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By Syed M. Aslam
Aug 21 - 27, 2000

Mumtaz Shamim takes pride to be a totally-self-made man. Without inheriting 'a single paisa,' securing any bank loan and refusing to do anything with interest he has built up a prestigious auto parts plant Mumtaz Engineering. His company manufactures and supply an array of car and motorcycle parts to the local manufacturers. Mumtaz is a man of many faces and talents. During his academic career he was a member of his school and college Basketball teams and represented Karachi Division to help win many trophies. He has acted in number of Pakistan Television plays including Shama, Tabeer and historical serial Akhri Chattan in which he not only played the role of one of Changez Khan's four son, Jay Be Nouvan, but also worked its technical advisor to help design, manufacture and supply the fighting gears swords, spears, bows and arrows as well as imparting horse riding training to the female cast. Though his initial entry as a singer on the PTV did not fall through as planned despite the recording of a song he made a smooth transition as a TV actor. He is well-versed in the art of Qirat, the rendition of Holy Quran in its Arabic magnificence. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of District Central Karachi and vice chairman of the government-run Rehabilitation Centre for the Handicapped Children which is chaired by DC Central. He was a good motorcyclist having driven the in 'well of death' in circus for the kicks. He is a member of Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers and has participated in many international exhibitions. His foremost love and hobby is collecting exotic birds and animals. His private zoo contains the biggest collection of birds in Asia and houses some of the rarest birds under one-roof anywhere.

PAGE: You take pride in starting from a scratch. How did you accomplish what you've accomplished?

Mumtaz: I started as a street vendor selling Eid cards on the footpath when I was in eight class during Ramadan in 1966. An investment of 5 annas a little over quarter of rupee then let me earn a Rs 25 profit during the fifteen days that year. I continued the work for many successive Ramadans and changed over to sell children's garments and chappals still as a street vendor later. I still remember those early struggling days of carrying 40 kilogram weight on my shoulders. After completing my Bachelors of Commerce in 1972 I got involved full-time in manufacture of two-and four-wheeler spare parts.

PAGE: What do you attribute your success to?

Mumtaz: I attribute it to the prayers of my parents and on the years of hard work that I've put in. I've never been ashamed to do any work no matter how lowly it may have appeared to others as long as it helped me earn an honest living. I have been associated with the auto industry for last 32 years and have designed over 1,200 plus sheet metal, rubber and plastic parts for the two-and four-wheelers including many precision-engineered parts not alone by my company in the country. I am the only parts manufacturer to receive the Best Performance award from Honda company twice.

PAGE: You have an immense fascination for birds and animals. Will you brief us about your private zoo?

Mumtaz: I have converted the half of my two-acre plot in F.B. Industrial area to construct a purpose-built premises to house 5,000 plus birds and a number of animals. The bird collection, which has taken me some 25 years to acquire, include 1,000 plus pairs of such exotic parrot variety as the biggest king of parrot kingdom Macaw- Amazons, cockatoos, parakeets, African gray parrots, ringnecks, alexandrines and a huge variety of talking parrots. It also houses a large variety of thousands of Indonesian Java sparrows, budgerigars, doves, love birds, white and green pigeons, finch and varieties of ducks, cranes, swans, peacocks, partridges, pheasants, flamingoes, 14 deer of 3 varieties, miniature berber goats. It also contains three breeds of dogs Great Dane, Poodle, and the vicious wild dog Rotweiller. There are eleven workers and a resident veterinarian to ensure proper feeding, care and protection of the birds and animals.

PAGE: Are you also breeding the birds?

Mumtaz: Yes. Not only we are breeding all the varieties of birds and animals but I am also supplying them to numerous exporters of exotic birds. Pakistan offers an ideal climate for the bird breeding. According to moderate estimates Rs 70-100 million of live birds are exported from the country each year. Commercial breeding of such birds as Java sparrows, cockatoos, doves, and finch offers immense potential for self-employment in the country as there is a great demand for them locally and unlike other businesses it does not require huge investment initially. A Rs 25,000 investment can help earn a monthly remuneration of Rs 3,000 within four months and much more later as these birds breed very quickly. There is immense potential for bird exports provided it gets the governmental support and removal of all sorts of obstacles.

PAGE: What's your message to PAGE readers?

Mumtaz: There is no shame or remorse in doing any kind of work and without struggle and hard work success never comes.