Malik Riaz is a name who has come up really well. Entrepreneurship has itself found new meanings in the personality of Malik Riaz Hussain.
He attributes his success to his hard work and faith in Allah. He recalls his friend who gave him money for investment and advised him to set aside 2.5% from the profit and to disburse the amount as charity. He adhered to that and believes that one cannot imagine how much he gets in return by giving in Allah’s name.
Malik Riaz’s Vision and the determinants of Bahria Town’s Success:
Malik Riaz’s brainchild: Bahria Town has come up well, in fact very well. His vision of “Quality Living for all” has translated into one of the country’s largest housing schemes. Bahria Town stands for:
- Top of the line services
It's easy to forget about political assassinations, fears of loose nukes and the specter of Islamic militancy from a bench in Hill Park. Nestled in an idyllic neighborhood where children play in the streets and homeowners stroll to the local health club or mini-mart, the park and its manicured grass overlook a sliver of a vast gated residential development of the sort you might see in southern California. But the area, named Bahria Town, is located just outside Islamabad. At 45,000 square acres it is, according to splashy international ads, the largest private development in Asia, and despite Pakistan's well-publicized political and security problems, people are signing deals for six-figure houses, condos and apartments faster than they can be built. "These are changing times for Pakistan," says Salman Ahmed Khan, the development's director of marketing and operations, whose main job is to court prospective buyers away from Dubai and to Bahria Town. "Pakistanis are traveling, they're seeing nice things abroad and we want to provide that for them at home."
This unlikely playground for wealthy Muslims is the vision of Khan's boss and father-in-law, Malik Riaz Hussain, a 59-year-old billionaire Pakistani contractor. Set between the capital Islamabad and its sister city Rawalpindi, Bahria Town is the "masterpiece" of his 40-year career, a $6 billion project he has funded solo to avoid having to deal with outside investors. The nine phases: too vast to fully appreciate without standing on one of the plateaus that overlook them, will one day mesh together into a planned residential city for 1 million people. The project broke ground in 1996, and already, many of the 50,000 luxury properties in the development are owned by wealthy Pakistan expatriates who swooped into Bahria Town after 9/11 to buy second homes amid fears they would be driven out of places like London, New York and Los Angeles. Equally important was the security and serenity that Bahria Town provides, which drew Pakistan expats and a smattering of wealthy Arab Muslims away from places like Dubai.
The complex offers amenities (24-hour armed security, schools, hospitals, a fire department, retail shopping, restaurants and entertainment centers) that go above and beyond those in many of the gated communities that have become so popular in countries from the United States to Brazil. Given the nation's security issues, it's especially easy to understand why the rich here want to cloister themselves. Rival Pakistani developers, including one owned by the military, have begun copying Malik Riaz's vision, constructing their own gated communities in the suburbs of major Pakistani cities such as Karachi. He himself is developing a second such site in Lahore, where former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif already lives in a gated community called Model Town.
Malik Riaz's original inspiration for the mega-community came from the pre-planned town of Reston, Virginia; just outside Washington, D.C. Materials and design inspiration have been imported from everywhere. In the center of roundabouts sit giant Spanish fountains costing $500,000 a pop; the main streets are lined with palm trees brought in from Thailand; grass for the local golf course comes from the U.S. state of Georgia; the education expert for the 1,100-acre university being built is from Seattle. "When I see America, when I see Britain, when I see Turkey, when I see Malaysia," Malik Riaz says, "the only thing I think is, 'Why not Pakistan?' "
This is Malik Riaz's key notion—that Bahria Town is a world away from Taliban and Qaeda militants, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and weekly suicide bombings. "This is the real Pakistan," he believes.
Bahria Town has retired Army officers as security advisers and former foot soldiers on its police force. And independent power supply and private street cleaners also save residents from maddening daily electricity shortages in cities like Islamabad and garbage fouling the streets.
Familiar with Re-invention:
Malik Riaz is familiar with reinvention. Although born into a wealthy family, his father's contracting business collapsed, and he was forced at the age of 19 to start his career as a lowly clerk in Islamabad. He remembers vividly, three years later, having to sell some family silverware just to buy medicine for his sick 2-year-old daughter. "I've never forgotten being poor," Malik Riaz says, pointing out that Bahria Town also includes thousands of low-cost prefabricated houses. Still, there's no missing the fact that his dream city is mainly for upper-class Pakistanis who "want the good things in life," says Khan, the marketing manager.
Malik Riaz says Bhutto's death has only increased his motivation to push forward his groundbreaking development projects. He claims that Pakistan's instability has not affected sales at Bahria Town. Pakistani economists like Qaisar Bengali aren't so sure: "There are many housing schemes stuck in the middle because real-estate prices have dropped in the last year or so." Nonetheless, Malik Riaz says he's optimistic about the future.
Malik Riaz himself maintains close ties to the military establishment; his early business success was due in large part to construction contracts with the Pakistan Navy. ("Bahria" is Urdu for "naval.")
But he and others hope the country is at a turning point—one that will fuel private projects like Bahria Town. Pakistan certainly has no shortage of natural resources or cheap labor; now that elections are settled, economists believe FDI will flow back into the country. Investors from the Middle East (including regional giant Damac, based in Dubai) have already been knocking on Malik Riaz's door, looking to put money in joint ventures here. With the return of civilian government and the removal of the shackles of stringent, military-led development, Malik Riaz is free to ponder his next megaproject: digging a traffic tunnel through the Margalla Hills on the northern outskirts of Islamabad, and putting up a new bedroom residential community in the valley on the other side. If he builds it, says the developer confidently, foreign investors will come.
Ensuring Quality with Economy:
Quality is maintain at ‘all costs’, in all designs, across nation-wide massive developments and beyond the customer experience. Bahria Town’s product range contains a fit for everyone, every taste and every pocket. This is why our communities truly depict a balanced community representation.
A Satisfied Entrepreneur:
Generally Malik Riaz is satisfied, yet, there is much more to be achieved, many novel ideas to be conceived, and a great many horizons waiting to be discovered. Bahria Town looks forward to inspire the world more than it inspires Malik Riaz and his fellow countrymen.
Sultana Daku’s Strategy:
Malik Riaz says that he is pursuing the ‘Sultana Daaku’ strategy. He earns from the rich and facilitate the middle income group.
Advice to the young businessmen:
Malik Riaz says that there are no shortcuts in life. You have to work hard, hard and hard. You should learn from your experiences. This is how one can achieve success in life.
Interesting Facts about Malik Riaz’s Bahria Town as narrated by him:
• We operate Pakistan’s largest private sector fleet of heavy earth moving equipment and the service workshops.
• We also have over 20,000 inspired, largest workforce with any private real estate developer
• Bahria Town’s management strategy of hiring highly qualified individuals and of further training them is unique in this industry.
• If we line up the bricks that Bahria Town consumes in a year they will go around the world 5.5 times!
• Largest Private Sector Development in Asia
• Single largest fulfillment house to the yearly national housing needs
• The only housing society in Pakistan with standardized international infrastructure standards
• The first ever housing project in Pakistan with underground provision of utilities and supplies
• The first Company in Pakistan to introduce low cost housing project “Awami Villas” deploying the steel patent pre-fabricated modular structure technology.
• Bahria Town is a self reliant venture which has never sough any government funding for financing its infrastructure and developmental initiatives.
• Bahria Town pays millions of Rupees in direct and indirect taxes. Conducting its business as a progressive corporate member of the society it provides opportunities to many in form of project management and customer driven initiatives.
• The organization provides employment opportunities for over 1,500 local suppliers and creates another 17,000 jobs associated through supply chain network in Lahore and Islamabad.
• 100,000 households are dependent on Bahria Town for their sustenance and development trough direct, indirect and supply chain associated development.
• If the direct indirect employees of Bahria Town are lined up with their arms stretched wide open with the Bahria’s company equipment they will form a line from Lahore to Rawalpindi.
• He is the 9th richest man of Pakistan
• His assets worth $ 800 million.
• He is the first one to drive Bentley car on Pakistani soil
• Bahria Town has been in the forefront during the recent devastating earthquake that struck our nation. Their support and relief teams were among the first few to reach out to the victims
• Bahria Town has been in the forefront during the collapse of Gakhar Plaza Rawalpindi.
• He said that Bahria Town caters to all the segments.. We constructed a lowest cost house for 350000 and maximum for 22 crore.
• He said we people are not sincere with our country. We can pay our debts just by selling 2 sectors of Islamabad to overseas Pakistanis.