An Exclusive Interview with Saleem Hanif, Chairman - Samhan Group of Companies

“Building on its real estate experience, and pursuing its mission of
diversity in business, Samhan Group also has a large contribution
towards CSR activities for the better future of Pakistan.”

BM: Tell us about your successful journey?
SH: I belong to a village in Bannu, KP and come from a very humble background. I acquired my basic education from a government school in my village. Later, I was selected and commissioned in Pakistan Army but I resigned from service in 2006. Following my resignation, I went on to serve different industries. Simultaneously, I established my own business by investing a mere Rs. 750,000. The business evolved to Samhan Group of Companies. The rest of the journey is no secret.

BM: Samhan Group has attained a lot of achievements in a short span of time. What is the basic vision of the Organization?
SH: Samhan Group is my dream enterprise. The vision behind was to establish an overarching business group, having operations in different business sectors. Dispensing of an array of services through the same window will bring greater ease and access to our customers. Building on the present foundation, we aim at extending our business investments to Europe and Africa by Year 2020.

BM: What are the various functions the Samhan Group deals with?
SH: Samhan Group started its operations in 2009 for procurement of defense and logistical equipment. The Group’s defense and logistic equipment procurement agency, ‘Pearl de Gulf’ deals in top of the line defense and logistic gear to keep the armed forces of Pakistan a step ahead in the tactical and modern warfare. Brining diversity to its brand, the Samhan Group ventured into real estate as co venture partner with esteemed organization of PAF on Fazaia Housing Schemes Gujranwala and Sargodha. We then marched into the world of advertising and media production through its media production house ‘Creative Cerebrum’ which provides media solutions from creative to execution. Internally, it researches and manages all media outlets that are required by the group and its umbrella brands. The company is all set to undertake the highest budget feature film venture of Pakistan film industry.  The Group moved on to venture into the fashion industry with its fashion brand ‘House of Samhan’ that is setting newer precedents in sartorial creativity. Since there is a huge potential for more prestigious brands in the country, House of Samhan plans to bring in internationally acclaimed labels and market them locally.

The Group moved on to venture in telecom and IT sector with Samhan Technologies. More recently, building on the success of its real estate projects in Gujranwala and Sargodha, the Group launched its independent real estate brand ‘Samhan Housing’. Under the brand, new residential projects will soon be launched in Attock, Islamabad and Lahore.

BM: What are Samhan Group achievements and role in real estate industry to date?
SH: Samhan Group entered the world of real estate in 2014 with a housing scheme in Gujranwala. After its huge success, the project was replicated in Sargodha in 2015 and became equally successful. Within these schemes, Samhan Group launched an independent low-budget housing scheme ‘Sahman Homes’ catering to the low-income segment. The Group has been putting all its efforts to deliver the best quality, and give possessions to the home owners in the shortest span of time. Building on its real estate experience, and pursuing its mission of diversity in business, Samhan Group has now launched its independent real estate brand ‘Samhan Housing’. The Group, under its new real estate brand, plans to introduce new residential projects in three major metropolises on Pakistan including Attock, Lahore and Islamabad in the near future.

An Exclusive Interview with Saleem Hanif, Chairman - Samhan Group of Companies

BM: What are the Samhan Group’s contributions in CSR and nation building?
SH: Samhan Group has a comprehensive CSR programme in place but it doesn’t publicize it in order to uphold self-esteem of the beneficiaries. Samhan Group doles out hefty donations to widows and single mothers on a regular basis, besides generous contributions to orphanages and child education funds. We believe that charity must begin at home, so we also have employee support programs that offer donations and interest free loans to our employees. Samhan Housing’s product ‘Samhan Homes’, launched within the Gujranwala and Sargodha schemes, caters to the needs of low income group. In order to help the low income tier enjoy the comfort of their own home, we plan to provide homes on 6 years installments and possession is given in 3 years. Seeing the success of the project, we planned to replicate the model in the future projects of Samhan Housing as well. We have decided allowing a fixed quota for widows and Shuhada in these homes. Samhan Group also contributes to the country’s socioeconomic development by promoting entrepreneurship in the country. Acting like a startup accelerator, we encourage youth to come up with innovative business ideas and help their startups get access and scale. Furthermore, Samhan Group sponsors ten scientists or researchers under the ‘AmeenahGuribFukim PhD Scholarship’ scheme to pursue research in Mauritius and Africa. The program will go a long way in establishing gateway between Pakistan and Africa for future collaborations in multiple areas.

BM: What are the necessary things you kept in mind during your previous housing projects? What can we expect from you in the future with regards to upcoming projects?
SH: We had two distinct elements in our minds to stand out from the crowd in the already thriving real estate industry of Pakistan: quality and reliability. We largely invested into upholding these qualities thanks to which our projects are setting precedents for the real estate industry in Pakistan.

As we aim to target all budget segments of Pakistan in the near future, affordability will also be our point of focus. As discussed before, we will be working on projects that fit most budgets and provide quality living to all. Our future projects also include luxury farmhouses and wellness resorts under the brand name ‘La Vida’. It is a new concept which will provide unmatchable lifestyle experience to our Pakistani customers.

BM: Samhan Group has ventured into a lot of areas. What are your plans for the technology or IT sector? What are group plans for business initiatives?
SH: Most recently, Samhan Group has ventured with the brand name of Samhan Technologies into Telecom & IT sctors,  having a combination of highly professional, trained and skilled personnel that come from a vast exposure of telecom giants of Pakistan. Samhan Technologies is indirectly working with Huawei & ZTE and looking forward to collaborate and expand its sphere to a major number of vendors and operators in Pakistan and abroad alike. Samhan Technologies has already established itself in Central and Northern regions of the country and is constantly expanding its operations and project activities swiftly. The Group also works as a startup accelerator supporting digital startups and helping them attain scale and access to market. The digital startups with the potential to provide effective services and solutions can capitalize on Samhan Technologies’ digital expertise to take root and deliver.

BM: Are you planning to introduce new business/products? What are your future plans?
SH: As part of our mission to continuously bring diversity to the Group, we are always on the lookout for new business ventures. In addition to that, we have in-business growth strategy where we continue to expand infrastructure and services within the folds of our existing businesses. Along these lines, the services that Samhan Group offers will continue to build and evolve on their present standing as per the changing global trends. As we have formally launched our independent real estate brand ‘Samhan Housing’, introducing new real estate projects, both residential and commercial, that cater to all budget groups in Pakistan will be our natural course of action. Our upcoming residential projects will be in three major metropolises of Pakistan namely; Attock, Islamabad, and Lahore. In our long-term ambition, we see ourselves as a global conglomerate with its business investments nationwide and internationally.

BM: As a Pakistani what are your views on National growth and business environment?
SH: Pakistan is quickly reclaiming its position as a preferred investment destination in the world. The country is attracting a lot of investment in various sectors. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is our highway to economic prosperity. So, the business environment is super conducive.  I believe that as responsible citizens we support and strengthen the system and contribute as much as possible to the country’s socio-economic progress. One area where we particularly lack and desperately need to improve is taxation. Taxation is the key to economic growth and remedy to most of the issues of the country. Pakistani citizens can make a vital difference by paying their taxes in the first place. It will help the country break its shackles of foreign debts and devise its own economic policies. It will ultimately translate into more amenities and welfare to the layman.

BM: Being a role model, what message would you like to convey to the youth?
SH: Pakistan is blessed to have one of the largest youth bulges in the world. It is the youth that has to steer this country in the future. I advise the youth to ready up for that day when they will have the reins of the country in their hands. They should acquire the knowledge, skill and experience which will enable them to contribute in different aspects to the society. I also encourage them to put relentless efforts into realizing their dreams and show the girt to defy all minor and major hitches. A consistent and relent less endure in the right direction will ultimately guide you to your success. However, I would like to emphasize that no worldly success is complete if you are not a good human being with an empathetic heart. You should have an eye out for your fellow human beings all the time.