Nawaz Sharif and Chiniotis

Few months before Nawaz Sharif came into power in 1990, an article in the monthly, Herald about the 22 families ranked Habib to be number 1, followed by Crescent at 2, Dawood at 3 and Saigols at four. The monthly Herald's list of top 25 families included 9 Punjab based groups of which six were Chiniotis. However three years rule of Nawaz Sharif was to radically transform this balance of economic power between Karachi and Punjab.

Punjab and Chiniotis generally and Mian Mohammad Mansha and his associates particularly proposed during the chief minister-ship of Nawaz Sharif. Pasrur Sugar Mills and Samundri Sugar Mills of Punjab Industrial Development Board (PIDB) were privatized to Monnoos and United group. Within months of coming into power as Prime Minister in 1990, the management of National Development Leasing Corporation (NDLC) was withdrawn from House of Habib and handed over to the United group.

Nearly half of the assets privatized by Nawaz Sharif ended up with Mansha, his relatives or business associates. But bringing together the National group to bid for Muslim Commercial Bank was the biggest business coupe that Chiniotis could have staged against their main business rivals. Before nationalization, Muslim Commercial Bank was a Memon Bank owned by Adamjee and its purchase by Chiniotis demonstrated their rising power and the decline of the Memons. The National group which bought Muslim Commercial Bank was a consortium of 12 leading industrial families, of whom all but two, Chakwal and Bashir Jan Mohammad were not Chinioti. While Muslim Commercial Bank was the flagship of Chiniotis rising power, they called upon a Memon banker Hussain Lawai to head it.

A Nishat group profile in 1990 estimated that its assets were worth Rs 4 billion but the group profile in 1993 placed its assets at Rs 10 billion, a phenominal 250% increase in assets in three years.

Seventy five percent of the newly listed companies during three years of Nawaz Sharif belonged to the Chiniotis. Mansha launched seven new companies and Crescent listed eight new companies at the Karachi Stock Exchange.

Earlier in this book we have reported about the Gas-war between the Memons and the Ismaeeli Khojas (Fancy) over the setting up of the first Non-Memon Textile Mills in Karachi but the resignation with which the Memons allowed Chiniotis to overtake them, in Bhutto and post-Bhutto era is amazing and a loud proclaimation of their disinterest in long-term economic development of Pakistan. While in 1960's every fourth factory in Pakistan belonged to a Memon, the Chiniotis own 125 out of 750 companies listed on the KSE in 1997.

Chiniotis are a close fraternity who seldom marry outside their clan, with the result that marriages have come to play an importent role in their growth and kinship. During his interview with the author, Mian Habib took out a red book from his drawer which contained the names of 80 Chiniotis living in Islamabad and said that in the event of a marriage, a party or a tragedy in a Chinioti family, first people to get the information are the people listed in the book. Every city has its own directory of the Chiniotis.

Chiniotis take pride that they are born businessmen and serve through industry. Unlike Memons who have a Memon Society of Professionals, there are very few prominent Chinioti professionals or civil servants. Mazhar Rafi, former Secretary Defense Production was the most well known Chinioti to succeed outside business and industry and the top military man from Chiniot was one Brigadier Mehboob.

" Chiniotis are born businessmen, born to serve the nation by setting up industaries. They seldom invest in cinema, hotels and activities like gambling prohibited by the religion. They are never suspected of shifting their capital abroad. It is the Chinioti Crescent group which is known as the exemplary tax payer", Habib Ullah pointed out.

Mian Habib Ullah himself is a living exemple of the business acumen of his fraternity. His grandfather Nazar Mohammad had started export of hides and skins from Southern India and set up several industrial units including Zeenat Textile Mills with 25,000 spindles and 500 looms in 1952. It was after his father's death in 1981 that Mian Habib Ullah launched his own independent business, by buying off shares of his uncles in the family enterprise D M Textile Mills. He now heads a small group comprising D M Textile, Omer Textile, Bilal Fibre and Shalimar Textile.

Mian Shaukat Masud is another budding Chinioti businessman from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and is member of a fairly large but unknown Fazal group Industries, with headquarters in Multan. The group has 24 units in its fold including Fazal Cloth, Reliance Weaving, Fatima enterprise, Sh Fazalur-Rehman and Sons and Mubarik Textile listed on KSE. Some unlisted units are Ahmad Fine Spinning Mills, Hussain Mills, Fatima Fazal Soap and Fatima Sugar. The entire production of four textile mills is exclusively devoted to export, mainly to Japan while some members of the family have set up independent units, Shaukat said.

One of the Shaukat's cousins who married an American girl has set up Carolina Textile Mills at Jabal-e-Ali in Middle East.

" Fazal group of Industries or Fatima group was founded by Shaukat's grandfather Mian Fazal-ur-Rehman who was working as a helper on a grocery shop in pre-independence Pakistan. He had to quit his job at the grocery shop when he lost his eyesight and was dropping a lot of bottles incurring loss to shop owner", Shaukat recalled.

The loss of job forced Fazalur-Rehman to go back to family's kitty and pool the resources of family and friends to set up Fazal Edible Oil factory at Multan. The business was expanding when it was hit by nationalization of Edible oil and rice husking units.

Shaukat said he would never forgive Pakistan's Peoples Party for causing the death of his father, Mian Masud who took it upon himself to lead one man crusade against nationalization.

" The days immediately after nationalization were like family history taking full circle back to 1947 when we had to think about the humiliation of finding jobs, he recalled. Sheikh Fazal had nine sons and all the families again pooled their resources and handed it to eldest brother Sheikh Rashid Ahmad to set up Fazal Cloth Mills which became the nucleus for growth of the group to their present position.

Companies owned by Chiniotis on KSE

S. No Name No. of Companies
1 Crescent 21
2 Nishat 13
3 United 9
4 Saphire 8
5 Sargodha 8
6 Colony 6
7 Fazal Sons 5
8 Ibrahim 5
9 Arshad 5
10 Fatima 4
11 Tata 3
12 Nagina 3
13 Jehangir Elahi 4
14 JSK 2
15 Ayesha 2
16 Monnoo 2
17 Mian Habib Ullah 2
18 Sunshine 2
19 Chenab 2
20 Din 1
21 Ali Asghar Textile 1
22 Adamjee Industries 1
23 Nusrat Textile 1
24 Ruby Textile 1
25 Quetta Textile 1
26 Khurshid Spinning 1
27 Diamond Industries 1

How They Make Money

Table of Contents

The Rise of Chiniotis

The Robber Barrons of Pakistan