Habib Ahmad Honorary Consul General of Russian Federation in Pakistan & Managing Director, Habib Rafiq (Pvt.) Ltd.
EVOLVE: Let us know the road map of yourjourney since inception, and what made youchoose a certain path which led you to thisbusiness?
Mr. Habib Rafiq: Construction is my family business. I joined this profession with my father and brother in 1963. At that time, we were based in Muzaffargarh near Multan. Since then, I have been enjoying this exciting profession
while facing different challenges in my life.
EVOLVE: Tell us how your family has contributedin this business and how many ofyour family members are into this business?
Mr. Habib Rafiq: Habib Rafiq (Pvt.) Ltd. is a family owned company; myself Habib and my elder brother Rafiq. HRL was initially a firm then later in 1977 I transformed it into a Limited Company with addition of Directors. Today our standing and repute is the result the of untiring efforts of all of our family members. By the grace of Almighty Allah, we have maintained a good record. The involvement of my family members is also one of the reasons of our successful business as unity is the key to credibility, reputation and success.
As far as HRL contribution in national development is concerned, I feel proud to say that almost 50 percent Thermal Power Stations have been constructed and established by Habib Rafiq (Pvt.) Ltd.
EVOLVE: Kindly share some of your landmarkprojects at national & internationallevel?
Mr. Habib Rafiq: There is a long list of projects accomplished by HRL, but I consider Jinnah Conventional Centre, Islamabad as my landmark and the most challenging project. Initially, my efforts were not appreciated but later
it started emerging. As far as HRL contribution in national development is concerned, I feel proud to say that almost
50 percent Thermal Power Stations have been constructed and established by Habib Rafiq (Pvt) Ltd. I started off in the early seventies with Guddo Thermal Power Plant, Kot Addu, Roush Power Plant and by no we are acknowledged among the pioneers. Even today, we are handling the largest Thermal Power Project near Lahore. HRL has also
contributed in constructing High Rise buildings, Housing Schemes and some parts of the Highway projects. One of our landmark projects is Lahore, Sheikhupura and Faisalabad dual carriageway on the BOT basis; its a private public partnership. It was the first ever BOT project in Pakistan and it took me three years to negotiatewith the Punjab Government. We have some major projects of hospitals in various states of Saudi Arabia since nineties.
EVOLVE: Being Honorary Consul Generalof Russia in Pakistan, how are you playingyour role to strengthen bilateral relationsbetween both the nations?
Mr. Habib Rafiq: My first interaction with Russians was in late seventies when I was doing the project of Guddu Thermal Power. The machinery of the plant was supplied by a Russian Company and I was one of the Civil Contractors. Major portion was built by HRL. Since 1995, I frequently traveled to Russia and got them convinced that I could be useful to them. I take pride in mentioning that I was awarded with a medal and a Letter of Compliment by the President of Russian Federation Mr. Vladimir Putin in 2015.
EVOLVE: You are running the oldest familybusiness in Pakistan. What are the problemsof a family business? Your answershould be a guideline for other people runningfamily businesses.
Mr. Habib Rafiq: There have been very few family businesses which have actually survived. I would say that unity of the family is based on the spirit of sacrifice. Contribution of each member in business development is essential
and the junior should respect the senior member and founder of the company.
EVOLVE: How should one decide whetherone is more suited to be an entrepreneur orfor a job and what are the basic traits of anEntrepreneur?
Mr. Habib Rafiq:Devotion, sincerity and hard work are the key elements of becoming an Entrepreneur. It will take time to be on the top of the mountain as its all the hard work that helps to make it to the top. Furthermore,
I believe in devotion, hard work and spirit of sacrifice for achieving long term success.
EVOLVE: Advancement of science andtechnology has changed the face and paceof construction sector around the world. Doyou think that construction sector of Pakistanhas aligned itself with this positivityand innovation?
Mr. Habib Rafiq: Technology has positively influenced almost every sector, so as construction. New machinery, construction style and biggest of all time saving technologies have entirely changed the look and feel of this sector.
Now the projects of years are being completed in months or within weeks even. As CPEC is bringing a lot of infrastructural development and Pakistan has become very much well mechanized. Due to CPEC, many companies
are coming to Pakistan who are well equipped with usage of latest technology and modern machinery. This surely will change the scenario of this sector in Pakistan. The most satisfying moment for me is that Pakistan is willing to
accept this change.
EVOLVE: We feel that real estate sectorof Pakistan has become a major source ofprosperity due to its quick return. On theother hand industrialization is going down,what is your take on this point?
Mr. Habib Rafiq: Real estate is a cycle; it goes up and down globally. Dubai is the fastest growing city in the world. It has been recorded that 33% of the worlds equipment is installed in Dubai. Real estate has always been in the
boom as family sizes are increasing, and by the time living standards are also rising which is why it has mainly become the need of the hour and requirement of the mankind. Currently real estate sector is a bit down, prices are stagnant and on a smaller level scheme, there is a room for eight million houses in Pakistan.
EVOLVE: What are the current projects ofHRL?
Mr. Habib Rafiq: We are working at Bhikki Power Plant, Islamabad High Court Building and then some road projects like M9. We are also working on Infrastructure development in DHA for a private company and soon launching our own project of Real Estate Housing Scheme. We are also in the joint venture with a Chinese company who is one of the largest manufacturers of China and with few other Chinese companies too.
EVOLVE: Doing Business in Pakistan isa term which rates the facilitation from alldepartments for initiating a business. Pakistansrating is not improving. What is yourtake on this?
Mr. Habib Rafiq: The values are deteriorating. The word honesty has become a fashion, when you experience it you get to know that it does not exist in this society. To me, it is a global phenomenon; people are dishonest generally and the world is becoming more and more materialistic. Same here in Pakistan when somebody wants to do business honestly or wants to bring investment, he has to face a viscous set of practices and behaviors. I think we need to focus on moral values because noble values are transformed into worthy practices. As per my thought, it is more of an ethical issue rather political.
EVOLVE: Any message for the readers ofEVOLVE magazine?
Mr. Habib Rafiq: I appreciate your sincere efforts and the way you are putting up with the challenges coming your way. It is difficult to maintain the quality but determination can help in doing so. Very well done and may you keep up the good work.