Hoor Asrar pays tribute to an exceptional entrepreneur
Byram Dinshaw Avari was one of those rare individuals who succeeded in any venture they set their minds to. Passing away of Byram Avari was a very lively individual with an interest in fields of activity and was very visible on the social scene.He was also known for his philanthropy and was particularly interested in educational affairs. He was an entrepreneur par excellence who cared out a niche for himself in the hospitality industry and extended his business ventures widely. He brought his sons into his business and trained them to manage their vast business activities. He also had the privilege of serving as honourary consul general of Canada since 1985 and was instrumental in dealing with child kidnappings, forced marriages and divorce actions along with furthering mutual commercial and trade matters.
Byram Avari arrived on Pakistani national scene when he won Gold Medal for enterprise-class yachting in two Asian Games. The first gold medal he won in Asian Games held in Bangkok in 1978 along with Munir Sadiq and then repeated this feat in Asian Games held in New Delhi in 1982 along with his wife Goshpi Avari. These victories came as a big surprise for Pakistan opening up a new chapter in Pakistan’s sports history as the country went on to dominate in that class for no less than 16 years before losing the title at the Hiroshima Asian Games in 1994. Very interestingly, the duo entered the competition on its own, as in those days sailing was not officially recognised, therefore, the pair was not sponsored by the government and had to foot their own bill. Byram Avari was awarded with the Pride of Performance Award for sports in 1982.
Byram Avari joined his father’s hospitality business that was initiated by Avari family in 1944 with Bristol Hotel, followed in 1948 by Beach Luxury Hotel that was to become the flagship hotel. He along with his sons owned and operated the Avari Group of Companies with the group owning and operating Avari hotels including a five-star deluxe hotel in Lahore, five-star Avari Towers and seafront Beach Luxury Hotel in Karachi. The group is also known to be actively pursuing opportunities for owning and managing three- and four-star properties elsewhere in Pakistan. The Avari Group was the first Pakistani company to have obtained international hotel management contracts. As of now, they operate the 200-room four- star hotel in Dubai, and manage the 200-room Ramada Inn in Toronto at Pearson Airport in Canada.
Byram Avari always pursued welfare-oriented policies in all his business ventures and refused to lay off workers in the worst economic situations. The key motivation for Byram and his family members was economic benefit though their meaning of the word benefit did not only mean monetary gain but respect, recognition, standing in society, level of reputation and acknowledgement. Keeping in view his intention Byram Avari ’s motto was “we have to give back to the society and our Zoroastrian community of Karachi”.
Byram Avari was also politically active as the minority representative in the National Assembly from 1988 to 1993 and his constituency spanned from the Kalash tribe in Chitral to Sikhs of Punjab to the Bahai’s of Thatta and the Zoroastrians of Karachi. During both of elections he was elected with a double majority count over the next contestant. During his tenure as public representative he arranged sanitation and drinking water for the Bahai community of Thatta, opening of the Sikh gurdwaras in Nankana Sahib and Panja Sahib as well as maintaining English language medium at two Parsi Schools and the Karachi Parsi Anjuman Trust Fund (KPATF). Byram Avari also served as vice president of the Dastur Doctor Dhalla Memorial Institute Karachi in 1982 and became chairman Parsi New Year Celebration Committee in 1988. Later in 1990, Avari became vice-chairman of the Karachi Parsi Anjuman Trust Fund and president of the Jehangir Peerozshah Dubash Health Culture Institute in 1989. TW