Fighting from the front

Fighting from the front

Fighting from the front
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LAHORE : High taxes and unstable exchange rate are the key challenges and the government is focusing only on large-scale manufacturing and that too the textile sector, said Muhammad Ali Afzal, chief executive officer of Afzal Sons.

Afzal Sons is a multi-million-dollar enterprise, dealing in imports and supply of industrial equipment, hardware and tools.

Afzal said that there is a little or no attention to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the cottage industry.

“The future is bleak until and unless the government gives due attention to the SMEs and the cottage industry, which is the backbone of any economy in the world.”

It has become difficult for the people to start a new business in Pakistan with the existing players fighting for their survival.

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There is a dire need to remove bureaucratic hurdles and providing a one-window facility to the new entrants. The IT sector is good for new entrants, he said.

“The government should minimise the taxes, and instead of indirect taxes, it should go for direct taxation measures,” he added.

Afzal is a successful entrepreneur who entered business at a young age and managed to take Afzal Sons to new heights through dedication and sheer hard work.

Around two decades ago, he started business with the financial support of his father Muhammad Afzal Javed, a radio frequency engineer working with Jeddah Telecommunication.

Ali focused on the quality and customer satisfaction that helped in gradual increase in the turnover of his company.

A graduate from the Punjab University Hailey College, Ali is pretty much satisfied with the education and upbringing of his two sons and a daughter. He has taught his children humanity, respect for elders and love for the fellow human beings regardless of their status.

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Having an interest in trade politics, he is working as an Executive Committee member of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. His entire politics revolves around giving awareness to fellow businessmen about their rights and help resolving their issues.

Following are the excerpts of a brief chat with him:

What was your first business venture?

After the B.Com, my father helped me establish Afzal Sons. I was independent right from the day one. I travelled a lot for identifying suitable countries for import of machinery and tools for the local industries. It was a good learning experience. I am a lucky man whose first business venture is a big success.

What is your biggest achievement?

I am a self-made man who managed to expand business manifold in just two decades. Starting from import of machinery with the financial help of my father, Ali Sons later started manufacturing equipment and tools. I am a satisfied son, brother and father. I am focusing on proper upbringing and education of my children. I have taught my children to follow the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for the success in life and hereafter.

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I have worked a lot for the rights of fellow businessmen. Raising awareness about rights and resolution of issues of community is the hallmark of my business politics.

What is your greatest fear in life?

I am worried about the prevailing situation in the country. The pandemic has played havoc with the economy. The real concern is that we are not moving in the right direction. This is not proper time to start new business, as the existing ones are fighting for their survival.

Who is your inspirational role model?

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is my inspirational role model. He (PBUH) has taught me how to live life and do business.

What is your favourite sport? Have you been a player or athlete yourself?

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Cricket… Like most of the people of my generation, I played cricket in streets and school/college grounds. I also love spending time in the gym.

Who is your favourite sportsman?

Imran Khan due to his cricketing abilities and leadership qualities in the field. Usain Bolt is also my favourite due to his energy, focus and professionalism.

Something about music?

I like soft music and Qawwali. Due to busy schedule, I listen to music only while travelling. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is my favourite.

What are your hobbies?

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I listen to motivational speakers. I read reviews for exploring new business ideas and avenues. I am always ready to extend a helping hand to fellow businessmen.

How do you take part in public welfare?

I take part in public welfare through organised and informal means. I support Sheikh Welfare Association that helps in weddings of deserving girls and treatment of poor patients. It also helps educated youth in establishing their own businesses.

How many hours do you work in a day?

I usually spend eight hours at work. Two to three are for gym and meeting friends and colleagues. The rest of the time is for the family.

Which is your favourite holiday destination and why?

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I am a nature lover and fond of travelling. Thailand is my favourite holiday destination. I love Phi Phi Islands, Phuket and Pattaya due to beaches and scenic beauty. The Northern Areas and Kashmir are also good but these are relatively inaccessible due to poor road infrastructure and the lack of tourism facilities.

iPhone or Android phones?

Android due to its user-friendly nature. I am a technology conscious and as such regularly update my phones.

Which clothing brands do you frequently wear?

I am not a brand conscious but quality means the most to me. As far as clothes are concerned, I can wear any brand. I even get my clothes stitched.

What prompted you to join traders’ politics?

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I desired to make my experience and expertise productive for my community. Doing politics is aimed at raising awareness among the traders about their rights and help them resolve their problems.

 

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