Fund for the Pakistani Common Man

An Open Letter

Let us all step forward collectively for our country to save Pakistan

Respected Sir/Madam

May God’s mercy and peace be upon us all. God Almighty has bestowed upon me the honor of being one of the most successful businessmen in Pakistan. I feel no shame in admitting that my name, identity, and that of Bahria Town wouldn’t exist without Pakistan, and it’s all thanks to the grace of Almighty God and our beloved nation. We have enjoyed the bounties of our country for generations, and today at the age of 62, I feel I am indebted to our country and its people. If I am unable to repay this debt, on the Judgment Day I will stand before the Almighty as the accused, and with no defense. He provided for us plentifully, and we must show gratitude by being compassionate to others.

Some material possessions make my life more enjoyable, but many, however, do not. I like having an expensive private airplane, but owning half a dozens of homes, for example, would be too much of a burden. Too often, a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner. I am certainly not the only one indebted to Pakistan. My other billionaire friends such as Sir Anwar Pervez, Sadarud- din Hashwani, Nasir Schon, Haji Abdur Razzaq, Mian Muhammad Mansha, Rafiq Habib, Tariq Sehgal, Dewan Yousuf, Sultan Ali Lakhani, Seth Abid, Mian Muhammad Latif, Jehangir Tareen, Iqbal Z. Ahmed, Bashir A. Tahir, the Dawood family, the Sheikhani family, Behram Avari, Rafiq Rangoonwala, Aqeel Karim Dady, Jehangir Elahi, the Shirazi family, the Noon family, the Shahzad family, the Yunus brothers, the Ghani family, the Sehgal family, and scores of others are equally indebted to our country and its people. It’s time that we realize our duty towards Pakistan. If we are unable to see the imminent consequences of our continued ignorance, I am scared that not only our families but also our businesses will fuel a bloody revolution that is brewing due to poverty, lawlessness, unemployment, corruption, and terrorism. This is a clear warning to land barons, waders, the wealthy, politicians, bureaucrats, and industrialists to shed their sloth and wake up before all is lost and there is no place to hide.

I humbly appeal to my billionaire friends to develop a platform to provide sustainable employment. Today in Pakistan, 90 million youngsters are unemployed, low-income citizens are forced to reduce their consumption of flour by 10 percent, 75 percent of Pakistanis are categorized as poor, and more than 60 million people live below the poverty line. What else could we expect a bloody revolution? Will they not try to slaughter the rich who are living the high life? Will they not set our palatial homes on fire? Will they not destroy our limousines? I have concluded that they will resort to any cruelty to take revenge that would surpass our imaginations. If we do nothing today to pacify their hunger and don’t provide a sustaiable social and economic system, believe you me the day is not far away 14 when they will deprive us of our peaceful sleep and trouble-free lives.

You will agree that the difference between the rich and poor in Pakistan is the same as mountain peaks and the ocean depths. In our country, where more than 60 million people cannot manage to find two meals a day, the rich spend millions of rupees each day on their personal comforts. If we don’t do something to reduce the gap between the rich and poor, the deprived majority will take everything from the fortunate few. Our wealth, our peaceful lives, our comforts, and everything else will be snatched up. Realizing my own responsibilities to our nation, I, therefore, appeal to all our billionaires to step forward with an initial contribution of PKR 50 million for a new fund. This fund will be to help poor Pakistanis living below the poverty line. To replenish the fund as it’s spent, we will need to continue contributing PKR 2 million a month. This is peanuts for us but will make a remarkable difference to the lives of millions. Initially, billions of rupees will be contributed toward this fund to develop a platform for sustainable programs for free food centers, free education, clean water, health and sanitation, and most of all for skills enhancement and basic training centers to prepare the poor to find employment. I am reminded of the famous Chinese proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime”. Our fund will provide immediate relief by establishing hundreds of “Dastarkhwans” throughout Pakistan, where 20 to 30 million poor people can eat each day in dignity. Pakistan’s rural areas desperately need small and mobile hospitals that can provide basic healthcare and medicines to the millions of poor people. Our fund will establish Vocational Training Institutes, where millions of unskilled laborers will be turned into a skilled labor force capable of earning billions in foreign exchange by exporting skilled labor to the West and the Middle East. Through our fund, we can advance small interest-free loans to the poor, like the “Grameen Bank” of Bangladesh, to enable them to earn their own living and create cottage industries. Overall, this small step towards helping others — and in turn ourselves — will change the lives of millions of Pakistanis. We can also use our fund for social change. The fund will be known as “FUND FOR THE PAKISTANI COMMON MAN”. We will be the pioneers of this fund. Our generous contributions will encourage the upper and upper-middle class to contribute as well, as every little contribution helps.

I know the people of my nation, they have a great deal of capacity to do good. We should not hesitate for a moment to contribute towards poverty alleviation. The contributions will be financially supervised and audited by a third-party accredited chartered accountancy firm. We should remember that by helping others, we are only helping ourselves in this world and beyond.

I have no regrets in accepting that our country’s wealthy people sleep in air conditioned bedrooms set at 18 degrees with a comfortable imported blanket, while our workers relentlessly toil in 46 degrees. We are accumulating heaps of wealth, while it’s increasingly difficult for them to feed themselves and their families. These workers not only toil for us under the scorching sun, but also pray for our well-being and our health. But who is praying for their well being and health? Is it not our responsibility to do? Are we not duty bound to look after their well-being and comforts? Hazrat Umer Farooq (R.A) stopped the use of honey and meat under such conditions. Why can’t we share our honey and meat with our country’s poor? A King of France built a palace for himself called the “Chateau de Versailles,” which in those days was the biggest and most expensive ever made. Like us, the emperor used to sleep in the palatial palace, while the poor of France lived a life in the hell of poverty and hunger. Look what happened? The poor, hungry people of France tore the king’s descendants to pieces in front of the very same palace. Will history repeat itself in Pakistan? Are we not sprinting toward the same fate? The fate of the wealthy of Iran in the 1970s is known to everyone. These people used to invite thousands to celebrate the wedding of their dogs. At the same time, the hungry masses of Iran marched on the roads. What was the result? The filthy rich are now embracing death in America and other European countries, and are unable to return to their homeland. They are even trying to be buried in their homeland but cannot? I appeal to my friends to sacrifice a few million. This sacrifice will save you, your business, your wealth, your family, and our beloved country. The other option is that the poor will take everything by force.

Let us appeal to those who have only Rs. 1,000 in their pocket to help those with only Rs. 100 to survive so we all collectively move to save our country from disaster. Our religion propagates that “….. if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole humanity (Surah 5, Verse 32)”. I am personally taking a step towards this noble cause by offering a contribution of PKR 50 million. I appeal to all who have become billionaires and millionaires thanks to our country and its people. Let us all step forward collectively for our country to save Pakistan from the fate of a bloody revolution such as in France and Iran.

I request all my friends, in particular those who I’ve mentioned earlier, to form a committee for our fund. This committee should open and operate an independent bank account for this purpose, and share its details to all concerned, to take the first step in a long journey towards eternal peace and prosperity.