The Legacy of Ali Habib

A stream of condolences poured in following the death of Ali Habib in Karachi
on April 17, 2020. He was a prominent business magnate and headed the
House of Habib, which serves as an umbrella for many successful institutions.

By Syed Jawaid Iqbal | May 2020

When leading entrepreneur and captain of the industry Ali Suleman Habib passed away in Karachi on Friday, April 17 at the age of 63, he left behind a void and a legacy that will be hard to fill – at least in the near future.

Tweeted Prime Minister Imran Khan, “Saddened to learn of the passing of my old friend Ali Habib”. The premier also acknowledged late Ali Habib’s assistance in an honorary capacity to the Ministry of Commerce.

Pakistan’s entire business community went into a shock on hearing of Ali Habib’s sudden demise. It was evident in all the sadness that Pakistan had lost a true blue business entrepreneur who was recognized as a very patriotic industrialist.

A good human being and a very decent man, Ali Habib left us all too soon. He was a thorough professional who would demand and settle for nothing but the best.

High Aspirations

Wasif A. Rizvi, President of the Habib University, which Ali Habib founded, says Ali Habib saw the Habib University as one of the highest quality institutions of higher learning in the world. In a letter to the editor published in a local newspaper, Wasif Rizvi says he was emboldened by this impetus and this is the reason why Habib University today takes pride in its close associations with some of the top universities in the world.

He describes Ali Habib as a relentless pursuer of the highest aspirations, both literally and metaphorically. His business and philanthropic goals were even loftier because he not only ensured that Habib University remained on track to be a great institution of excellence, but was also ranked among the most generous private universities in the world in terms of student financial support.

Rizvi states that Ali Habib developed powerful platforms for the business community to become more thoughtful about their practices and work collaboratively for the national economic interest.

He adds that just a few weeks ago, he had advised the government about boosting the country’s exports manifold by reviewing its policies.

For Wasif Rizvi, Ali Habib was a mentor, guide, keen listener, boss and a brother, all rolled in one. He says that he feels disoriented and lost at Ali Habib’s completely unexpected departure.

His ideas were always original but backed by hard facts that he would laboriously extract from his personal experience, a lot of reading and an uncanny ability to observe developments for himself. He often went to Japan to see the manufacturing of Toyota cars first-hand and learn the ropes.

He was in no way a typical Seth as he was always hands-on and personally present at the IMC-Toyota production lines at least once or twice a week to make sure that everything was in order.

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