It was a privilege indeed to come across and interview a man with multiple responsibilities on his shoulder, not only his own as CEO of Brookes Pharma but his organization as well as the business community being an active member of United Business Group and Korangi Association of Trade and Industry. Following are the excerpts from the pleasant encounter.
Q. Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan gave us a brief detail biography?
A: With all the blessings of Allah Al-Mighty, my first belief is to see, hear and say the truth and whatsoever may come give the factual answer. As far as my back ground is concerned, I started my career from scratch working for different organizations from 1963 till 1972, then with the help and guidance of friends and colleagues started doing exports in different fields till 1984.
Q. Are your kinfolks with you in this profession or they are studying?
A: My family comprise of 15 members, 3 sons, 3 daughters, 4 grandsons, 3 granddaughters, a wife and self, living under one roof. Since, I am called father, I do consider my daughters in law as my own daughters. My sons, after completion of their studies, are on board as directors holding different positions in this organization.
Q. What was your motive behind setting up one of the largest Pharmaceutical Company?
A: I opted to take on with pharmaceutical field, whereas, I was not that familiar or educated in this field, yet, looking towards the needs of a common man, I pledged for this profession.
As for my education is concerned, I was not that qualified in the field of pharmacy.
But I know how to conceive ideas and what steps are taken to accomplish any project, as before, medicine used for even common treatment, were imported to Pakistan and were expensive for a common man.
And that is the reason what made me opt to this field. I am an entrepreneur, as I call myself and also aware of what it means as it requires justification, so, I hired professional pharmacist, specialist in medicine and doctors with core experience in formulation of medicines to not only establish this industry but in 23 years of hectic service to the community, converted it into the largest and most modern pharmaceutical company in Pakistan.
Q. How far do you think your medicines are reaching since you are the largest manufacturer?
A: Since 1984, Brookes Pharmaceutical Private Limited is catering to the domestic market by providing over 100 products and saving the country Rs3bn through import substitution. It also earns foreign exchange of $20m per annum through exports.
Now my medicines are not only to serve the common men at reachable value, but are being exported to almost 18 neighboring countries in Asia and African Estates. Brookes is the only pharmaceutical company in the country that produces anesthesia products. Of the roughly 800 units manufacturing medicines and drugs in Pakistan, only 19 are multinationals.
Q. Why and how you get into politics?
A: I was elected as a senator on the ticket of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, but I hate politics. I am the author of at least five books.
Education, health and economy is my passion, I discussed these subjects for five years in the senate, that earned me Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2005. I never joined any party not even MQM. I was a member, only for the need of my country.
Patriotism is what runs in my veins. If I observe something positive for my country, I put my 100 percent involvement by contributing to the cause. I got involved in politics, that too, was meant for the country as politics is different in Pakistan and my politics was for the betterment of the country and countrymen.
My six years of association with MQM were based on three subjects, ‘Health, Education and Economy. When you are not healthy, you are fit for nothing.
I place it as when you are unhealthy or weak, you will not look for education instead you will look for means that can give you day to day, bun and bread for living or otherwise, opt to the scenario which is very much in our country.
But when you are physically healthy, your mind starts working on things that can give you a prolonged living. And to reach that you will go for learning and opt for needful education
Those countries whose economies are developed are so because of a healthier, educated environment. Of course, in a healthier, educated society, economies flourish automatically.
Q. What is company’s export policy and what challenges you face ?
A: There are no problems in regards to paying taxes but there are other problems like equally following international guide lines to keep up with the international level as of certification.
But if you are not following the guide lines it means your company is not up to the level of international standards. So, you have to keep up with the international level.
The main issue in regards to exports is with the government, which is not supporting in manufacturing, the raw material import, and exploring opportunities for exports etc.
Just 35 out of 850 companies are exporting at international level. Pakistani pharmacist can compete with the international pharma companies.
I have my dream to compete in the international market with such companies.
So, I started on my own profit without the support of the government.
They were supposed to support by 50% funding for exporting, which they never did.
The company’s CEO narrated about how he came into the medicine business despite having no background in this field, being equipped with an electrical engineering degree.
As a key component of its corporate doctrine, Brookes Pharma provides third party manufacturing facility where a company processes raw materials and semi-finished goods for another company.
Narrating his secret of success, Khan said he takes care of his workers. The 650 families of his factory employees are entitled to health and education, and there is no age for retirement. People as old as 80 years are also working
at his factory.
As healthcare was devolved to the provinces under the 18th amendment, many issues have cropped up. However, I made a lot of efforts in the Senate to form the Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA) at the federal level, and the bill was passed in the Senate and the National Assembly on November 13, 2012. The comprehensive law is designed to ensure the quality of medicines at affordable prices. Similarly, it places the responsibility for ensuring the availability of medicines in government hospitals across
the country on the DRA.
Furthermore, the Pharmacy Council of Pakistan Bill, also drafted by me and passed by the Senate, is pending before the relevant ministries and awaiting approval by the National Assembly, he said adding that he is hopeful of government’s sincere efforts to legalise, insitutionalize and boost exports by Pakistani pharmaceutical companies who do conform to international standards.
Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan
Born in 1940 in Bhopal, India
Abdul Haseeb Khan migrated to Pakistan with his family. He was admitted in class five in a government school in Mirpurkhas before shifting to Karachi.He faced tough days in the city.
He began selling snacks at the early age of 12 to meet expenses.He continued his education and got admitted in the Polytechnic Institute for a degree in electrical engineering.
To pay for his education fee he did some odd jobs, including one as a storekeeper, a supervisor at a factory in Korangi. For a short period, he had also worked with Pakistan Oxygen as a sales representative.
His life turning point was when he joined a company as terminal manager which exported molasses and in that 10 years tenure, he saved some money and was able to make his own terminal for edible oil.
As the land was given to him on lease by KPT, little investment was needed for erecting oil storage tanks, which he did by using old ship plates from the Gadani ship breaking yard.
Realizing that oil businesses is extremely slow he and his German friend decided to enter the pharmaceutical business. Within two years, the plot on which the company’s modern setup is working today, was purchased for Rs1.6m
Today, Brookes Pharma, stands amongst the largest pharmaceutical company of Pakistan.
In March 2009 Abdul Haseeb Khan was elected to the Senate of Pakistan on a general seat nominated by MQM.
Sahibzada Salmn Khan
Adnan Amanat Siddiqui