A legend of Pakistan Swaleh Naqvi passes away

Mariam Naqvi

Saiyed Muhammad Swaleh Naqvi, s/o Saiyed Afzal Hussain Naqvi, Ex-President of former BCCI, Founder Member / Co-Chairman of INFAQ Foundation and father of Nadeem Naqvi former Managing Director PSX, passed away on 7th September 2019 in Karachi. His Fateha Soyam was held on Sunday September 15th at Imambargah Yasrab, Phase 4, DHA, Karachi which was attended by the elites of Karachi belonging to every field of life like from Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), Banking and Finance, corporate sector, government officials including mediamen and members of Karachi Editors Club (KEC) etc.
Swaleh Naqvi besides his professional achievements, was a most loving and caring father of his children and grandchildren, a simple man with simple needs and infinite grace for everyone who came in touch with him.
He was born in Agra in 1933 and migrated to Pakistan in 1947 with his family of parents and seven siblings, staying in a 2-bedroom quarters in PIB Colony in Karachi. He graduated from Govt. College with BA in English and Economics and MA in Persian.
His first job was in Habib Bank Limited and then in Muslim Commercial Bank where he was posted to East Pakistan. In 1959 he joined United Bank Limited and eventually became head of East Pakistan Division. He left UBL in 1972 as Senior Executive Vice President (SEVP) to help Mr. Agha Hassan Abedi in forming Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). BCCI was the first multinational corporation from a developing country with 400 offices in 72 counties, employing over 14,000 people from many nationalities. It was only the second foreign bank to be allowed to open office in China, where it set up the first banking training centre for Chinese bankers in Shenzhen. Mr. Naqvi, along with his senior colleagues, managed the global operations of the bank.
In 1988, Mr. Abedi suffered a severe heart attack and underwent heart-transplant surgery which left him unable to speak and function. At the recommendation of the major shareholder of the bank, H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan al-Nahyan, Mr. Naqvi was given charge of becoming the CEO of BCCI. Despite his inner reluctance, but out of his loyalty and sense of duty to Mr. Abedi and H.H. Sheikh Zayed, he accepted this responsibility and assisted with shifting the operational headquarters of the bank to Abu Dhabi.
After BCCI was shut down unfairly by certain Western governments in 1991, he was forcibly taken to the US without any due process of law or the chance to independently legally defend himself. The only and single allegation against him was that BCCI had acquired an American bank through its shareholderswhich was against banking regulations.
As Mr. Abedi was unable to communicate, Mr. Naqvi took entire responsibility on himself and said that no one else should be questioned. For this, he was kept in the US forcibly for seven years and his family suffered enormously – both emotionally and economically – as he had not made any assets or savings for himself in his entire career.
When he returned to Pakistan in 2005, he initiated a project in the INFAQ Foundation (previously BCC Foundation) of setting up the Korangi Academy (KA), a school for children from low income families in an area where no education facilities were available. This has become a model education establishment with KA students now going even to the Institute of Business Administration (IBA).
INFAQ Foundation has played an important role in the social sector of Pakistan for over 30 years, with focus on education and health sectors, including the formation of GIK Institute of technology in KP and BCC-Fast computer science university in Karachi which has produced some of the most successful IT skilled workforce in Pakistan. INFAQ Foundation was one the earliest significant supporters and donors to the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital in Lahore and Sindh Institute of Urinary Technology (SIUT) in Karachi founded by Dr. Adeeb Rizvi. The INFAQ Foundation has supported tens of thousands of individuals and families with their education and health needs.
In his personal life, Mr. Swaleh Naqvi was a simple and humble man. He accumulated no assets for himself or his family. The only asset he had was a five hundred sq. yd. house in Karachi where he lived. He was a caring and loving husband and father and devoted much time in writing and counselling his children and grandchildren besides his work with the INFAQ foundation.
His philosophy of life was based on absolute faith in God and trust in the examples of the pious, where duty to others was above any self-interest. His personal integrity, desire to serve humanity with grace and humility; and generosity in dealing with everyone he engaged with, earned him respect from a large number of people. His passing is a loss not just to his immediate family and large number of well-wishers but also to Pakistan as he was an exemplary citizen having positively and quietly contributed to some of the most important social sectors in the country.

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