seven sons namely Siddiq, Majid, Yahya, Ibrahim, Amin, Rauf and Zakaria Bawany, each of whom is heading at least one industrial unit independently.

The original Bawany assets were divided among them, over the years their assets have come to be further sub-divided.

The members of Bawany family are today mostly active in textiles, jute, sugar, particle board, Oxygen, leather, garments, tanneries and cables but none of them are a major group equalling the Dawoods or Habibs.

Al-Noor is a splinter of Bawanys, the two have joint interests in several companies.

Like the Dawoods and the Habibs in education, the Bawany Group had a penchant for philanthropic work, the famous Baitul Muqaram Masjid in Dhaka was mostly funded by them.

Colony Group: Founded by Mohammad Ismaeel the Colony Group started work on Colony Textile Mills at Multan in 1945, this became the first textile mill to be commissioned in independent Pakistan.

Ishmael was already operating a chain of 14 ginning factories and four flour mills while work was in progress on Colony Textile Mills.

He had four sons, eldest Aziz A Sheikh followed by Naseer A Sheikh, Farooq A Sheikh and youngest Mughis A Sheikh.

Colony has since been divided into three groups, headed by Farooq A Shaikh, Naseer A Shaikh and Mughis A Shaikh.

Like so many other industrialists, members of the Colony group also became active in politics, owned equity in newspapers and contested elections.

Naseer A Sheikh was on board of “Civil and Military Gazette” and “Nawa-e-Waqt” while Farooq A Sheikh contested elections for the National Assembly in 1970.

Colony was ranked among the top ten groups in Pakistan in 1970, with up to a dozen manufacturing companies under its umbrella.

Hashwani Group (and Hashoo Group): Hailing from Karachi, Sind Province, and belonging to a Sindhi Khoja Shia Muslim family, the Hashwanis had migrated with the third Ismaili Imam Aga Khan from Persia in the early 1900s and settled in Lasbela, Balochistan.

The foundation of Hashwani Group of Companies was laid in the mid-1900s when Mukhi Abdullah Hashwani and his son Hussain A.Hashwani who entered the barley, cotton and sugar trade, became the agents of Ralli Brothers UK Ltd.

After the creation of Pakistan, Hussain A.Hashwani along with his eldest son Akbar A.Hashwani embarked on further diversification with various other commercial and industrial ventures.

Under the strategic direction of Akbar Ali Hashwani, a visionary entrepreneur and a committed philanthropist, the Group attained further success.

His leadership coupled with the management’s relentless commitment helped pave the path to the recognition of Hashwani Group of Companies as a world-class organization.

Today, Amin Hashwani leads the Group, besides business his social welfare activities are exemplary.

Established in 1960 by the enterprising younger son Sadruddin Hashwani, the Hashoo Group initially operated as a trading enterprise.

Through its founder’s vision, strategic direction and unwavering commitment, the Hashoo Group from its humble origins in cotton trading has by itself emerged by far as one of Pakistan’s premium conglomerates with a diversified international business portfolio.

The Hashoo Group business interests today span the globe and encompass hospitality, oil and gas exploration and production, information technology, investment, minerals, travel and tourism, real estate and commodity trading business.

Sadruddin Hashmani having retired his son Murtaza has excelled in taking the Hashoo Group to new heights.

With presence in all major cities of Pakistan the Hashoo Group of companies has in its fold as sole owner and operator, the Pearl-Continental Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels, PC Legacy and Hotel One brands.

Also in the Group is Ocean Pakistan Limited, a prestigious Oil and Gas exploration and production company.

The Hashoo Foundation has done extraordinary work in both education and charity, particularly in Gilgit Baltistan their enthusiasm for pragmatic philanthropy is outstanding.

Most of their employees make have been trained by them free of cost.

Crescent Group: In the early 1900s Shams Din of Chiniot and his four sons, Fazal Karim, Mohammad Amin, Mohammad Bashir and Mohammad Shafi set up a small tannery at Amritsar in India.

By the time Pakistan was born, they had offices at Madras, Jullundur, Calcutta and Delhi.

After the birth of Pakistan, three of the four brothers returned to Pakistan and in 1951, incorporated a trading company named Mohammad Amin Mohammad Bashir Ltd for export of Cotton and imports.

Bashir settled in Karachi, Amin managed the operations from Lahore and Shafi worked in a ginning factory in Sargodha.

In lieu of the property left over in India the Crescent family was allotted an industrial unit sprawling over 125 acres in Faisalabad, this has become the springboard of their growth and diversification.

By mid 1960s Fazal Karim also returned to Pakistan and the four brothers fondly known in the business community as the “The Gang of four” soon became Pakistan’s biggest textile exporters.

They were also joined in the business by their two cousins.Today Crescent has the largest number of listed companies (22) in its fold with assets exceeding Rs 10 billion.

One of the largest industrial conglomerates in Pakistan and one of the 22 families which has remained united through thick and thin, during both the best and the worst times for big business in Pakistan during the last 50 years.

Presided over by the eldest member of the family, Mazhar Karim, the Group has twenty working members and can be truly called a joint venture of uncles, cousins and nephews (The Third article on the major family business in Pakistan).

—The writer is a defence analyst and security expert, based in Karachi.

 

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