OBITUARY: Renowned industrialist and former PIA chairman Muhammad Azam Saigol to be laid to rest today

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The funeral prayers of Pakistan’s leading industrialist Muhammad Azam Saigol, who passed away on Wednesday night in Boston during an operation, will be held in Lahore today.

According to his secretary, Saigol family is traveling to Pakistan from the US and will reach the country by late Friday evening.  The Namaz-e-Janaza will be held at 4:30pm on Saturday at his residence on Ghalib Road in Gulberg III Lahore.

“He will be laid to rest at the graveyard on Gurumangat Road and his Qul will be held at his residence on Sunday between Asr and Maghrib,” he said. 

Saigol breathed his last on Wednesday while undergoing medical treatment in Boston, United States.

Born on Nov 17, 1951, he was the youngest of eight siblings — the children of Mian Yousuf Saigol, one of Pakistan’s pioneering businessmen, and founder of the Saigol/Kohinoor textile and business empire.

Azam Saigol received his schooling at Aitchison College in Lahore, after which he graduated from Government College in the same city and thereafter proceeded to the University of Oxford in the UK where, like two of his brothers, he was admitted to Brasenose College. He completed his Bachelor’s in economics and economic history.

Being a scion of the Saigol family meant that he was heir to the legacy of his father, one of the pioneer industrialists of the country. The family had initially been settled in and doing business in Calcutta, moving to Pakistan just before Partition. Here, they set up the first and one of the largest textile mills at Faisalabad, then Lyallpur. These, the Kohinoor Textile Mills, eventually became the largest manufacturers and exporters of textile in the country.

In the early ’60s, the Saigol Group diversified and in a short time established itself in the manufacture of basic chemicals (Kala Shah Kaku Chemical Complex), insecticides, polyester fibre, several other related fields, and banking. United Bank Limited, founded and owned by the Saigol family, is now one of the largest banks in Pakistan.

In the early ’90s, the Saigol family had founded and owned Union Bank Limited and Union Leasing Limited. The Saigol group has provided technical and management services for textile to the governments of Libya, Somalia, and Tanzania as well.

Saigol started his business career in Lahore with his family’s Kohinoor Group and spent most of his life in Pakistan, managing the family’s textile, electrical and property businesses. He served the Kohinoor enterprises in various capacities — as executive director (ED) and chief executive officer (CEO), and as ED and CEO of Saritow Spinning Mills Ltd, besides serving as a non-executive director of Pak Elektron Ltd.

In May 2016, he became the chairman of Pakistan International Airlines, a post he held till the end of that year.

Azam Saigol was highly respected for his integrity and personable manner, and his commitment led to a number of honorary appointments on government boards. A keen sportsman, he represented Oxford in polo during his time at the university, carrying the interest on to be involved in the promotion and development of this sport in Pakistan.

He is survived by his devoted wife, Amber Haroon Saigol, two sons and two daughters.

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Mediabites Editorial – Shoaib Naqvi (Courtesy: Daily Dawn)

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