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KARACHI: Siraj Kassam Teli, chairman of the Businessmen Group and a former president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), passed away in Dubai on Tuesday due to a cardiac arrest. Siraj Kassam Teli was a distinguished industrialist with eminent qualities of leadership.

He belonged to a renowned family that had been active in business since the inception of Pakistan. Siraj Teli's valuable family background had been a great source of strength in enabling him to conduct his life ethically and successfully.

As the chairman of the Businessmen Group, Siraj Teli was recognized for the extraordinary leadership he provided to the business and industrial community over the last 25 years. He brought about revolutionary and progressive changes in trade politics and in the functioning of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the SITE Association of Industry and other platforms of public service and social work.

Siraj Kassam Teli also served as director of the Pakistan Beverage Limited (Pepsi-Cola) Karachi, Hyderabad and Quetta. Apart from the beverage sector, he had had considerable experience in textiles, dairy products and energy. He was also a director of Gul Ahmed Energy Limited, Metro Power Company, Yassir Fruit Juice, Haji Kassam Haji Mohammad & Co. and Pakola Products (Pvt) Limited.

Siraj Teli had been conferred upon the "Sitara-e-Imtiaz" by the then President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, to recognize his outstanding contribution to the national economy and public service.

Siraj Teli's services to the private sector, his efforts for industrial development and his endeavour for the unity of the nation in general and the business and industrial community in particular, his aggressive and creative plans to boost export and his contribution to the economic development of the country were so credible and commendable feats that he had also been conferred with an honorary doctorate (honoris causa) degree by the faculty of management and social sciences of the Institute of Business & Technology (BIZTEK).

Siraj served on the boards of many government and semi-government organizations as a representative of the business community. These included SITE Limited, Land Utilization, Port Qasim Authority, Civil Aviation Authority, Sindh Workers Welfare Board, Workers Welfare Fund, KESC and many educational institutions. He was also serving as member of the Board of Trustees of the Karachi Port Trust.

He and his family made discreet contributions to many philanthropic causes. Besides serving as the president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Siraj Teli also served as the chairman of the Pakistan Beverage Manufacturers Association and patron-in-chief and chairman of the SITE Association of Industry.

Siraj Kassam Teli's unrelenting, sincere and honest efforts had changed the outlook of trade politics. As a result, now only the genuine stakeholders are seen taking part in the affairs of the KCCI.

His leadership had been instrumental in changing the mindset of the business community in such a manner that the chamber now looks after the general interest of Karachi as a whole and without any discrimination of caste, colour or creed.

Siraj Kassam Teli's services to the private sector, his efforts for industrial development, his endeavours for the unity of the nation in general and business and industrial community in particular and his contribution to the economic development of the country were, indeed, commendable achievements which will always be remembered.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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