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THE HABIBS

THE HABIBS The Habib family came originally from Bombay (Mumbai) The Habibs were principally traders when World War II began and the British started to rely heavily on India for a number of commodities required by their troops The family made good use of this opportunity, as did a number of other established trading houses in Mumbai and Kolkata After the war, Muhammad Ali Habib was persuaded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah to help finance the Muslim League movement for the establishment of an independent Muslim state in British India Habib Bank was started by Muhammad Ali as a part of this effort The Habib family made generous donations to the various funds established by Jinnah for the benefit of his people For instance, the family led the drive to raise money for helping the victims of the communal riots in Bihar, in which thousands of Muslims perished and hundreds of thousands were injured The Habibs migrated to Pakistan after India’s partition and set up their headquarters in Karachi, the new country’s capital Like other trading families, they also moved into manufacturing when Pakistan began to industrialize By the end of the Muhammad Ayub Khan period (1958-1969), the Habibs were counted among the 22 richest families in Pakistan



They paid a heavy price for the attention they received during the movement against Muhammad Ayub Khan when it was alleged that the bulk of the rewards of the rapid growth during his decade of development had been claimed by the “twenty-two families” Most of the industries owned by the Habibs, as well as Habib Bank Limited, were nationalized between 1972 and 1974 by the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Unlike some other industrial families, however, the Habibs did not show much resilience and did not recover from the waves of nationalization that swept Pakistan during the Bhutto period (1971-1977) By the mid-1990s, the family was no longer regarded as a major industrial player in Pakistan Two branches of the family left Pakistan and founded commercial banks, one based in Zurich (Habib Bank AG Zurich), and the other (Habib Sons) based in London Later, both banks acquired banking assets in Pakistan, the former under its own name and the latter under the name of Metropolitan Bank However, when the original Habib Bank was offered for sale by the government in 2004, the Habib family did not participate in the bidding process See also TWENTY-TWO FAMILIES SPEECH

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