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"Chenab is my identity", Zaheer




Special Report

Excerpts from an interview with Zaheer A. Saleemi of Chenab Group

Nov 06 - 12, 2000

Zaheer Saleemi, a Virgo born in 1945, is the only son of a leading hockey player Chacha Hameed a contemporary of world renowned hockey player, Dehaan Chand. He got his basic schooling at AMC School and Muslim High School at Lahore. After graduation from Government College, Multan, Saleemi, did his M. A. in Political Science in 1966. He has a diversified working experience which include service at United Bank, Tarbella dam project, a pharmaceutical company, Pakistan Railways, Rina Television Company and National Language Authority. Since 1991, he is working for Chenab Group. At present he has a dual charge as Manager Co-Ordination at Chenab Limited and Retail Manager at ChenOne. His other hobby is compering at TV and Radio programmes.

"My job at Chenab and ChenOne is also the biggest entertainment for me. While working with my team members as well as dealing with customers at ChenOne, I get a chance to speak to people belonging to various thoughts and watch realities of life very closely. I face each challenge and/or problem with a smile. I strongly believe that needs of a person change with the passage of time but values do not change. I always say that gold remains gold. The strong belief in values is one of the pillars of my character where glitter cannot attract me." This is the whole philosophy of Saleemi.

One tend to get the confirmation of his strong belief from is appearance and way of talking a unique voice. The passing time has not left any scars. Despite, more than 55, he looks much younger and says, "Age has not attacked me the way it treats many others". The secret is face the world with a smile. This has helped him in winning friends. He is a friend of friends. His best friends are his wife and two daughters. When he goes home back, after long and tiring hours of work, he forgets every thing.

His other hobby is watching the behaviour of human beings. He has worked as 'oiler' on a ship only to know more about people and their behaviour. His current involvement with Chenab include co-ordination and public relations. He says, "Over the years I have developed an insight whereby I am able to read face and win friends. This has helped me in understanding my employers better, to develop a good team of those who are usually termed as subordinates and to understand the customers visiting ChenOne outlets".

Co-ordination and public relations has helped me in developing certain hypothesis and then test them. These are: a) the beauty of joint family system is that it helps in understanding others, b) the current uncertainties and hypertension is forcing people to revert back to joint family system, c) money is a need but one gets the real satisfaction from his acts and d) God creates opportunities but only when one is able to communicate with Him. Though, in reality I may not be termed as a person who leads his life completely in conformity with Islamic conjunctions, I consider God my ultimate refuge. As I said earlier, my wife and daughters are best friend, I would also like to add that my wife is very sensible, she never looses her temper and her advice is always prudent. I always thank God for the blessing.

The close observation has also helped Saleemi in writing. His first book "Chup Ki Roshan Fateh' was published in 1979. At present he is busy in writing his second book 'Khurdray Lafzoon Ki Musafat". Very few people know about this facet of the life of Saleemi. He believes that the landscape of 'Afsana' comprise of land, social setup, politics and Zat Ka Dukh and his writing is greatly influenced by his personal experiences. "My writing has enabled me to express myself in a straight forward manner in the least number of words. This also helps me in negotiations with a customer."

However, my first effort, as well as the efforts of our whole team, is to understand what are his/her needs as a customer. At ChenOne, if I am allowed to say, we are often able to meet the needs as well as fulfil the wishes. Any customer who walks into the store wants to buy the best possible product and to spend the least also. My team helps him/her to make the best selection. This understanding brings in the repeated sales. It may not be wrong to say that now ChenOne has become a household name.