"Chenab is my identity", Zaheer
Excerpts from an interview with Zaheer A. Saleemi
of Chenab Group
By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
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
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.