Pakistani Businessman Given French Medal
Government of France on Friday conferred one of its most prestigious medals, CHEVALIER DE L’ORDRE NATIONAL DU MERITE, upon Shabir Ahmed, a pioneer in establishing Islamabad’s business cooperation with Paris. Ahmed is the patron-in-chief and former chairman of Pakistan Bedwear Exporters Association which, French Ambassador Martine Durance said, significantly contributed in taking Pakistan’s bedwear exports beyond $2 billion threshold.
“Candidly, you are considered as a benchmark for the trade relationship between France and Pakistan and I can assure you that my country cherishes such collaborative arrangements and considers it as a role model for close and growing ties with Pakistan,” the French envoy told Ahmed while speaking at a gathering here on Friday.
With Consul General of France in Karachi Francois Dall’Orso also in attendance, the Ambassador said Ahmed was Pakistan’s leading textile exporter having undertaken, probably, the first equity partnership with a French company, Duquennoy Et Lepers Chereng.
Duquennoy, a well-established French producer and distributor of textile products, had entered into a joint venture with Ahmed’s firm in 2001. “This joint venture, first of its kind in Pakistan, has worked to the mutual advantage of both companies,” the ambassador said, adding her country had now become the principal destination of its exports and by doing so provided the much-needed foreign currency to Pakistan.
“Dear Shabir for all these reasons you fully deserved the gratefulness of the French Republic,” said the envoy. Standing humbled, Ahmed expressed his gratitude toward the Government of France for the honour bestowed upon him. “In honouring a humble citizen of Pakistan, France has honoured Pakistan,” he said.
Dwelling at length on his decades-long business journey and the upheavals therein, the exporter termed his partnership with Duquennoy Et Lepers as a model partnership which was based on mutual trust. “I hope has been as rewarding to them as it has been to me. The partnership has grown into friendship, Ahmed said. Pakistan was a true land of opportunity for all those, he said, who were sincere and believed in hard work.
Mian Muhammad Abdullah Sahib, Bashir Ali Mohammad, Shahzad Saleem, Captain Haleem Siddiqui, TDAP Chairman SM Munir, Pervez of Feroze Textiles, former law minister Khalid Anwar, Chairman Wapda Zafar Mehmood, Siraj Qasim Teli of PepsiCola, two Nasim Qureshis, Commercial Counselor in Germany Yunis Khan and Mirza Qamar Beg were the friends and fellow businessmen who, Ahmed said, had guided him to success. “I would also like to thank Consul General Francois and my dear friend Eric Noitakis who will be leaving Pakistan soon,” the businessman said.

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