Member limit of 100 reached; participants to discuss national policy-related issues
Some of the leading businessmen, CEOs and key decision makers in Pakistan have come together in an exclusive club to discuss and argue national policy matters and corporate issues. The medium of communication is popular instant messaging application WhatsApp.
The Club 100-Senior Executives Network was formally launched on Saturday with a few speeches and a dinner at a local hotel where bigwigs including business tycoon Arif Habib, Dawood Hercules’s Samad Dawood and A. F. Ferguson’s Shabbar Zaidi were also present.
Such has been the interest of executives that the club’s WhatsApp group has already reached the maximum limit of 100 members since it was created three months ago.
Now the organisers are in the process of developing a specific Android phone application to let in more members.
The brain behind the initiative is 37-year-old Zeshan Afzal, head of Strategic Investments at Arif Habib Corporation.
“This platform is not for networking or pursuing self-interests,” he said. “These are some of the best minds in the country. So much could be gained from their experience. So they are talking about agriculture, education and health.”
Subgroups have already been formed on pressing issues of difficult tax reforms and need for a Lahore-like mass transit system in Karachi, he said.
Members have also committed to contribute Rs12 million for Dr Gaffar Billoo’s non-profit organization HANDS.
“We have executives from some of the largest businesses and financial institutions, which can do so much together. Look at what Malik Riaz did. He built one of the best underpasses on his own. Why can’t others do the same?”
But doesn’t a club where executives and even government officials like Zubair can discuss issues in real-time threaten to undermine business lobbies like Pakistan Business Council?
Afzal doesn’t agree. “PBC and other chambers will continue to do what they are doing. What we have done is given access to 100 CEOs at the same time and that’s unprecedented.”
The group also functions under strict guidelines. Jokes, music videos, pictures, views on religion, politics and anything personal are strictly prohibited.
Naz Khan, the chief financial officer at Engro Corp, is the only female member. The group plans to include more.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2015.
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