Agha Hasan Abedi: the man who dared to dream big

Published: October 25, 2010

Agha meeting the Pope

Agha Hasan Abedi was one of the finest minds this country has ever produced. He was an exemplary patriot and a legendary banker.

In the mess that exists today, the youth of Pakistan desperately needs inspiring personalities to look up to.

I cannot think of a better person to quote.

He proved that politics is not the only form of service to the nation. He suffered through various scandals towards the end of his life, but no one can deny his contributions towards building a stronger Pakistan. It is a shame we let our youth forget a man like Agha Hasan Abedi.

Thousands graduate every year from FAST National University and Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute. Only a handful of those proud degree holders know who laid the foundations of these prestigious institutes. It was one man’s vision that delivered tremendously to Pakistan’s development.

A true patriot

Agha started his banking career at Habib Bank in the late 1940s and enjoyed instant promotions. He went on to join the United Bank Ltd (UBL) in 1959 and shot up the ranks again. Under his leadership, UBL changed the banking culture in Pakistan and it became the second largest bank in the country. But this is just a small highlight of his résumé.

When banks in Pakistan were nationalised in 1972, Agha went on to start the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). He persuaded the Arabs to invest in it, which turned into one of the largest banks in the world, spreading its influence through offices in 72 countries around the world. It employed some 16, 000 people and Agha made sure that a majority of the employees were Pakistani nationals. Such was his spirit towards his homeland. Over 80 per cent of the top executives of the bank were Pakistani.

A bank that was too successful

BCCI’s influence went beyond everyone’s expectations. It became a big player throughout the world and expanded at a great pace, making BCCI a dominant force worldwide. Hence, it was decided by some that it was time for the BCCI to go. BCCI was accused of funding Pakistan’s nuclear program, Palestinian fighters, money laundering and various other charges. Agha became a wanted man internationally. Pakistan’s government gave him full protection and refused to hand him over. Agha was maligned in the international media and the bank was alleged to have links with international intelligence agencies. Mired in controversy, the bank was torn apart.

The focus of this article is to bring Agha Sahib’s contributions to Pakistan in the limelight. His contribution is of such magnitude that it is safe to say that he shaped the modern Pakistan. Pakistan’s banking industry is often considered extremely competent. Most emerging banks in the Middle East are using expertise from Pakistan to set up their banking and financial sectors. If we dig to the roots of this accomplishment, it was Agha Hasan who deserves all the credit. BCCI trained thousands of Pakistanis to become successful banking professionals. The stable structure and modern infrastructure of banking in Pakistan comes from Agha.

A farsighted contributor

Agha was a visionary. He introduced computer science in Pakistan, back when few knew what it even was. He donated Rs100 million to form the BCCI Foundation for Advancement of Science and Technology (FAST) in 1980 to promote computer science in Pakistan. The year 2000 saw this foundation create FAST National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, a premier multi-campus university with campuses in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar. Moreover, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (GIKI) was also a brainchild of the same man. Both these schools have produced many scientists and engineers who are contributing heavily towards Pakistan’s economy.

Agha was a businessman, who genuinely believed that an individual’s goal should be to help the poor. His great achievements can be proved by the fact that his philanthropic activities are bearing fruits even today, well over a decade after his death. Yet, most of the information about him on the Internet projects him as a corrupt banker only. His contributions towards Pakistan are often overlooked and ignored.

samir.butt

Samir Butt

A former Youth Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Fulbright undergraduate scholar, freelance writer, public speaking trainer, IT consultant and marketing professional. He blogs at samiranwar.net.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://sadaf-fayyaz.blogspot.com/ SadafFayyaz

    A very nice write up…………but it should have been published on either May 14th, or August 5….bcz its written in style of obituary piece……….very innovative indeed and I a fan of Shamshad too………….Recommend

  • http://dreamsbecomedestiny.wordpress.com/ Fatima

    Excellent tribute to the unsung hero.
    His foundation still helps his brainchild universities regarding funds and scholarships,I guess.Recommend

  • Bobby

    THE HEADER SHOULD HAVE BEEN

    THE MAN WHO WAS FEARED BY THE ZIONIST

    Finally someone dared to take his name in media ..BRAVO Mr. Butt.
    Our new generation needs to know that this man put pakistan on the map way before pakistan became a nuclear power. Its sad that he ended up just like Dr. Qadeer where people dont even mention his name and shame to all the bankers who are scared to death to take his name. i wish pakistan can do more for this man.
    like always when US got what they wanted from this man they framed him and made sure that no one in pakistan takes his name and like always pathetic/shamless pakistanis sold their integrity.

    again thank you for letting the world know what a fantastic man he was for pakistan.Recommend

  • parvez

    Nice write up. He was a man with a vision, such people are no longer visible in Pakistan.
    His vision was such that even his bank buildings stood out. I remember some years back when in far off Freetown Sierra Leone I noticed the most prominent building in the town centre was the BCCI bank and I still remember this bit of trivia. Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/author/265/haris-masood-zubairi/ Haris Masood Zuberi

    Great work Samir! Thanks for honouring a visionary.
    The greatest of heroes somehow always end up unsung or covered with controversies created by their ill-wishers.
    It’s our loss when we inherently refuse to recognize real heroes and remain entangled in the webs weaved by fake heroes or political martyrs who’ve never delivered anything but misery.Recommend

  • Talha

    Though I like the man but you cannot overlook all the evil deeds of BCCI. Their operations and their work was heavily involved in crime around the world.

    BCCI along with Mahmud Sipra, Gokal Brothers, Ashfaq Parvez and many others made sure that Pakistani’s are never trusted again in the west.

    I know many who worked in BCCI and I have heard the stories too so do not dupe the public.Recommend

  • Waqqas Iftikhar

    wish you’d actually put a bit more about why BCCI was shut down – it was not just a simple ‘zionist’ conspiracy, the bank had become insolvent, and this comes from someone whose family lost substantial amounts of its wealth in deposits at the BCCI.Recommend

  • SUB

    Can not blame others for letting our own guy down. He was a Pakistani and we should have stood by him. Most new kids hardly know what he was and did for this countryRecommend

  • Samir

    His bank did what most banks around the world do today. The only difference was that Pakistan was eating the fruits back then. This article was written with the intention of highlighting his work towards making Pakistan a better place. Recommend

  • Anam Ashraf Ali

    Nice article. My Dad worked in BCCI and was till there till its fall which further then split into UNB and ENB I believe I am not sure though, he continued working for UNB. My dad has always sung praises for Bedi. Your write up made me see Bedi contributed a lot more. Recommend

  • Naeem Akhtar

    I am impressed and I feel ashamed that I didn’t know about him. We must always acknowledge such figures.

    Thank You very much Samir.Recommend

  • http://azaralizain.blogspot.com Azar Ali Zain

    My uncle used to work in BCCI, and he just visited Pakistan. Upon my mentioning of Agha sahab, he told me what he used to tell his employees:

    I would like to see you as grapes, not raisins.

    Amazing personality. Just another thing, it was the same Kerry Luger who compiled the case against BCCI to tear it apart.Recommend

  • sarang ali shaikh

    i will second naeem views becouse i also din’nt know about him anyways after reading above blog i must appreciate writer for giving us such a valuable information about great person and real servant of pakistan ..Recommend

  • F. Alam

    If we honour such people only then we can inspire others to follow them and make Pakistan great. Sadly, our media is hell bent on feeding us negative stories that make us queue for Visas at foreign embassies!!Recommend

  • Junaid Iqbal – BMA financial

    Aga sahab was an exemplary man. Every one who crossed paths with him has amazing stories to share. Stories of a contrarian thought leader, a visionary, and a patriot

    He changed the way banking worked. What hsbc and standard charted provide today in lc and trade service, he thought of. You imported something from north Africa to Pakistan. The lc was opened by bcci in NA, accepted by bcci Pakistan and settled at bcci NYC

    Obviously the world found it tough to digest how in 17 years, one man builds the 7th largest bank in the world, across 72 countries

    Also important to note that bcci was the first ever international bank to be allowed to do business in china. He saw china coming before anyone else. Imagine if the bank was still there, it would have grown with china

    Also, he started the third world foundation. President Carter wa the general secretary and Aga sahib the president

    Urdu markez was also started and funded on his directive

    Today, Arif Naqvi of Abraaj capital is starting to make the kind of impact in the global financial sector the way Aga sahib did. All the best to himRecommend

  • http://facebook.com/syedjaafer Jaafer Naqvi

    Thanks a lot for writing up this great piece.

    You forgot to mention his contribution in medical care.
    Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplant – SIUT was also his start up in early 70s.
    SIUT still give totally free medical care to patients.Recommend

  • Bobby

    @Talha: Stories r to be told be it false or true. we lost a lotta money in BCCI as well . u just have to connects the dots to see it urself the real picture.
    BCCI was trapped for one reason cause zionist didnt wanted a muslim to own the banking system and that my friend believe or not is the fact ..look round you n u will know . u can call it a cospiracy but what i call it a truth that people like u call is cospiracy. Recommend

  • http://roofe.net Rafaeel Akbar

    Great Piece Samir!

    Finally somebody wrote about the exemplary work done by Agha Sb. A truly inspiring personality.Recommend

  • Samir

    @Jaafer… Yes, I would like to clarify that Agha Sahab’s work is too much to sum up in one article. This was just to warm up the appetite. I hope people will actually dig up more on this amazing personality. Recommend

  • Ashus Zahid

    Excellent article…Recommend

  • Noman Hassan

    Thanks a lot to write up this great piece….
    Tribute to Agha Sb…Recommend

  • Hassan Yousafzai

    Samir great job !

    a well written article abt a fine man…he was a genius no doubt ! Recommend

  • Talha

    @ Bobby,

    Keep living in your delusional world where zionists are the root cause of everything, if those stories were indeed fake then all the people I know who told me them are fake too because they were a part of those stories.

    The bank was involved in some very serious crimes that just could not be overlooked and thus it was reeled in. The reality is that you will overlook the bad things for a few god deeds but the repercussion of this bank were very serious for Pakistan.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,973481,00.html
    http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=bankofcreditandcommerce_international
    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-8350127.htmlRecommend

  • http://infocrats.org faisal

    a man with a vision , truely he was.
    its always a good thing to read about him.BCCI at its peak was the 7th largest bank in the world.Recommend

  • http://www.saadzafar.wordpress.com Saad Zafar

    Nice One.
    But i just want to know why Bankers are feared to call his name?
    Why he is not in our national hero list?
    what is the reason behind why we were not informed about Abedi before?

    Can some one answer please????Recommend

  • Atta ur Rahman

    he was a true hero, nice tribute, Recommend

  • Hasan

    Over 80 per cent of the top executives
    of the bank were Pakistani.

    Bad idea. No wonder BCCI went down for corruption.Recommend

  • http://ghazanfarlatif.webnode.com Ghazanfar Latif

    Itz really a great artile, thanks Sameer for nice informations :)Recommend

  • Optimist

    @ Talha
    From one of the very links you posted:
    The Economist
    “Prosecutors have agreed to drop many criminal charges against the bank and one of its subsidiaries, and have said they will not pursue the bank for further penalties.

    BCCI’s name has surfaced repeatedly in drug cases–although without proof that the bank was ever knowingly involved in money-laundering.”

    Times
    “As TIME reported earlier this month, the National Security Council used B.C.C.I. to funnel money for the Iran-contra deals, and the CIA maintained accounts in B.C.C.I. for covert operations. Moreover, investigators have told TIME that the Defense Intelligence Agency has maintained a slush-fund account with B.C.C.I., apparently to pay for clandestine activities.”

    “The bank also maintained cozy relationships with international terrorists, say investigators who discovered suspected terrorist accounts for Libya, Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization in B.C.C.I.’s London offices.”

    So having accounts of suspected “terrorists” (who were never convicted or never charged) is a crime?

    Let’s assume that the Bank had its hands dirty, the US allowed it to operate while it was operating to help the US topple Nicaragua’s government, and the US allowed it to funnel drug money as long as the US needed that drug money to pay for Afghan war, all of a sudden after the decline of Russian Empire the US saw BCCI as a bad guy…?

    “The bank was in a unique position to operate an intelligence- gathering unit because it dealt with such figures as Noriega, Saddam, Marcos, Peruvian President Alan Garcia, Daniel Ortega, contra leader Adolfo Calero and arms dealers like Adnan Khashoggi.”

    Did you not know that Noriega, Saddam were on CIA payroll and the contras were the terrorists that the US was supporting against the government of Nicaragua??? Nicaragua took US to International Court of Justice and the ICJ ruled that the US was acting in violation of international law by “disturbing peace,” violating the sovereignty of another country and violating its agreements. ICJ ordered the US to pay reparations but the US vetoed the UN Security Council resolutions that demanded reparations and the to date the US has not paid the damages. Google up Nicaragua vs US.

    So now let me get this straight, you are telling us that you believe the US government’s story that its investigators “believe” that BCCI was evil because it was dealing with terrorists that the US was supporting even though no wrongdoing was ever proven against them?Recommend

  • Samir Butt

    @Saad… He was blacklisted internationally because of some projects the BCCI funded… a prominent being Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

    @Talha… Those links are exactly the reason I wrote this article. Plenty of filth on Agha is available online, so your links are meaningless.Its the good things he did that we conveniently overlook and forget. Recommend

  • Zain

    Samir,

    Excellent write up and a great tribute to a true visionary.

    I have a request, could you also write and Article on Dr.Mahbub-ul-Haq, he in my opinion is another unsung hero of Pakistan.Recommend

  • maleyabid

    good effort to highlight services of Agha sahib but surprisingly writer missedt to mention any thing sbout his contribution of immense value in the name of “INFQ” I.E THE INSTITUTION WHICH SAVED LIFE OF MANY PEOPLE AND RENDERED EXAMPLORY SERVICES TO SUPPORT NEEDY ONERecommend

  • Samir Butt

    @Zain…. thanks, I’ll definitely write one on Dr. Haq… Recommend

  • Farhan

    I have a great research on Mr. Abedi’s Life.. He was a great strong man, who pushed Pakistan Name in all over the World. If any one says ke Mr. Abedi was defaulter or Bankrept, then its wrong. coz he was the person who strongly believes on merit. if he met with some person in any market of UK or Pakistan and he impressed then He recruited people for BCCI on the spot. When Bank of Credit & Commerce International (BCCI) branches exceed the figure of 1500 in 72 countries, Over the years, it developed into a worldwide banking operation with branches in 72 countries and 16,000 employees on its payroll.

    then Americans file the case against the honorary man, (Americans thinking How pakistan Muslims Bank is the Number 1 Bank of World, they dont like this). Alleged crimes included money laundering in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas; support of arms trafficking, and the sale of nuclear technologies; management of prostitution; the commission and facilitation of income tax evasion, smuggling, illegal immigration, illicit purchases of banks and real estate [Citation needed].

    Agha Hasan Abedi and his assistant, Swaleh Naqvi, in the center. This convoluted structure was an essential component to its amazing growth – and guaranteed its eventual collapse. The structure was conceived of by Abedi for the specific purpose of evading regulation or control by governments.

    In creating BCCI as a vehicle essentially free of government control, Abedi’s BCCI became the ideal mechanism for facilitating illegal activity by others, including such activity by officials of many of the governments whose laws BCCI was breaking.

    Mr. A.k. Bajaj (founder of Bajaj Telecom, the number 1 telecom company of India) discussed all matters regarding Poilicies of his company. when Bajaj Telecom was loose their shares in market, then Mr. Abedi helped him. And Mr. Bajaj still saying, Bajaj Telecom is stands in market for the reason of Mr. Abedi.

    Now BCCI converted in two small companies but now it is Bank Alfalah. BAL was created in 1997.Recommend

  • Talha

    @ Optimist

    Read the History Commons link carefully, it does mention how this bank was enhanced by intelligence agencies for their operations. ISI had a big hand in this and this bank was basically their financial arm. Also it is a known fact that US used this bank to fund their covert operations but the bank was being investigated by honest people such as John Kerry though he had problems in doing so becuase of USG.

    It saved Pakistan from bankruptcy, Abedi initiated the Korangi town project, biggest in the world amongst other charitable deeds with Carter around the world.

    But the bank was dirty and that is a known fact, even I had written about it positively and blamed the west for shutting it down becuase all the major banks of the world are like this.

    @ Samir

    The filth is not about Abedi, it is about BCCI and its operations worldwide. Abedi himself was a genius because he single handedly built UBL and then BCCI.

    But you cannot overlook the extraordinary feats of accomplishment without the corruption and malice used by this bank.

    The bank was also known as the ‘The Black Network’.Recommend

  • Mohammed Arif

    Each one should appreciate Mr. Samir Butt on writing this article. There should be a National Award to Mr. Aga Hasan Abedi.Recommend

  • Anon

    @Talha:
    But sir, what is your point? Was BCCI involved in criminal activities against individual or society? Every country indulges in covert activities to further their interests, What was wrong with BCCI doing it???? Do you know how America acquired the services of the scientist who made the atomic bomb???Recommend

  • Talha

    @ Anon

    BCCI was involved in criminal activites against individuals and society, sometimes indirectly and other times directly. From smuggling to money laundering, there was nothing that it did not do. Many people lost their hard earned money when the bank drowned and with that their livelihoods.

    The problem with BCCI was that it was used by others too and not just Pakistan, others do things in a way that the final blame lies on another ‘actor’ and in this case Abedi and BCCI got all the flak while all the others including USG officials got away chit free.

    So the point is that the bank was just an intermediatory between corrupt individuals who knew that they would be fine as BCCI will be blamed for all the ills and that is what happened.Recommend

  • rocket

    @Farhan
    there is no company as Bajaj telecom in Bajaj group of companies. The group comprises of 34 companies and was founded in the year 1926.
    The companies in the group are:

    Bajaj Auto Ltd.
    Bajaj Holdings & Investment Ltd.
    Bajaj Finserv Ltd.
    Bajaj Allianz General Insurance
    Company Ltd.
    Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co. Ltd
    Bajaj Financial Solutions Ltd.
    Bajaj Auto Finance Ltd.
    Bajaj Allianz Financial Distributors Ltd.
    Bajaj Auto Holdings Ltd.
    P T Bajaj Auto Indonesia (PTBAI)
    Bajaj Auto International Holdings BV
    Bajaj Electricals Ltd.
    Hind Lamps Ltd.
    Bajaj Ventures Ltd.
    Mukand Ltd.
    Mukand Engineers Ltd.
    Mukand International Ltd.
    Bajaj Sevashram Pvt. Ltd.
    Jamnalal Sons Pvt. Ltd.
    Rahul Securities Pvt Ltd
    Shekhar Holdings Pvt Ltd
    Madhur Securities Pvt Ltd
    Niraj Holdings Pvt Ltd
    Shishir Holdings Pvt Ltd
    Kamalnayan Investments & Trading Pvt Ltd
    Sanraj Nayan Investments Pvt. Ltd.
    Hercules Hoists Ltd.
    Hind Musafir Agency Pvt. Ltd.
    Bajaj International Pvt. Ltd.
    Bachhraj Factories Pvt. Ltd.
    Baroda Industries Pvt. Ltd.
    Jeevan Ltd.
    Bachhraj & Co Pvt Ltd
    The Hindustan Housing Co. Ltd.
    Hospet Steels Ltd
    and Recommend

  • http://sified.wordpress.com SI

    @Talha:
    totally agree with you, I was personally involved with BCCI operations in europe, and knew many who were working in the Nairobi and Cairo offices, the stories are true, the man was a genius, a visionary et al, but there was a dominant evil side to him, its sad but true
    @ the author: i like the flow, but when you said some one some where decided that it was time to BCCI go, you let your emotions get the better of you, good job nonethelessRecommend

  • Talha

    @ SI

    Their deeds caught up with them by the late 80′s and early 90′s, that was the case for Pakistan itself when everything came falling down.

    All the known Pakistani business men made a dash for Pakistan to save themselves and their companies were disolved.

    Gokal brothers, BCCI’s biggest client had one of their ships torpedoed for some unknown reason.

    The thing with some people here is that they are living in a delusionary world, the reality was much different and Abedi was an evil genius. Rather than making him out to be a saint much wronged, he should be presented as he was.

    The real stories make Abedi and BCCI look like a Jamed Bond Villian with his multinational corporation.Recommend

  • Saman Jafri

    All I want to say is ,Thank you! :) its a good tribute to a true hero of our country! may Agha sahib rest in peace..he was a true visionary and above that a great Human,all those of have met him personally and known him in is lifetime are witness to his fine character and deep sense of humanity and kindness! :)Recommend

  • Optimist

    @Talha:
    “Read the History Commons link carefully… but the bank was being investigated by honest people such as John Kerry though he had problems in doing so becuase of USG.”
    And I urge you to read my post carefully, let’s assume that the bank was dirty, it was being used by the US Government and suddenly after the fall of Russia the US discovered that the bank was dirty because it was dealing with errorists that the US was supporting even though no wrongdoing was ever proven against them… If the bank was evil, it was as evil as the US Government that used the bank, why should the US government, corrupt officials and agencies be on the lose while the BCCI bank was closed? You don’t see any hypocrisy in that action and you don’t see any hypocrisy in your own argument?Recommend

  • Bobby

    well said…im glad someone can explain it better to folks out there who dont know jack about BCCI. just cause they lost their money it doesnt means that Abdi was the bad seed. US government used him really well and like always when they got what they wanted they backstabbed him. only if BCCI was active today it would have been the #1 bank in the world , do u people think a zionist bankers would wanted a muslim to own worlds #1 bank….like Optimist said read history common links carefully before saying stuff that u dont no about. Recommend

  • Samreen

    excellent article samir! =) ….appreciable!Recommend

  • Samir

    @SI …. It was never about my emotions. Corruption charges are limited to allegations, while FAST and GIKI are hard facts. Plus, as I said, I did not write this to plead Mr. Abedi’s innocence. You can find plenty of material on his wrong doings everywhere on the internet.

    But while the world highlights his wrong doings, some part of me feels that his philanthropic work deserves some recognition too. Recommend

  • Talha

    @ Optimist

    I don’t know what is wrong with you but my point is very clear, a powerful corrupt bank was used by powerful corrupt officials from various countries. That was BCCI, but the people who used it were more clever as they pulled out from the bank like USG did in mid to late 80′s, leaving it to face the wrath all by itself.

    Whats hypocritical in my argument, a public service entity was corrupt and thus it was closed down whereas government and their agencies continue to operate becuase that is the exact nature of their work and who would dare challenge USG.

    If Abedi was so clever then why couldn’t he had planned for this eventuality. I mean they probably had all the dirt on some powerful people, why did the bank come out as the main culprit and the rest walked away punishment free.

    Also, don’t you see the hypocrisy in your argument, defending a corrupt bank as if it were some charitable organisation.

    No wonder Pakistan continues to rise in global corruption rankings.Recommend

  • Bobby

    @Talha:

    Conspiracies!!!!! i guess i should let you live in the real world.
    Bcci was involved in serious crimes ? Which banks is not involved in series crimes , plz i would love you to name one, just because Abdi was dumb enough that he didnt see what was coming to him. if u really believe it was because he was corrupt that BCCI met the fate it did than im sorry u must be living in the world created by the zionist.
    Agha Abidi wasnt a saint but he was the man who put pakistan on the world map even before we became the nuclear power. i said this earlier what happen Dr. Qadeer. did he deserve what he got same goes for Abidi.

    Let me educate you about how banks works all over the world . There is not a single bank who does not depends on illegal money specially drugs n arms . so you pointing finger at BCCI doenst make any sense . George Bush Sr. was one of the main man to bring down Abidi when Abidi refused to do what he was asked …(you can call it a conspiracy is u want).

    did abidi did more damage to pakistan than Shareed, Bhuttos n Zardari. Why Abidi’s name barred from every media . Its us the people who rather utter the names of the bastards that i name above than people who did something from pakistan. Go do your research on the people who did lotta greats things . including the Muslims scientists …why doesnt anyone know about the muslims scientists who were behind great discoveries. Recommend

  • Nabeel Bukhari

    Great Article Bro! Keep it up:)Recommend

  • Optimist

    @Talha:
    “I don’t know what is wrong with you but my point is very clear, a powerful corrupt bank was used by powerful corrupt officials from various countries.”
    If you say that it was a corrupt bank used by corrupt governments and then closed down by one of those corrupt governments when they no longer needed Pakistan against Russia or they decided that it’s bad to have a powerful Muslim bank, that would be more accurate. You cannot give the US government a free pass and call BCCI corrupt, you cannot say that it was shut down because it was corrupt, shut down by whom? An entity that was as corrupt as the bank because that entity had been dealing with the bank all along until 1988?

    There is no point responding if you keep repeating the same lines.Recommend

  • Talha

    @ Bobby

    Lol, you and your zionists stay happy but let me correct some of your misconceptions.

    Pakistan was put on the world map by Sir Zafarullah Khan, our first foreign minister, The Statesman wrote in late 40′s that Pakistan was heard for the first time and raised a few eyebrowns when Khan spoke in the UN general assembly.

    Bush Snr. had a personal account in BCCI, he used it thoroughly for his operations worldwide but the bank was reeled in after they did not require its services anymore. I do agree that most banks are corrupt but they dont have their hands so deep that it is impossible for them to save themselves.

    And don’t put words in my mouth kid, I wouldn’t even speak about the likes of Shareef, Bhuttos and Zardari.

    The greatest Muslim Scientist of our current times was our very own Dr Abdus Salam, but people such as yourself would not even acknowledge him only becuase he belonged to a sect that was deemed non Muslim by our inept and corrupt government.

    Why not write about Dr Salam and his empirical achievements Surely he did alot more for our country from setting up the space to our nuclear program and winning ouronly Noble Prize.

    He even wanted to open a world class institute in Pakistan but the likes of Zia restricted him, he went and opened it in Italy where a high number of Pakistani’s study just like how he helped so many go for education abroad. Recommend

  • http://www.pakspectator.com Sana Saleem

    Great ! Our country needs people like him but we are so unlucky that we have fallen a prey to Mr.Zardari….. Despite that we have not lost hope. It is actually we … who have to get up and put aside our own interests and work for the welfare of this demolishing country ! Recommend

  • Optimist

    Why 1988? Why was it not seen as corrupt before that? It had to be the imminent fall of Russia or the powers that be thought that the bank was expanding to become too big for a Muslim bank, it taking over the markets when it was shot down!Recommend

  • Bobby

    Talha Uncle !!! Seems like u have a personal beef with Abidi so whatever i say wont matter .
    Dr. Salaam sure was a great scientist but do the new generation know about him. Whose responsibility was it to educate our generation?.
    Why no one knows Ibn Sina. El Zahrawi and i can name many. You dont think it was the responsibility of us muslims to keep their achievements alive instead there are people who claim muslims scholars achievements as their. Point here is no matter what we do we will never get credit unless we learn how to unite and when i say US i mean the muslims.

    i guess we should stick to Agha Abedi. We shall never succeed in life unless we appreciate what our pakistanis has done for us.

    I wasnt putting words in your mouth uncle !!! what i said was why pakistanis r not scared to take shareed butto n zardari names n r scared to take Abedi name ..

    PeaceRecommend

  • Optimist

    @Bobby:
    I doubt that half of the so-called well-educated Pakistanis would even vaguely recognize the name of Abu-al Qasim Al Zahrawi, the father of modern surgery, the inventor of dozens of over 200 surgical tools (none of which were known before, many of which are still used in child birth), the inventor of surgical needle, the inventor of lipstick.Recommend

  • ali

    i never read any article on this great legend. I dont know why, our media flash out this whole…

    after a long time, its good to see someone writing on him.

    he was a man of tomorrow….

    ssuet, fast.. everything.. everyone.. everywhere..Recommend

  • Asif

    Talha chill out dude! it not your fault, you dont want to gulp it. Even if it was ISIs financial arm it was awesome. CIA, US and Banking Systems from West arent saints either. quit whiningRecommend

  • Talha

    @ Bobby,

    I admire Abedi and not have anything personal against him.

    He was responsible for achieving great feats but he was an evil genius.

    It was his dim witted partners that messed up in the end as Abedi was in no position to overlook the operations of BCCI anymore.

    But BCCI was corrupt in a very dangerous way. Recommend

  • Talha

    This quote describes Abedi perfectly:

    “I remember looking into his eyes and seeing God and the Devil balanced equally in them.”

    This was said about him by someone, I can’t remember who.

    Many of the BCCI executives run Bank Al Fallah now.Recommend

  • ahmer

    @Talha:
    cmmon man unfortunatly now you are taking the discussion to qadianis!! inferiority complex!! Recommend

  • Ibrahim Shakeel

    Heh, the AHA auditorium back in GIKI always made me wonder…but I never bothered to read up on him until this article.
    Well done! SalutesRecommend

  • MOHAMMAD TAYYAB

    ya its very nice articles .BUT every where is curruption.
    infact everyone is currupt.Recommend

  • ND

    I am a product of BCCI and one of Agha Saheb’s fans, however, I would like to offer a clarification re Agha Saheb being the architect of the GHULAM ISHAQ KHAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. GIK was then Chairman of the BCC Foundation when AHA suggested a polytechnic in his name in the then NWFP, GIK countered the proposal by saying he would prefer to lend his name to a major institute of excellence which would benefit the whole country rather then a few in the province. AHA agreed to the use of available funds towards the project. GIK used his good offices to get a grant on the land for the institute from the provincial government and for the bulk of the financing from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Jeddah, and other national and international donors who still assist in its running. To give credit where it’s due, credit for setting up the institute goes to GIK.Recommend

  • Talha

    @ ahmer

    Inferiority complex, really, is that all you can conjure up.

    Where is the argument in that or for it.

    Btw all the flash and fraud of this bank was all about inferiority complex, lost it all in a flash trying to keep up with the rest.Recommend

  • Humair Khan

    Thanks Samir for sharing your positive Thoughts:

    Just to add more contribution of Agha Hasan Abedi:

    Mr Abedi founded charitable organizations in UK, India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. A large proportion of the profit made by BCCI was donated to these foundations, every year as Mr. Abedi believed that the main objective of a person should be to help others. In Pakistan, the BCCI Foundation (renamed Infaq Foundation after the closure of BCCI), provides funding to charitable projects like hospitals, schools for special children, other educational institutions and social welfare organizations. It also provide scholarships, mainly for university education, to poor but brilliant students. It helps widow and other indigent persons in large number. As many performing artists earn very little in the Third world, INFAQ Foundation provides financial help and assistance to writers, scholars, artists and poets.It encourages them to teach their art to others so that these arts survive.

    The Infaq Foundation has only one office in Karachi, Pakistan. It has Capital and Reserves of over Rs.2.50 billion, which in 2009 are equivalent to just over US$30 million. Major beneficiaries among the known institutions are, Sind Institute of Urology and Transplantation, National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases – Karachi, GIK Institute of Engineering Sciences & Technology, Topi, North-West Frontier Province, Lady Duffirin Hospital and Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan was the first Chairman of the Foundation from 1983 through 1995. Another eminent personality, a supreme court judge and a former Governor of Sindh – Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim took over and is now the Chairman.
    The Foundation has always been managed by highly competent Chief Executives. From 1981 to 1999 retired federal secretaries were Secretaries General of the Foundation. From 1999 to 2008 the position was held by Mr. Sohail Kizilbash, a Chartered Accountant qualified in UK and a person with long banking experience. From 2009 another Chartered Accountant and former banker Mr. Anwar Gillani is the Honorary Secretary General.
    Agha Hassan Abedi Auditorium Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology on the event of 8th Science fair 2007
    Agha giving a speech to BCCI – Pace University Trainees
    Mr. Abedi also founded BCCI FAST in 1980 with a donation of Rs. 100 million, to promote education in computer science. It is now the first multicampus university of Pakistan, known as National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences. It has four campuses situated in Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi and Lahore.
    Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology was also the brainchild of Mr. Abedi. He felt that Pakistan should have another university for higher education, at Ph.D. level, for engineering and sciences and it should be comparable to universities in any developed country.Recommend

  • http://www.phandar.com karim

    I saw the Agha Hasan Abedi Auditorium on the first day of my GIKI life and i did wounder who this man was and I never did a research on him. What so ever the BCCI was doing, this article helped us know that AHA was a Pakistani!!!
    Good work both Butt and etribuneRecommend

  • HUSSAIN WAZIRI

    Indeed Mr Butt is deserve to all praise that he has unveiled the profile of a legendary “Agha Hassan Abedi” precisely. I am really inspired of his past constructive services for his homeland Pakistan. In our country, ironically, we have no time and curiosity to think about our heroic tycoon and what else they have contributed to our generation. Though we are being deliberately pushed into different chaos and turmoils where a common man can not dare to admire these highly respected figures and follow whatever they delivered us. We always sit infront of TV and watch and listen all those resultless discussions of our politicians where they only keep conveying their artificial statements in favor of their political interests.They don’t even cite a simple word about these patriotic and dedicated herose.Now it is our turn to highlight the visions which they have exercised in terns of holistic services in our economics as well as in education sector. Recommend

  • M Waqas Akhtar

    wow…. a great man indeed…. happy to know that. THANX samir for such info.Recommend

  • Samantha Rodrigues

    Well written Samir. Keep it up! In today’s world you will rarely find such personalities. The youth of today are striving to find such personalities.Recommend

  • Waacki

    The only thing wrong with the people who are taking side of west “No to be called Zionist” is because these people are brain tumored by west same like some people are brain washed here by mullahs, these are to ugly extreme side of EVIL. Any ways both are sick. And those who argue to prove them right are IDIOTS.Recommend

  • Klues

    Int’l Bankers don’t tolerate any Muslims banks. Abedia case proves the point.

    Allegation of money laundering was a smear campaign to kick his bank out the industry. They still use allegations of money laundering for most of institutions these days it is not something new.Recommend

  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,Karachi

    He was a young aspiring Madoff but didnt get the attention or the capital to be one! People like him are all about get rick quick types and then fade away.Recommend

  • Muhammad Umer Asif

    He is the one, who introduced Pakistanis to International Banking…i am a banker also and hold great respect for him…..Recommend

  • http://Karachi Farhan Zaheer

    Tell me one thing: Do you people think other banks around the world are all leading by saints?

    Present capitalist system is actually invite corruption and so people go with the wind. Greed is right there with all the bank operations around us.

    I think we must talk about Abedi Sahab and learn how this pious world found out that (Abedi Sahab) corrupt man. Thank you for initiating this debate. Recommend

  • http://yahoo farah

    AHA may have accomplished some great achievements in his time. The lesson to be learnt from his actions are that he clearly did more wrong than right – Allah punishes people in many ways and the reason for AHA’s downfall was that he was a sinner. He ruined the lives of many a people and funded charitable organisations to cover his guilt. I was offered a job (like thousands others created by BCCI) by someone who barely knew me nor my background. I chose to work for GS, obviously. Employees working at BCCI were not required any form of education nor work experience. The firm was a collaboration of Pakistanis – that was the criteria. Clearly from reading the reviews above, many of you appreciated him because you need people like him to give you a break and help you achieve things in life. His legacy should be an example to all of you apart from Talha that unless you gain success based on your own merits, you will become a failure.

    Aside from the weapons and drugs claims, at the very basic level he commited fraud and huge amounts of it. He is not someone we should be proud of, but instead teach our children that he was an example of someone who corrupted the financial industry! Issuing unsecured loans worth 800mio to Gokal family knowing that they would never be repaid who in turn practically got away with murder (a member of the Gokal family wedded at the Langham hotel yesterday) and reaped in the financials which were loooted from thousands of innocent people globally.

    When will you all learn that a true Pakistani should make us proud, not beg steal and murder – thats not the act we muslims should be proud of – and clearly Allah punished him in his lifetime.Recommend

  • Ahmad Mujtaba Ahsan

    Though I read this article too late but I would like to suggest that someone should and must highlight all the facts of Agha’s career, What he did on international level? What he did for pakistan? What is he accused of and why?. Any one who does this, I ask him to do this neutrally and not present his own opinion in that all work. I would like for that work to be purely fact based.Recommend