Friday, August 28, 2020

Is CPEC Authority Chairman Asim Bajwa Guilty as Alleged?

Pakistani reporter Ahmad Noorani has recently alleged that "(T)he growth of the Bajwa family’s business empire in the United States and later in Pakistan directly matches the rise in power of retired general Asim Saleem Bajwa, who is now chairman of the country’s massive China-financed infrastructure project and a special assistant to the prime minister". “Out of total 99 companies, 66 are main companies, 33 companies are branch companies of some of the main companies, while five companies are dead now,” Ahmad Noorani alleges, adding that the businesses of the Bajwa family have been put under the umbrella called Bajco Group. Noorani ignores many well-known Pakistani immigrant success stories in US restaurant franchise business and jumps to the conclusion that Nadeem Bajwa's success must be built on his brother's alleged corruption in Pakistan. Noorani does not offer any evidence to back up his allegations.

Papa John's Franchisee Nadeem Bajwa

Who is Nadeem Bajwa?

Nadeem Bajwa is General Saleem Bajwa's younger brother. While it is true that Nadeem Bajwa owns a large Papa Johns' franchise business in the United States, there is nothing to support the allegation that this business has been built with funds stolen and remitted from Pakistan. Nadeem Bajwa's story is, in fact, typical of many successful Pakistani immigrants who have worked hard to achieve entrepreneurial success in America.  The best example of a Pakistani immigrant's franchise success story is that of Shoukat Dhanani whose Dhanani Group's annual revenue is over $2 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Nadeem Bajwa's Success Story:

Nadeem Bajwa came to the United States as a student in 1991. He took a job as a pizza delivery driver for Domino's while going to college in Indiana. “The delivery driver job was one of the easiest when going to school,” Bajwa told Nation's Restaurant News in 2014. “There wasn’t a lot of stress or pressures and other students were doing it. I heard they made good pay, and every day you just deliver pizzas and make decent tips.”

In 1994, Bajwa took a job with Papa John’s as a driver, was quickly promoted to general manager and then operating partner within 10 months — all while continuing his education. “I was busy, and then when I got promoted I was still finishing up school,” he said. “But when you have goals in mind, you just keep going. Sometimes anxiety isn’t such a bad thing.”  Bajwa signed his first franchise in 2002 and then grew his business from there.

The very next year he signed a deal to develop 10 locations in Pittsburgh. He bought three locations in 2004, and then opened 10 units in 2006 and 2007. In 2008 he bought a 27-unit Papa John’s operator in Michigan and Indiana — the very same operator for whom he used to work.This is how most franchisees build their business. This is not at all unusual. Many franchisees start out as employees, get promoted and then become franchise owners. It's partly because franchisors prefer their franchisees to have prior business experience running a franchise.

Franchise Financing:

The franchisees such as Nadeem Bajwa's main asset is the prior franchise operations experience they bring. Franchisee and his/her partners/investors must also come up with 10-20% of the total funds needed to start operations. The rest of the money comes from commercial banks or other lenders such as the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Borrower must be creditworthy, typically must contribute some equity, and are expected to repay the loan out of the franchise's cash flow. The franchise loans from US Small Business Administration (SBA) offer the lowest rates. Some franchisers may also offer internal financing, according to Wall Street Journal.

Panama Leaks Dominated By Politicians:

Pakistani politicians and their supporters use allegations of corruption in Pakistani military to distract attention from their own well-documented corruption. Just a quick look at the names in leaked Panama Papers shows that politicians, not generals, dominate these lists. Pakistani names included in Panama Papers are those of several politicians and business people, but no generals, according to media reports.

 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is linked to 9 companies connected to his family name. Those involved are:  Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz, Relatives of Punjab Chief Minister and brother of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif are linked to 7 companies. They are: Samina Durrani and Ilyas Meraj.

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was linked to one company. Her relatives and associates are linked to others: Nephew Hassan Ali Jaffery Javed Pasha, Close friend of Asif Ali Zardari (4 companies), PPP Senator Rehman Malik (1 company), PPP Senator Osman Saifullah’s family (34 companies), Anwar Saifullah, Salim Saifullah, Humayun Saifullah, Iqbal Saifullah, Javed Saifullah, Jehangir Saifullah. The Chaudharies of Gujrat have not been linked personally but other relatives have including: Waseem Gulzar Zain Sukhera (co-accused with former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s son in the Hajj scandal).

Pakistani Businessmen in Panama Leaks: Real Estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain’s son (Bahria Town) Ahmad Ali Riaz (1 company), Chairman ABM Group of Companies Azam Sultan (5 companies), Pizza Hut owner Aqeel Hussain and family (1 company), Brother Tanwir Hassan Chairman Soorty Enterprise Abdul Rashid Soorty and family, Sultan Ali Allana, Chairman of Habib Bank Limited (1 company), Khawaja Iqbal Hassan, former NIB bank President (1 company), Bashir Ahmed and Javed Shakoor of Buxly Paints (1 company), Mehmood Ahmed of Berger Paints (1 company), Hotel tycoon Sadruddin Hashwani and family (3 companies), Murtaza Haswani Owner of Hilton Pharma, Shehbaz Yasin Malik and family (1 company), The Hussain Dawood family (2 companies), Shahzada Dawood Abdul Samad Dawood Partner Saad Raja, The Abdullah family of Sapphire Textiles (5 companies), Yousuf Abdullah and his wife, Muhammad Abdullah and his wife, Shahid Abdullah and his family, Nadeem Abdullah and family, Amer Abdullah and family, Gul Muhammad Tabba of Lucky Textiles, Shahid Nazir, CEO of Masood Textile Mills (1 company), Partner Naziya Nazir Zulfiqar Ali Lakhani, from Lakson Group and owner of Colgate-Palmolive, Tetley Clover and Clover Pakistan (1 company) and Zulfiqar Paracha and family of Universal Corporation (1 company).

Pakistani Judges in Panama Leaks: Serving Lahore High Court Judge Justice Farrukh Irfan, Retired Judge Malik Qayyum, Pakistani Media personnel in Panama Leaks: Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman of GEO-Jang Media Group (1 company).
Politicians Dominate Off-shore Company Owners in Panama Leaks 


NED Alum as Restaurant Franchisee:

At a panel I attended at NED Alumni Convention in Houston, I met Tabassum Mumtaz, an NED alum, whose story is similar to Nadeem Bajwa's. He decided to try his luck as an entrepreneur outside of engineering.  Tabassum started working as a cook for Long John Silver and, through his hard work, ended up owning the entire chain of the seafood restaurants. In addition, Tabassum is a grand franchisee of A&W, KFC and Taco Bell restaurants in some regions of the country run under Ampex Brands.  The annual revenue from the restaurants exceeds a billion dollars.

Dhanani Group:

Shoukat Dhanani came from Pakistan to attend college in the United States. His story is similar to that of Nadeem Bajwa, a classic tale of entrepreneurship, and how a hard-working family can build a giant, and highly successful, business without venture capital or private equity money, according to Forbes magazine. The group today includes 130 convenience stores in the Houston area, 502 Burger Kings and 170 Popeyes. It remains 100% family owned and operated. “We always believed in staying low-key and under the radar,” Dhanani told Forbes. “That’s what our dad taught us.”

Summary:

There is no evidence to support the allegation by reporter Ahmad Noorani that Papa John's franchisee Nadeem Bajwa's success is built on funds illegally taken and remitted by his brother General Asim Bjawa in Pakistan. Nadeem Bajwa's franchise success story is not in any way unique. There are many Pakistani immigrants who came to the United States to study, worked at a franchise restaurant part-time and  then became successful multiple franchise owners. The most prominent among these Pakistani immigrant entreprenrurs is Shoukat Dhanani of Dhanani Group that does over $2 billion a year business.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Did Musharraf Steal Public Money? 

Pakistani Leaders in London After Panama Leaks

Edible Arrangements: A Pakistani-American Franchisor's Success Story

Culture of Corruption in Pakistan

Zardari Corruption Probe

President Pervez Musharraf's Legacy

We Hang Petty Thieves and Appoint Great Ones to High Offices

Capitalism's Achilles Heel by Raymond Baker

Nawaz Sharif's Report Card

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

29 comments:

Jawad M. said...

احمد نوارنی نے پاکستان اور سی پیک مخالف بھارتی میجر گورو آریہ کے عاصم سلیم باجوہ کے خلاف پراپیگنڈہ وی لاگ کا مواد اٹھا کے اپنی تحقیقاتی سٹوری بنا کر پیش کر دی۔۔۔ گورو آریہ نے بھی ایک مہینہ پہلے عاصم باجوہ ہر یہی الزامات عائد کیے تھے، دیکھیے

Riaz Haq said...

From Global Village Space:


https://www.globalvillagespace.com/how-a-retired-indian-army-officer-trapped-a-pakistani-journalist-into-a-web-of-lies/

A news report on the alleged business dealings of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Chairman Lt-Gen (retired) Asim Saleem Bajwa has been decidedly rebuffed after it emerged that the journalist responsible for writing the report had actually been relying on the testimony of a notorious social media influencer with deep ties to the Indian Army.

According to several videos shared on social networking platform Twitter by users around the world, Ahmed Noorani, the journalist who wrote the now debunked expose without revealing his sources, had relied on a video made by a retired major of the Indian Army, named Gaurav Arya. Arya is notorious for misinformation campaigns on Twitter.

-------------------

The report, published on a propaganda website named FactFocus, intended to develop a correlation between Bajwa’s rise in his professional career and the rise of his family’s business. However, investigative reporters across the country have stressed that the allegations are baseless since Noraani did not publish documents to back his claims.

After the report was published, an outcry ensued on social media, with trolls and bot accounts backed by the Indian establishment working overtime to expand the reach of the story and trying to make up for the gaps in the arguments of Noorani by simply trying to get the story out to as many people as possible.

However, Pakistani users were having none of it. Soon after the story had been published, several leading journalists had offered their frank analysis on the report, urging Pakistanis to be mindful of the fact that Noorani had actually copied ‘word for word’ what Arya had said in his video. The video had been uploaded more than a month back.



Riaz Haq said...

L.A. Parker: From Pakistan to U.S. chicken king is hard work

https://www.trentonian.com/opinion/l-a-parker-from-pakistan-to-u-s-chicken-king-is-hard-work/article_9e3228ab-9b09-51f0-add5-4b1393206051.html

Story of Ali S. Butt, owner of Louisiana Popeye Chicken franchises

The popular Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World may have a real challenger in a Pakistan-born Popeyes chicken franchisee and owner up to his elbows in U.S. success.

Difficulty occurred listening to businessman Ali S. Butt recount his 44-year life as perfectly pitched story lines altered places to begin his beginning.

Numerous starting points materialized as Ali narrated his exodus from Pakistan with dreams about U.S. success to finding a mother lode of good fortune.


“I had friends who always talked about the United States, it’s greatness, and the opportunity. This country inspires a person to succeed. People willing to work hard can always make a life here,” Ali explained.

On a recent rainy Tuesday, Ali sat inside his newly opened Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurant on South Broad St.

His latest venture represented a kind of back to the future for the building as Ali’s new enterprise replaced a Kentucky Fried Chicken business.

Even with wind and rain, by products of a nor’easter that affected travel, a steady parade of customers entered as Ali discussed early low paying jobs that fueled destiny.

For his U.S. dream, whatever work worked. Even now with 20 restaurant franchises throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York, Ali hustles.

Keeping even this evening appointment meant a rush away from Morrisville, Pa., home to the next Ali restaurant opening.

“During those early jobs, the focus was on making money to send back home. I needed to help support my parents and brothers,” Ali explained.

Ali and his wife, Arian Rahmani, in 1999, opened their first Popeyes in Hamilton Township.

Arian handled cashier and other front of house duties while Ali controlled kitchen activity. They worked long hours, attracted by a belief that success needed both time and maximum effort.

Ali credited his father, Abdul Hamid, for grinding work habits.

However, this father/son relationship shared common ideas regarding philanthropy.

“My father helped people in Pakistan. He owned a construction business but also made a habit out of giving,” Ali noted.

“My father always instructed me to keep doing good deeds. I learned that putting a smile on somebody’s face also puts one on mine.”

Ali needed an intervention by friend, Sherwood Brown, for revelation about his generosity to community and employees.

“Ali’s the guy who helps that person you see or don’t see on a corner. He gives a lot of people their first job or second chance,” Brown noted.

Employees range in age from 17 to 50, including Ewing High senior Tavon Ross who enjoys his first job.

When Ali and his wife opened their North Olden Ave. store in 2009, his father visited from Pakistan.

“Just proud. So proud. Every father and mother wants the best for their children. My father got to see me in action because so much goes on for a grand opening,” Ali said.

Ali plays a father-like role with his workers, always asking for their best performances.

“If I can come from 7,000 miles with no mother and no father and succeed then you can make a better life,” serves as Ali’s tasty inspiration.

“I want my employees to be better, to be great in the greatest country in the world. But success means you have to work.”

Riaz Haq said...

Top 100 Private Company CEO: Aslam Khan finds restaurant success by building relationships

https://fortworthbusiness.com/event-news/top-100-private-company-ceo-aslam-khan-finds-restaurant-success-by-building-relationships/

Aslam Khan has never been averse to hard work and he has embraced every job, no matter how menial, as an opportunity.

It is that attitude that fueled a rags-to-riches tale that he couldn’t even imagine during his impoverished childhood in rural Pakistan.

Now a multimillionaire who built an empire in restaurant franchising, he continues to look back over his shoulder to those treks of more than four miles over treacherous terrain to attend elementary school in the hope of a better life.

“In middle school, it was five to six miles, going barefoot in the cold, hot,” he said. “I didn’t give up.”

As the only one in his family of 10 children to attend school, Khan made his way into the world beyond his native village and had an opportunity to settle for a comfortable life years ago. But Khan was – and is – not one to settle. He had big dreams, which motivated him to go further and accomplish more.

Khan’s determination to succeed paid off. He earned a reputation as the King of Church’s Fried Chicken because he is the largest franchise holder in the fast-food chain. His business acumen, work ethic and people-first philosophy helped propel him into entrepreneurial success with Falcon Holdings LLC, a multi-brand franchise company he started in Westlake in 1999 in partnership with Sentinel Capital Partners.

Under his leadership, Falcon has grown fivefold and now owns 350 restaurants and has 200 more under management. Aside from his Church’s Chicken franchises, Falcon operates restaurants in the Hardees, Carl’s Jr., Long John Silver and Piccadilly Cafeteria chains.



Khan’s experience and track record in the often-challenging franchise and restaurant industry recently landed him another opportunity: CEO of Dallas-based casual restaurant chain TGI Fridays, of which Sentinel is majority shareholder.

Khan, 63, said he was approached by TGI Fridays, which operates more than 900 restaurants in 61 countries. He will retain his position with Falcon while working with Fridays.

“I am thrilled that they picked me,” he said. “I will do an excellent job for them.”

Organization leaders have full confidence in his ability.



“Aslam has a deep understanding of and proven record managing relationships, which he brings to our franchise owners, who own and operate more than 90 percent of our 470 U.S. locations,” said John Antioco, former CEO and a member of Fridays’ board of directors, in a statement.

Having worked alongside Khan for 20 years, John McCormack, co-founder and senior partner of Sentinel, said he is “an extraordinary transformational restaurant executive.”

Khan said his role is to deliver for TGI’s Fridays what he has mastered through his own operation: strengthening operations, adding innovative marketing, motivating employees and providing outstanding customer service.

His experience as an immigrant driven to succeed has made him compassionate about helping others like himself. He rewards his top achievers by guiding them to become managing partners of their own franchises.

Riaz Haq said...

The franchise king who wants to turn folks into millionaires

https://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/24/franchising-investor-aziz-hashim-and-nrd-partners.html

Many entrepreneurs consider Aziz Hashim the evangelist for the $1.5 trillion U.S. franchising industry. A successful multi-unit franchise owner who’s worked in the industry from the age of 14, Hashim is now chairman of the International Franchise Association. He spends most of his time helping ordinary folks launch and grow franchises in the United States and Canada through his management company and his $50 million private equity fund, NRD Partners. His goal: to pay it forward.


“Franchising is a great way to attain the American dream,” Hashim said.

He learned this firsthand. A Pakistani immigrant, Hashim worked his way through the University of California-Irvine and earned an electrical engineering degree while working part-time at his uncle’s Burger King in Los Angeles. But after landing a job at Rockwell International, he quickly realized he didn’t like the corporate world and being an entrepreneur was what he really wanted to do.

So in 1996 his parents mortgaged their house and gave him their life savings so he could buy a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. As he recalls, “I made a cold call to KFC, and at first they said no, but then they changed their minds. When they called me back and offered me a one-store license for downtown Atlanta, I had no idea how I’d do it, but I jumped on it.”

“I love the pace of the quick-service food business but realized if I opened ‘Aziz Fried Chicken’ that would have been a very risky proposition. Having the backing of a big-name brand makes a big difference for a start-up.”

From that humble beginning, Hashim built an 80-unit franchise empire composed of 14 brands — including KFC, Domino’s Pizza, Taco Bell, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Pizza Hut and Popeye’s, as well as PetValu in Canada. Two years ago he decided to pivot, reduce his holdings and launch NRD Partners to invest in franchise companies.

Forty other multi-unit franchise owners are limited partners in the fund that invests in emerging franchise brands and public companies. As Hashim explained, “The investors don’t just provide capital. Many want to be developers and buy franchise stores, build and expand their operations.”

To date, the fund has purchased Frisch’s Restaurants for $175 million, a family restaurant chain famous for its signature Big Boy burgers. It has also invested an undisclosed sum for a 70 percent stake in Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, a fast-casual Mexican chain based in Fort Worth, Texas.

As he pointed out, there are more than 300 different lines of business in franchising — from auto-service shops to hotels to restaurants — so it gives an entrepreneur a wide variety of fields to choose from.

The most important advice he gives entrepreneurs: “First, know where your passion lies, make sure you have a dream team of advisors you trust, and have a detailed plan to manage risks.”

To help others achieve their dreams, Hashim started a program at his own company, called Own It!, which lets hourly workers ascend the ladder of success and buy a franchise. “Once they become a manager and express interest in ownership, I will sell one of my units to them and often help finance it, he said. “It’s a way I can give back.” Ten employees have already gone through the program.

And he’s also endowed a chair in franchise entrepreneurship at Georgia State University.

Riaz Haq said...

While IHOP will be new to Pakistan, it will be joining QSRs such as Johnny Rockets, Fat Burger, Burger King, Hardee's, Domino's Pizza (which just launched drone delivery in the region last year), Subway, Pizza Hut and McDonald's, all of which have rapidly expanded.

https://www.restaurantdive.com/news/ihop-to-open-19-locations-in-pakistan/550780/

Dive Brief:
As part of its Asia-Pacific market expansion, Dine Brands partnered with Pakistan-based Gerry's Group to open 19 IHOPs over nine years in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, according to a press release. Gerry’s Group principals will franchise the first nine — the other 10 to be sub-franchised.
The first IHOP will open in Karachi in late 2019.
The brand has previously expanded into Puerto Rico, India, Thailand, Guam and 11 other countries. It has plans to expand in Latin America, with sites in Peru and Ecuador to open this year, and in Canada with an expansion into New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. It is exploring opportunities in the U.K. as well.

Dive Insight:
Pakistan’s fast-food grounds are fertile for the IHOP brand, as the country has been experiencing a QSR boom in recent years — the second-largest industry in the country and the eighth largest fast food and food-reated business market in the world. With 180 million consumers, the industry makes up 16% of all employment in manufacturing. It is also becoming the world's fastest growing retail market, according to Bloomberg.

While IHOP will be new to Pakistan, it will be joining QSRs such as Johnny Rockets, Fat Burger, Burger King, Hardee's, Domino's Pizza (which just launched drone delivery in the region last year), Subway, Pizza Hut and McDonald's, all of which have rapidly expanded.

For Pakistan, it is the country's youth who crave American variety. The Islamic Republics' fast food demand is also due to multiculturalism, ever-changing lifestyles and the very implementation of the QSRs themselves. While researchers say the fast food boom is an unhealthy trend, these chains represent a key source of income for Pakistan’s major cities — Karachi being among them.

As part of Dine Brands' turnaround strategy, the company opened 71 IHOPs in 2018 with 17 coming from international markets, according to a 2018 year-end earnings release. The company said it expects to open 35 to 55 new restaurants around the world, which will be helped by the Pakistan openings. Growth in global markets is part of the company's long-term strategy, CEO Stephen P. Joyce said in 2018.

It might be hard to foresee IHOP's U.S. fate, especially during a time when casual brands are struggling, but Dine Brands is certainly showing confidence in its international markets. And Pakistan's demand seemingly bolsters the company's position.

Riaz Haq said...

Buying Into Pakistan's Fast-Food Boom Without a Taste Test

Read more at: https://www.bloombergquint.com/global-economics/buying-into-pakistan-s-fast-food-boom-without-a-taste-test
Copyright © BloombergQuint

Naim Anwar has spent most of his career in the insurance business in Pakistan, so when it came to buying local franchise rights for Texas-based fried chicken chain Golden Chick, he said it was a no-brainer. “I didn’t try the food” before signing the agreement, Anwar said in an interview over a lunch of Chinese hot and sour soup and kindo fish in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial hub. “It turned out

Riaz Haq said...

Published in Mar-Apr 2018
Thought for food
Taimur Tajik
Food as a business is booming in Pakistan because of the inventiveness and ingenuity of the people involved in it.

https://aurora.dawn.com/news/1142966

Food. Glorious, mouth-watering, irresistible food. It’s passed around on the day we are born, gifted upon our first salaries and served by the truckload on our wedding day. It’s even there after we die, served at our barsis in the form of steaming hot biryani or a delightfully oily qorma. It’s there to kickstart our morning routine, get us through the day and even keep us company after midnight. It’s a source of pride that has the power to represent different people and places while unifying the entire country at the same time. It is the metaphorical seekh that runs through our meaty, festive and flavourful culture, straight to the hearts and bellies of millions of passionate, food-loving Pakistanis.


Now, with food options becoming more cluttered day-by-day, local eateries are developing innovative ways to cook food and stand out, attracting customers and satisfying the nation’s diverse appetites in the process – many of which, mind you, do so without the help of professional ad agencies.

Restaurants are throwing caution to the wind and experimenting with bold and contrasting ingredients to create post-modern delights, many of which have become staples in restaurants and cafés across Pakistan.
With more Pakistani women joining the workforce and disposing of less time to cook for their families, home-cooked meals are becoming less of a daily tradition and more of a weekend luxury for many households. Fast food and fine-dining outlets have been quick to fill this gap, offering a variety of options with maximum convenience. Despite being a developing nation, Pakistanis spend an estimated 40% of their household income on food (that’s a lot of kabab rolls) and the food business has been quick to respond to this growing demand, becoming the second fastest growth sector in Pakistan.

Even if you were not aware of the statistics, the sheer number of eateries cropping up around every corner is proof alone that food as a business is booming. Today, customers have more to choose from than they could have ever imagined; from international and local franchises, health and junk food, to home-baked and home-grown treats. If you can dream it, you can almost certainly eat it.

As great as all this competition is for customers, it means that eateries need to work that much harder to stand out. The first step is to introduce novelty into their products and this has ushered in a slew of culturally-challenging and funkily-fused creations such as Nutella parathas, naan-wiches, strawberry samosas, and even chocolate-covered French fries.

Restaurants are throwing caution to the wind and experimenting with bold and contrasting ingredients to create post-modern delights, many of which have become staples in restaurants and cafés across Pakistan. The eateries that could not get away with mixing the un-mixable, injected ingenuity in their conventional menu in the form of multi-stacked burgers and obscenely large pizza slices. Thanks to digital, such ideas have spread like wildfire throughout online food communities, giving audiences even more reason to ditch their homemade daal chawal for a taste of something new and exotic.


Riaz Haq said...

Published in Mar-Apr 2018
Thought for food
Taimur Tajik
Food as a business is booming in Pakistan because of the inventiveness and ingenuity of the people involved in it.

https://aurora.dawn.com/news/1142966

Local eateries have realised that they cannot rely on taste alone to attract and retain customers. Don’t get me wrong. Taste is paramount, so if your Brazilian-imported steak doesn’t taste like it’s been flown halfway around the world, you may as well name it Pedro and send it back home. But, in addition to the food itself, Pakistani foodies also crave a superior dining experience, which can include everything from the ambience to value-added services. In my opinion, this is where restaurants have become particularly creative. Such ingenuity has given rise to a string of gimmicks, such as dancing waiters, customised meals and menus, and eateries designed to accommodate parents with overly-active kids. The surge of chai walas, for example, has shown how repackaging the classic dhaaba-style concept, with a contemporary menu can persuade even the most posh of diners to trade in their five-star standards for a bit of down-and-dirty road-style cuisine.


Some eateries have even relied on humour and popular culture to grab attention. Some of my favourites include Sattar Buksh (a comical local play on ‘Starbucks’), Central Perk (a TV-show themed café in Peshawar based on the Friends series) and Facebhook (yes, you read that correctly), a local fast food outlet in Karachi that serve their meals on trays designed to look like Facebook posts. I also remember Gun Smoke in its heyday, when it was known for its apparently badly-mannered waiters who would politely salam me at the door and then throw the bill in my face at the end of a meal (in hindsight, a little cultural consideration could have gone a long way for them). Some recent notable mentions also include Cloud Naan, Chaiflix (based on Netflix) and Chaye Thaana – a Lahori jail-themed restaurant, complete with prison cells, barbed wire and waiters dressed as inmates. Regardless of what you may think about these outlets, their tactics or their food, you have to admit that the amount of creativity brewing in the kitchens and back offices of the local food industry is commendable – that too, in the absence of professional agency support. It is this sort of ingenious creativity that keeps the food industry in a constant state of hype, getting customers to foam at the mouth for whatever new food-related ventures may come their way.


In case you are thinking that the food industry’s creativity has reached its peak, think again. According to experts, Pakistan’s food industry is still very much in its infancy and as it continues to expand and evolve, eateries are only going to think of more ways to tantalise our taste buds and make us line up in droves to sink our teeth into the next big thing. From audiences’ points of view, there is no doubt that Pakistanis will welcome these new trends with open arms (and mouths), ready to try out any new taste or trend, no matter how niche, foreign or bizarre. With digital marketing and online food communities swiftly on the rise, the food scenario is only going to become more accessible and inviting, welcoming new types of foodies, cuisines and dining experiences to the fold. That means more eateries, more food choices, and more ingenious and inspiring marketing tactics to whet our insatiable appetites. Now if you will excuse me, I am late for my post-lunch, pre-dinner binge-fest.

Unknown said...

All Indian bullshit propaganda against CPEC. either to stop CPEC work or at least slow down to achieve their evil targets.
General Asim Bajwa is a honest man who is dedicated to his given targets.

Unknown said...

سستی شہرت حاصل کرنے کے لیے اپنے ملک کو بھی بدنامیوں کے اندھیرے میں دھکیل سکتا ہے

Anonymous said...

Nice joke

Riaz Haq said...

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says the authenticity of a news report on alleged offshore properties and businesses of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Chairman Lt-Gen retired Asim Saleem Bajwa and his family will be clear soon.


https://www.dawn.com/news/1576963/fm-casts-doubt-on-authenticity-of-media-report

“It is now a common practice that the news is run without confirmation. A news should be made public once it is confirmed. The truth in this case will come to the fore soon,” he said in response to questions put by some journalists here on Friday.

Anonymous said...

مرحومہ عاصمہ جہانگیر نے انکے بارے میں بالکل ٹھیک کہا تھا جب ان جرنیلوں کی کرپشن سامنے آئی گی تو لوگ سیاستدانوں کو بھول جائیں گے
واقعی یہ وطن تمہارا ہے.

Shayan S. said...

Please see and tell me who is this Farrukh Zeba shown as shareholders on notarized copy image shared on Fact Focus by Ahmad Noorani?

https://www.daily-sun.com/post/502391/Bajwa-family-business-empire-grew-in-four-countries-in-sync-with-Asim-Bajwa%E2%80%99s-rise-in-military

Riaz Haq said...

Shayan: "Please see and tell me who is this Farrukh Zeba"


This is a claim by Fact Focus, not an official US state document. It doesn't show up in any of the state links shared by Ahmad Noorani.

https://factfocus.com/date-wise-detail-of-establishment-of-companies-by-the-bajwa-family/

Riaz Haq said...

Fast-growing North Texas franchisee Ampex Brands (owned by Pakistani-American NED Alum Tabassum Mumtaz) is continuing its rapid expansion with the acquisition of 77 Pizza Hut units.

https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2018/01/10/fast-growing-restaurant-franchisee-adds-232m-to.html

The company purchased the pizza restaurants, all located in North Texas, from Pizza Hut’s corporate office last month. The deal adds $88 million to Ampex’s top line and makes it Plano-based Pizza Hut’s largest franchisee in North Texas, said CEO Tabbassum Mumtaz.

In the past three months, Ampex has also purchased 52 KFC restaurants in Columbus, Ohio, and Oklahoma City. Those deals have added another $144 million to Ampex’s top line.

Ampex now owns 128 Pizza Hut units and 218 KFCs across the country. Its full portfolio, which stretches across 15 states, also includes 38 Taco Bells, 68 Long John Silver’s, and 49 Tim Hortons.



“When you look at the team and they have the capabilities to grow, that’s exciting,” Mumtaz of what’s driving his company’s growth. “We give them part ownership in some of the stores. The owners that we have in our own company, we make them part owners based on their titles and how long they’ve worked with us. We make sure that our team grows along with us.”

Funding for the acquisitions has come from Ampex’s profits and investments from the team’s friends and families. Mumtaz said the company is staying away from private equity investment.

“We don’t go into acquisitions that we can’t afford,” he added. “We try to buy low and ensure that we turn the markets around.”

Additional unit growth is on the menu for Ampex this year. It expects to announce at least two more large acquisitions in 2018, and open 17 stores across all of its brands.

Last year, Ampex also expanded its real estate holdings, acquiring a nearly 17,000-square-foot Richardson office building that doubled the size of its previous headquarters.


Employees moved from Ampex’s former Carrollton facility to the new campus at the end of the year. Mumtaz said he plans to convert the Carrollton building into a training and operations center.

With the move, the company said in September it would consolidate 24 positions – potentially relocating employees – from its Cleveland office in hopes of bringing all of its workers under one roof.

"Dallas is our base; it's where our heart is," Mumtaz said at the time. "People know us as being in Dallas. It's the center of the world and it's the most convenient place for our office today."

As Ampex continues to grow, Mumtaz added that he eventually hopes to open a build-to-suit headquarters along the Dallas North Tollway. He is already searching for potential sites.

"We have already been talking to a couple of land owners that have shown an interest to sell," Mumtaz added. "That area suits us; it's central to our locations and close to Addison Airport, Love Field, DFW Airport — it would be very exciting to us."

Riaz Haq said...

SAPM Bajwa said all of the allegations – including the one that his brothers’ business in the United States and its growth is relatable to his promotion in the Pakistan Army – are “materially false”.


https://tribune.com.pk/story/2262361/lt-gen-retd-asim-bajwa-rebuts-baseless-allegations-against-him-and-his-family


He added that a random mention has been made in “the news broken by Mr. Ahmed Noorani on an unknown website on 27.08.2020” regarding the businesses and properties owned by his family members “with sweeping allegations regarding their evaluation” and authenticity.

The PM’s aide also said that in June this year when he had declared his assets as SAPM his wife was neither an investor nor a shareholder in any business, including that of his brothers.

“My wife had disinvested all her interests at 1/6/2020 in any entity abroad and such fact has been duly documented in the official records in the USA,” he wrote in the rebuttal.

The purpose of the news item is to malign my reputation “if one looks at actual figures without any prejudice”, he added.

Regarding claims about his brothers’ business, Lt Gen (retd) Bajwa clarified that the Bajco Global Management, LLC doesn’t own any company as it is just a management company which provides services to all Bajco-related businesses on a fee basis.

“Bajco Global Management, LLC does not have any ownership interest in any Papa John’s in the US, DQ and UAE or in any real estate,” he added.

SAPM Bajwa also set aside the assertions that his bothers’ company, Silkline Enterprises, was formed to acquire CPEC-related contracts. The company has only provided human resources to industries situated in the southern Punjab district of Rahim Yar Khan, he added.

The CPEC Authority chairman also provided details of the companies and properties owned by his children.

The private firm, Scion Builders and Estate, which is also registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and owned by one of Bajwa’s sons has never done any business and has been dormant since its formation, according to the statement.

Regarding another company, Lt Gen (retd) Bajwa said his son who owns 50 per cent share in Himalaya (PVT) Ltd is a very small firm and during the last three years it made a nominal profit of Rs500,000.

Krypton, a mining and mineral firm that the journalist alleged one of Bajwa’s sons had acquired while his father was posted in Balochistan as commander Southern Command “has always been dormant and has never done any business”.

Anonymous said...

چھا گئے ہیں لیفٹیننٹ جنرل (ر) عاصم باجوہ جس چینل پر نگاہ ڈالو جس نیوز شو پر نظر ڈالو جنرل صاحب اپنے خلاف الزامات کا جم کر جواب دے رہے تھےپہلے کئی صفحات پر مشتمل ہر الزام کا نکتہ وار جواب میڈیا کو جاری کیا کون کہتا ہے پاکستان میں میڈیا فریڈم نہیں اور جنرلز کاُ احتساب نہیں ہوتا

https://twitter.com/AajKamranKhan/status/1301580011972034560?s=20

Anonymous said...

Shayaan - 2

Regarding Shayan's comment about Farrukh Zeba:
The ownership and co-founder status of Farrukh Zeba (Asim Bajwa's wife), has been admitted by Asim Bajwa. He has stated that one fifth of the founding capital was put up by his wife in the venture.

Asim Bajwa's claims that his sons started companies which have been dormant, are in loss, never did any business, or never opened bank accounts. These explanations regarding Companies in name of his sons, are contradicted by videos on social media, where the sons are proudly detailed company operations.

Go to opencorporates.com to see Bajwa family data, including Farrukh Zeba and Eusha Bajwa etc.

According to Bajwa's numbers on TV interviews, the Group's total investment is $73,000 (seventy three thousands), and the rest $60million (of $69m) is all Bank loans and Bank facilities. Which bank deals like that ?

Shayaan - 3 said...

Riaz bhai, very respectfully you are misusing the wrong picture to indicate Politicians versus Generals corruption.
Please see the explanation by the Author himself (written months after the previous article and picture, and then updated again after a year).

https://finnaarupnielsen.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/guess-which-occupation-is-not-the-most-frequent-among-persons-from-the-panama-papers/

Secondly, the picture doesn't indicate the size of assets or properties. Only the frequency of occupations.

Can you please read the updated explanation by 'Finn Årup Nielsen' and increase the honesty level in this article on Corruption.

Riaz Haq said...

Shayaan: "very respectfully you are misusing the wrong picture to indicate Politicians versus Generals corruption."

Does he say anywhere that "general" is the most frequent occupation in Panama Papers? I looked and couldn't find it.

What we do know is that Pakistani names included several politicians and no generals.

https://www.valuewalk.com/2016/04/panama-papers-leaks-pakistani-names-list/

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is linked to 9 companies connected to his family name. Those involved are:

Hassan Nawaz
Hussain Nawaz
Maryam Nawaz
Relatives of Punjab Chief Minister and brother of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif are linked to 7 companies. They are:

Samina Durrani
Ilyas Mehraj
Now deceased former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was linked to one company. However relatives and associates are linked to others:

Nephew Hassan Ali Jaffery
Javed Pasha, Close friend of Asif Ali Zardari (4 companies)
PPP Senator Rehman Malik (1 company)
PPP Senator Osman Saifullah’s family (34 companies)
Anwar Saifullah
Salim Saifullah
Humayun Saifullah
Iqbal Saifullah
Javed Saifullah
Jehangir Saifullah
The Chaudharies of Gujrat have not been linked personally but other relatives have including:
Waseem Gulzar
Zain Sukhera (co-accused with former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s son in the Hajj scandal)
Pakistani Businessmen in Panama Leaks:

Real Estate Czar Malik Riaz Hussain’s son (Bahria Town)
Ahmad Ali Riaz (1 company)
Chairman ABM Group of Companies Azam Sultan (5 companies)
Pizza Hut owner Aqeel Hussain and family (1 company)
Brother Tanwir Hassan
Chairman Soorty Enterprise Abdul Rashid Soorty and family
Sultan Ali Allana, Chairman of Habib Bank Limited (1 company)
Khawaja Iqbal Hassan, former NIB bank President (1 company)
Bashir Ahmed and Javed Shakoor of Buxly Paints (1 company)
Mehmood Ahmed of Berger Paints (1 company)
Hotel tycoon Sadruddin Hashwani and family (3 companies)
Murtaza Haswani
Owner of Hilton Pharma, Shehbaz Yasin Malik and family (1 company)
The Hussain Dawood family (2 companies)
Shahzada Dawood
Abdul Samad Dawood
Partner Saad Raja
The Abdullah family of Sapphire Textiles (5 companies)
Yousuf Abdullah and his wife
Muhammad Abdullah and his wife
Shahid Abdullah and his family
Nadeem Abdullah and family
Amer Abdullah and family
Gul Muhammad Tabba of Lucky Textiles
Shahid Nazir, CEO of Masood Textile Mills (1 company)
Partner Naziya Nazir
Zulfiqar Ali Lakhani, from Lakson Group and owner of Colgate-Palmolive, Tetley Clover and Clover Pakistan (1 company)
Zulfiqar Paracha and family of Universal Corporation (1 company)
Pakistani Judges in Panama Leaks:

Serving Lahore High Court Judge Justice Farrukh Irfan
Retired Judge Malik Qayyum
Pakistani Media personnel in Panama Leaks:

Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman of GEO and Jang Group (1 company)
NAB could investigate Pakistanis listed in Panama Papers

Riaz Haq said...

Shayan: "According to Bajwa's numbers on TV interviews, the Group's total investment is $73,000 (seventy three thousands), and the rest $60million (of $69m) is all Bank loans and Bank facilities. Which bank deals like that ?"


It took 18 years of sweat equity to build the asset value of $69 million. Franchise restaurants and other assets were acquired by Bajco over this period a few at a time, each with 10-20% down and the rest coming as loans from financial institutions. That's how other Pakistani immigrants did it. Google the names Shoukat Dhanani, Aslam Khan, Tabassum Mumtaz, Aziz Hashim, Ali Butt and others to see how they built up their franchise businesses.

Riaz Haq said...

A reporter (Ahmad Noorani) for English daily The News has issued an apology for authoring a story that suggested that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigating money laundering allegations against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had not found the premier guilty of any wrongdoing in its report.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1344847

Titled "Panama JIT ‘doesn’t find PM guilty,’ but his sons", the story published on July 10 before the actual investigation report was made public said that the JIT had "at no place" held the prime minister responsible for any illegal activity.

Quoting "sources close to the JIT", the news story had claimed that the JIT had connected Sharif's sons — Hussain and Hassan Nawaz — to their family's failure to provide evidence concerning the transfer of funds to London.

"Clearly the most critical and newsworthy part of my story that 'Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is not held responsible for any wrongdoing' proved completely wrong," reporter Ahmad Noorani wrote in his apology, which was published on the front page of The News' July 12 edition.

Riaz Haq said...

The Supreme Court (SC), on Wednesday, issued another contempt notice to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jang Group and others for falsely attributing in their July 6, 2017 story the apex court as having directed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to look after the affairs of Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

https://direct88786.tribune.com.pk/index.php/story/1616903/sc-issues-contempt-notice-jang-group-false-attribution

The three judge bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, also asked Geo News CEO Mir Shakeelur Rehman and others to appear in person on February 7. During the hearing, the court asked the reporter, Ahmad Noorani, in question to show evidence to establish his story but he failed to do so.

SC drops contempt proceedings against PCO judges

Earlier, the bench gave Noorani the opportunity to tender an unconditional apology for making the telephone call to a judge but he refused.

In July last year, the top court had issued contempt notices to the Jang Group on publishing a ‘controversial’ story relating to the role of the ISI in the Panama Papers case.

A three-judge bench issued contempt notices to owners Mir Shakeelur Rehman, Mir Javedur Rehman, and reporter Noorani over ‘false reporting’ related to the case.

Riaz Haq said...

The Supreme Court (SC), on Wednesday, issued another contempt notice to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jang Group and others for falsely attributing in their July 6, 2017 story the apex court as having directed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to look after the affairs of Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

https://direct88786.tribune.com.pk/index.php/story/1616903/sc-issues-contempt-notice-jang-group-false-attribution

The three judge bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, also asked Geo News CEO Mir Shakeelur Rehman and others to appear in person on February 7. During the hearing, the court asked the reporter, Ahmad Noorani, in question to show evidence to establish his story but he failed to do so.

SC drops contempt proceedings against PCO judges

Earlier, the bench gave Noorani the opportunity to tender an unconditional apology for making the telephone call to a judge but he refused.

In July last year, the top court had issued contempt notices to the Jang Group on publishing a ‘controversial’ story relating to the role of the ISI in the Panama Papers case.

A three-judge bench issued contempt notices to owners Mir Shakeelur Rehman, Mir Javedur Rehman, and reporter Noorani over ‘false reporting’ related to the case.

Riaz Haq said...

Twitter Thread By Malik Khuram Khan Dehwar (@KhurramDehwar):


In order for us to truly understand the SAATH FORUM, the reasons for its formation in the US, the mysterious sources of it’s funding & the background of its members from Pakistan, we need to understand how US policy is formulated in the first place.

#IndiaWagingHybridWar

/2

https://twitter.com/khurramdehwar/status/1305756166295822342?s=21

---------------

Even the so called propaganda report against LtGen Asim Bajwa was prepared by the entire above network & Ahmad Noorani was just a pawn.

Their target is CPEC & they received max help from Indian propaganda machine to make CPEC authority controversial.

#IndiaWagingHybridWar

/108

https://twitter.com/khurramdehwar/status/1305799287331336192?s=21

Riaz Haq said...

#TransparencyInternational #UK Head : “Foreign politicians with convictions relating to corruption should not enjoy impunity in Britain. Nor should their unexplained wealth, stashed in luxury London properties, fall out of the reach of law enforcement" https://www.ft.com/content/bef9565a-59a4-4290-8b29-f3866db21a84



Mr Sharif “has been responsible for pillaging the state and I trust that you will be supportive of our efforts to bring those responsible for corruption to account”, Mr Khan’s adviser, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, wrote to Ms Patel on October 5.

After the Panama Papers revealed hidden assets belonging to Mr Sharif’s family, he resigned as prime minister in 2017. The following year a Pakistan court sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment for corruption. He has claimed that this and other corruption cases against him are politically motivated.


In November 2019 he flew to London after the Pakistan authorities granted him leave to travel abroad for eight weeks to seek treatment for various conditions. He sought an extension of his temporary release but the Pakistan authorities refused on the grounds that he had offered inadequate medical evidence and ordered Mr Sharif to return home.



According to records submitted to the Pakistan authorities, he has given as his London address the very flat on London’s opulent Park Lane that led to his downfall. His family’s ownership of the flat was exposed by the leak of secret files from the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The letter to Ms Patel urges her to use her “extensive powers” to deport Mr Sharif, arguing she is “duty bound” to do so. It cites immigration rules that criminals sentenced to four years or more must be refused leave to remain in the UK. A Pakistan court has issued a warrant for Mr Sharif’s arrest, the letter adds.

A Pakistan official said the UK had not yet formally responded. The Home Office declined to comment.

“Foreign politicians with convictions relating to corruption should not enjoy impunity in Britain. Nor should their unexplained wealth, stashed in luxury London properties, fall out of the reach of law enforcement,” said Daniel Bruce, head of Transparency International UK.

“The UK government should work constructively with democratic countries such as Pakistan to uphold the rule of law. Action should also be taken to seize and return illicit assets held here in Britain in order to deliver justice for the victims of corruption. Failure to act on cases such as this, earns the UK an unwelcome reputation as a safe haven for dirty money.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Army set to gain sweeping Belt and Road authority
Bill grants military-linked body carte blanche over $50bn CPEC projects

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/Pakistan-Army-set-to-gain-sweeping-Belt-and-Road-authority

CPEC projects were stalled for months after Khan took power in 2018, mainly due to graft allegations regarding the previous government's handling of the projects. There were also allegations that the deals unfairly benefited Beijing. Khan's government struggled to cope with twin deficits and unsustainable external debt. Before his election, the former cricketer had been a vocal critic of the corridor, citing a lack of transparency.

But with Bajwa at the helm and Khan now making CPEC a cornerstone of his development plans for Pakistan, CPEC power generation and transportation projects have taken off.

Since its inception, the CPEC Authority has drawn flak from opposition parties, mainly the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and the Pakistan People's Party, which advocate for the strengthening of existing civilian institutions involved in the CPEC.

The parties aligned against the bill have also mounted brazen opposition to the army's role in politics. They have organized rallies across the country under an alliance called the Pakistan Democratic Movement, alleging that the ruling PTI has framed them under fake corruption cases with the backing of the army.

----------

Pakistan is set to pass legislation that would place a supranational body that oversees the $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's flagship Belt and Road Initiative, under control of a Pakistan Army that would also gain sweeping powers.

A parliamentary committee earlier this month passed the CPEC Authority Bill 2020 despite strong opposition from some lawmakers. According to Junaid Akbar, chairman of the parliamentary committee, the bill will be presented to parliament for a final vote in the second week of December.

Pakistan's government under Prime Minister Imran Khan and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, considered to be aligned with the interests of the army, had been working for months to get the draft bill through the committee. The proposed law seeks to reinstate the controversial CPEC Authority -- which has been defunct since the expiry of a presidential order in May.

If enacted, the legislation will shift control of CPEC projects from the planning and development ministry run by a civilian bureaucracy to the CPEC Authority headed by retired army Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa. In addition, Bajwa would report directly to the prime minister instead of the ministry and replace the planning minister as co-chair of a Pakistan-China joint committee.

Despite the lapse of the presidential order, Bajwa has continued to preside over the CPEC Authority as chairman, a situation that has led opposition legislators to question the legality of his position. In a briefing to the committee, the planning ministry denied having a CPEC Authority chairman; it also denied that it gives Bajwa any salary or perks.

Outside observers say the machinations reveal a military that is asserting itself as the elected government endeavors to find its footing.

"The civilian leadership [under Khan and PTI], which had never held national power until winning the 2018 election, has struggled with public policy on multiple levels," Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank, told Nikkei Asia. "This move can be seen in part as a military power play to assert more influence over a key project that it believes it is better qualified to oversee.