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Mahomedali Habib

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Mahomedali Habib

May 22 - 28, 2000

Philanthropist, Freedom Fighter and a Confidant of the Quaid

Mahomedali Habib was born in Bombay on 15th May 1904. On his 96th birth anniversary, the Government of Pakistan has issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honour.

Mahomedali Habib, the pioneer of Muslim banking was a man of exceptional quality of leadership and vision. He was not only Financial Advisor to Quaid-e-Azam but also one of the leading figures of the Pakistan movement.

Soon after the declaration demanding an independent Pakistan at Lahore in 1940, Mahomedali Habib with the full support of his brothers, particularly Dawood Habib, upgraded the family's merchant banking practice into full-fledged commercial banking in August 1941. The family called it Habib Bank Limited in memory of their father, and founder of the House of Habib, Mr. Habib Esmail.

The Habib family transferred the Bank's Head Office to Karachi in 1947 just before the creation of Pakistan. Habib Bank was to play a pivotal role in providing the basic banking and financial needs in building the economy of the new country. The bank almost immediately began setting up a network of branches in East and West Pakistan to help keep the goods and machinery of the industries moving. It also look up the first ever issue of Government security in full made by the Government of Pakistan.

The trustworthiness and reputation of the Habibs prompted the Government to appoint Habib Bank to undertake the Government's treasury functions. Mahomedali Habib turned down this very lucrative and prestigious offer in the best interest of the country. Instead he whole-heartedly participated in the formation of the State Bank of Pakistan and also National Bank of Pakistan transferring experienced staff from Habib Bank to run it.

August 1966 saw the 25th anniversary of Habib Bank Ltd. and in recognition of its services to the government and people of Pakistan, the government issued a special postage stamp to commemorate Habib Bank's silver jubilee.

Mahomedali Habib rendered numerous meritorious services to Pakistan. He is best remembered for the blank cheque he presented to the Quaid to meet the newly established state's financial obligations in the wake of partition, when Pakistan's treasury was empty. This loan given in hundreds of millions was interest free.

This legend of a man during his short life created one of the finest family business empire covering banking, Insurance, shipping, trading and numerous industries. In social welfare, his involvement was so wide that hardly any conceivable social activity escaped his attention. He established numerous benevolent trusts for education, hospitals, orphanages, mosques, medical relief as well as housing for the poor and trusts for food and clothing etc.

He was deeply religious and a devout Muslim. He compiled translation of the Holy Quran with footnotes and other religious literatures which he published under his pen-name M. H. Shakir.

Mr. Mahomedali Habib passed away on March 30, 1959 (Ramadan 20, 1379 Hijri) at the age of 55. B