INTERVIEW: RAJA IRFAN ULLAH, GM PEARL CONTINENTAL RAWALPINDI

TAHIR KHAN
Apr 28 - May 11, 2008

1. Tell us about yourself and your experiences and hobbies?

Born in Quetta where my parents were stationed at the time. Initial Schooling was done at Grammar School Quetta, Followed by a stint at the Lasalle at Multan, and the Divisional Public School Model Town Lahore. Graduated From the FC College in Lahore and did my Masters in English literature from the Punjab University as a private candidate. Joined the Inter-Continental Hotels in 1979, and continued with them till their transition to the current Pearl Continental Hotels in 1985. Left the Country in 1988 after leasing a 100 room property in Nepal. Branched out into the Travel and Rent-a-Car segments too, and worked as consultant in the Far East. Returned to Pakistan in 1998 and re-joined the Pearl Continental Hotels. Have so far worked in Lahore, Karachi, Bhurban, Peshawar and Rawalpindi.

Favorite Hobbies have been trekking into the splendor that is the Breathtaking Northern Areas of Pakistan. Thinking about them brings very fond memories and saddens the heart too when I hear that it is no longer safe to travel.

2. Your role in the Hashoo Group and what prompted you to join this group?

Since I played a major part in the transition from the Inter-Continental Hotels to that of the Pearl Continental or the Hashoo group, I have personally grown with the Company, and strive to take care of its interest as my very own. This is emphasized by the fact that I have been in a top slot in a very important station for the past 5 years.

3. Where will you place PC Rawalpindi?

The Pearl Continental Rawalpindi after the extensive renovations in progress will be second to none. Add to this the fact that we have a reputation of being a very "Warm" hotel make us one of a kinds.

4. What big difference do you feel while comparing your past experience and the current one?

This is a very fast paced environment, and you just cannot afford to slow down and risk someone else overtake you. My experiences outside Pakistan where this progress had reached a few years earlier, has really helped me to cope and deal with the current pressures.

5. Has there been any noteworthy step-forward by your hotel on account of your joining; where do you see PC Pindi from now onwards? (kindly write more about wi fi and hi fi- the facilities that you are giving to the guests)

We have been in the process of Renovation for the past 4 years, and this involves millions that were spent on the upkeep of services and adding new modern facilities like Wi-fi facilities in the Hotel premises, a brand new well equipped business centre, A brand new kitchen, a 11000square foot pillar less "Marquee" New Renovated Guest rooms with an E-floor, and 42 inch plasma Tvís in every room to mention a few.

6. What factors affect the economic development of a country; would you like to comment on Pakistan's economic output especially with regards to telecom sector?

Telecom will always play a major role in the development of a worthy infrastructure in any developing Nation. Likewise Pakistan has benifitted tremendously with the recent telecom boom.

7. Pakistan is known for encountering uncertain situations, be it war against terrorism, political instability, law and order situation or sectarian violence, what remedial measures would you like to prescribe for Pakistan?

Unity, Faith, Discipline.

8. Are conditions conducive in Pakistan for foreign investment?

If China and India can do it we are much smaller package and more easy to maintain. In ROI terms we are still one of the best to invest in.

9. 2007 has been declared "Year of Tourism" by the Government of Pakistan, would like to comment on destinations in Pakistan and was the timing appropriate for this declaration?

Unfortunatly the timing was way off. The See Pakistan year turned into Major allied Countries advising their citizen against travelling to Pakistan.

10. Any words of wisdom for the readers?

Believe in what you do, and Do what you believe in !!!