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“I keep telling Imran that we have to make tough decisions”. Asad Umar Speaks

Some 27 years ago, his first pay cheque at Engro was Rs 8170. When he made a suave but much debated exit while he was CEO of the company, his pay cheques of 2011 are reported to be Rs 5.7 million a month. He was the Midas behind Engro, who took the company from mainly fertilizer manufacturing into being a giant venturing into food, energy, chemical storage and petrochemicals among others. The conglomerate diversification helped and within a span of 7 years, Engro’s revenues in 2011 had climbed up to 114 billion as compared to the 13 billion in 2004. Another feather in the cap of not just the Institute of Business Administration Karachi, this home-grown wonder-man is also a feather in the cap of Pakistan.

As a speaker, Asad Umar’s mettle is undisputed. He engages with the audience, has them spell bound, makes them say what he wants them to say, convinces and makes the whole experience of listening to him rewarding. And he does all this in a very humble yet in command way. He makes the GDP sound like the most interesting topic. And he does not use a display of melodrama and histrionics to achieve this.

Asad Umar believes in Pakistan. And change. And for such a man, his strong sense of social responsibility being translated into political leanings was just a matter of time. But his joining PTI (Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf) soon after he took an early retirement was both expected and unexpected. While it was expected that he would not join the other tried and tested political parties, it was unexpected that he would make a leap of faith and take a risk with Khan’s PTI, often called an idealistic spin by the intelligentsia who believe Khan cannot deliver all that he promises. But Asad Umar believes there is no other way.

His “conglomerate diversification sensibilities” have made him use his own potential to the maximum. Asad Umar has entered the political realm. And his joining PTI is not just a good omen for the party but also a reason people start respecting the party more before they write it off saying the party is inducting the same tried and tested faces.

Asad Umar has joined and is actively participating in PTI’s “Insaaf Professional’s Forum” (IPF) sessions.

Enough said.

Let us look at some of the things he said at a recent session of IPF members held at Karachi on 28th April, 2012:

  • I have not joined Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf for Imran Khan. I have my own selfish reasons. 
  • I have no foreign passports. I have no bank accounts outside Pakistan. Everything I have or own is at stake in this country.
  • I am convinced that the status quo in this country cannot last for long now.
  • When we look at the situation of this country, there is fear. But there is also reward.
  • I want my two sons studying abroad to eventually WANT to come back to this country.
  • People tell me why don’t I become just an adviser to Imran Khan. My answer is: Pick up any fundamental issue of Pakistan and the answer lies in the core political system. There is no dearth of technical advice. But that is not enough. What we need is fundamental reform. Just good governance will not be enough.
  • We need a political party who is committed to political reform and is not sitting on top of vested interests.
  • I do not believe in personality worship. Mein azmat e insaan ka qaail to hoon Mohsin, Lekin kabhi insaan ki ibaadat naheen karta
  • The first part is the correct vision. And the second part is that the vision should be grounded in correct good values. Imran Khan has both.
  • To bring change, you have to be in power. But how you will come into power will decide whether you can bring that change or not.
  • Building a just, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan!
  • I keep telling Imran that we have to make tough decisions. So he recently answered back: “What could be tougher than deciding to hold a jalsa in Quetta?”. And I said no, even tougher decisions will have to be made.
  • What PTI is trying to do is the most dramatic revolutionary scheme ever brought to Pakistan.
  • PTI, admittedly, has a lack of diversity. Which is why the communication coming out of it also has a lack of diversity. This is not out of malice but due to human limitation.
  • The common man has a lot of sympathy for Imran Khan. All that needs to be done now is to translate that sympathy into political change.
  • This political party will HAVE TO go through the process of inducting new people.
  • There is nothing less Pakistani about a man from Daadu (Sindh) than a woman from Karachi or a boy from Lahore.
  • (On the subject of devolution of power and land reforms): Most of what people say, with sincerity of course, is what they say sitting in Karachi or any other city. The things we say is a very urban phenomenon. On ground level, visit the rural constituencies with me and understand their sensibilities. Then we’ll talk.
  • The leader does not have a choice in whether he can displease some or not. His choice is to choose who to displease and who not to displease.
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