Karachi: Legendary Hero of Pakistan Seth Abid has died at age of 85 years. A great Pakistani Nationalist, who had helped to make it sure to construct an atom bomb, when the whole World had imposed restriction on Pakistan to import machinery used in atomic reactor.
Seth Abid was ill due to a paralysis attack, Seth Abid’s funeral prayers will be offered on Saturday 9 January 2021 after Asr prayers at Hafiz Ayaz Mosque Phase II, Karachi Defense. Family Sources
When in 1974 India conducted the nuclear tests, the then Pakistan’s Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto promised to build an atomic bomb for Pakistan at all cost. After the nuclear tests of India, World had imposed heavy military and nuclear embargoes on Pakistan to import all types of machinery that may help to build an atomic reactor. In these circumstances, it seems impossible for Pakistan to construct an atom bomb.
In this situation, Pakistan had only one option to approach the International Black Market for centrifugal designs and materials. In these difficult circumstances, Pakistan was fortunate to have a patriotic businessman like Seth Abid. Which set out to make his country a nuclear power despite sanctions imposed by the world. He risked his life to smuggle centrifugal equipment for nuclear reactors from different parts of the world to Pakistan.
Seth Abid was also known as the ‘Gold King’ in Pakistan and was considered one of the richest people in the world. He moved to Karachi in 1950 when his father started a gold and silver business in Karachi’s Sarafa Bazaar. After meeting some fishermen who used to smuggle gold from Dubai to Karachi, Seth Abid stepped into the world of gold smuggling.
Short Life History of Seth Abid Hussain
Seth Abid was born in Kasur. His father was a well-known businessman in Karachi. In his friends, he was also known as Seth SMTH.
By the end of the 1950s, he had established a monopoly on gold smuggling in Pakistan with Qasim Bhatti, a fisherman. Qasim Bhatti was the one who has gifted gold necklaces to President Sikandar Mirza and his wife Nahid Mirza in the famous Fidrox cafeteria in Karachi.
With interim contacts in London, Delhi, and Dubai, Seth Abid ended India’s monopoly on gold smuggling from 1950 to 1980.
Seth Abid had acquired all these abilities by the late 1950s, when his smuggling system had attracted the attention of agents in London, Delhi, and Karachi, and had spread to the Punjab border between Pakistan and India.
Initially, the system consisted of a network of close relatives. His brother, Haji Ashraf, who was fluent in Arabic, lived in Dubai, while his son-in-law, Ghulam Sarwar, frequently visit Delhi and met gold smuggler Harbans Lal.
Seth Abid’s name first appeared in the Indian press when the Times of India reported in 1963 that Pakistan’s ‘Gold King’ had ‘connections’ in India, while his brother-in-law was arrested in Delhi with 44 gold bricks.
Charles Maloney, who works for British Airways, was Seth Abid’s “facilitator” in the UK. Seth Abid also went on Hajj every year and at the same time improved his relations with Arab Sheikh operators.
As his smuggling business expanded, he gave gold smuggling franchises to some agents living in villages in the border areas of Punjab, mainly from the Gharki Dayal and Awan communities.
Seth Abid had dozens of rivals but no one had the same skills, connections, and capital. Unlike many of his rivals, Seth has never been charged during his long career, although several FIRs have been registered against him.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Seth Abid’s smuggling business flourished around the world. With heavy investments and a large number of assets in Lahore, Karachi, Dubai, and London, making him one of Pakistan’s richest man
Foreign currency rending was his second major business after the gold۔
Seth Abid’s extensive smuggling operations in the 1970s were hampered by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s rule and some of his assets were seized.
In 1974 an unexpected incident happened. A large police raid on Seth Abid’s residence in Lahore City found Pakistani currency worth about Rs 12.5 million. In addition, 4 million worth of gold and 2 million worth of Swiss watches were seized. In the raid, Lahore police also seized three vehicles and a dozen horses used for transporting illegal goods.
The next day, newspapers headlined the news as: ‘The biggest smuggling case in Pakistan’s history’ and ‘Pakistan’s Gold King’, Seth Abid was accused of being involved in global smuggling operations.
Prime Minister Bhutto set up a special tribunal for the Seth Abid International Smuggling Case. The tribunal recorded the statements of dozens of witnesses while Seth Abid did not appear before the tribunal despite several warnings.
The issue of Seth’s arrest not only became part of the daily conversation of Pakistanis but also became a test case of the state writ for the Bhutto government.
The largest search operation in the country’s history was launched in Pakistan to search for the ‘most wanted person’, in which raids teams of Pakistan Army, Police, Rangers, and Naval Guard were formed.
Seth Abid’s residence in Karachi was also raided and a large quantity of foreign currency and gold bricks were recovered. In 1977, when the Karachi Coast Guard was informed that Seth Abid was coming to visit his ‘girlfriend’ in North Nazimabad, a raid was also carried out there but before that Seth Abid had fled from there.
In September 1977, Seth Abid voluntarily surrendered to Zia’s military government “voluntarily” and negotiated the return of his confiscated assets.
In December 1977, the military government press reported that Seth had given Lt. Gen. Jahanzeb Arbab a large grant of Rs. 151,000 for the construction project of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center Hospital (JPMC) and the burn ward of Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
Seth was no longer a business criminal but a determined “patriot” who was generously donating for the good of the state and society.
His fame was further enhanced when his name appeared in the country’s ‘nuclear program‘.
The Seth Abid International Trafficking Case was debated in the Parliament of Pakistan in 1985-86 and was later taken up by the Special Committee of the National Assembly (SCNA) headed by Chaudhry Nisar Ali. In 1986, the Pakistan Central Board of Revenue authorized the return of 3,100 tonnes of gold, which had been seized by customs officials from Seth Abid at Karachi Airport in 1958.
An alleged coup attempt planned by Mustafa Khar Former Governor of Punjab and People Party Leader) during his exile during General Zia ul Haq‘s reign was turned down beforehand due to Seth Abid. He had informed the government about the plot of Mustafa Khar. Masood Mahmood, Director General (DG) of the Federal Security Force (FSF) was his brother-in-law (Sala). On the witness of Masood Mahmood, the first elected prime minister of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was awarded a death sentence in 1979.
Although Seth avoided publicity all his life, he still gained fame. His name became nationally famous when he bought the bat used by cricketer Javed Miandad in a Sharjah innings auction for his son during Tariq Aziz TV show ” Neelam Ghar” for five lakh (Rs 500,000).
Seth Abid established the Hamza Foundation for the mentally handicapped in Lahore and hospitals in Kasur where free treatment is provided.
He had full command of Urdu, English, Punjabi and Memoni languages۔
He was generously helped many Welfare Organizations. On May 24, 2019, in a fundraising ceremony for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMT), Prime Minister Imran khan had thanked Seth Abid for his financial help in the project. He is said to have owned one of the largest housing societies in Lahore and also ran some charities.
In the last years of his life, he has spent most of his evenings at the Regent Hotel in Karachi, owned by Ferozuddin Bawija, who was his close friend.
Imran Khan said on Twitter said, “Saddened to learn of the passing of Seth Abid Hussain. He was one of the early donors of SKMT. Condolences and prayers go to his family”
Seth Abid’s funeral prayers were offered on Saturday after Asar prayers in Karachi at Hafiz Ayaz Mosque, Defense Phase II, near his residence. His namaz janaza was attended by his family, relatives, and friends. He was buried at Model Colony Qabristan (Cemetery).
Seth Abid Hussain has three sons and three daughters to mourn his death.
In the Pakistani context, Seth Abid is widely known as a man who helped develop Pakistan’s “nuclear program” and turned it into a smuggler’s urban legend.
On his death, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat and Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi have expressed deep sorrow and grief over the demise of prominent businessman Seth Abid.
Seth Abid WAS A SILENT SOLDIER OF PAKISTAN ATOM BOMB. He was an unsung hero of Pakistan.