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Lahore-born entrepreneur among US richest people

Published Sep 22, 2012 03:09am


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Shahid Khan – File photo by AP
Shahid Khan – File photo by AP

LAHORE, Sept 21: Born into a middle class family of Lahore in 1950, today Shahid Khan, now a US national, stands among Forbes’ 2012 list of America’s billionaires. Now he lives in Southwest Florida’s posh beach town of Naples.

Mr Khan owns auto parts supplier Flex-N-Gate and the Jacksonville Jaguars. He ranks 179th on the 2012 Forbes 400 with an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion.

Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates remains the richest man in the US by far, as the tech and philanthropy giant took the top spot on the Forbes 400 list for the 19th year running, with a net worth of $66 billion.

Though not much information is available about Mr Khan’s life and education in Lahore, according to Forbes magazine his family was in construction business in Lahore when he moved to the United States at the age of 16 to study at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

About his early days in the US, the magazine quoted Mr khan as saying that he spent his first night in a $2 per night room at the Champaign YMCA. His first job in the US was washing dishes for $1.20 an hour. He graduated from the UIUC School of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering with a BSc in 1971.

He proved to be a successful entrepreneur when after his university education, Mr Khan invented a new truck bumper design that shaved weight off for fuel efficiency considerations. He never looked back and soon built his company with his $16,000 saving and a bank loan. Soon he developed the company into a $3.4 billion manufacturing juggernaut that supplied the biggest automakers in the world.

Nine months ago, he bought the Jaguars, fulfilling a longtime dream to own an NFL franchise.

Now, Mr Khan is focusing on giving back to his adopted country. He donated $10 million in 2011 to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Back in Lahore, a very few people are aware of Mr Khan’s place on the Forbes list of the 400 billionaires.

“I only know that he is a Pakistani and he has purchased a football team in the US,” said Fawad Asghar, a sports journalist.

According to Muhammad Imran, a business graduate, Mr Khan is a perfect example of brain drain for Pakistanis, and a proof of American dream. He said Mr Khan was giving back to the Americans since the US gave him a lot.

“Pakistan offers opportunities to a few; scores of intelligent people with potential entrepreneur skills on Lahore streets can make to the Forbes list if they are given a chance,” he said.

“Well done, Shahid Khan,” said Shahid Bhatti, also an auto parts dealer on Guru Mangat Road.

He said though he too wanted to manufacture fuel efficient bumpers, the big companies and his financial constraints would never let him fulfill his dream.

“That’s why I am just called Sheeda. I need a chance to be Shahid Khan,” he said.


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Comments (103) Closed

Syed Shah Sep 23, 2012 07:53pm
You have made us Muslims proud. If there are no land lords Pakistan will also be like US - all free, free to make good laws, free to educate themselves, free to give themselves law and order, free to have free entrepreneurship and go as high as one can. Give us law and order we will make Pakistan, America.
masroor durrani Sep 23, 2012 08:14am
I am proud of Shahid Khan as an individual first than any thing, He focused on education first and then he looked for his livelihood. He is not ashamed of patty jobs he did, Actually here he thought the ways to go on. He honestly and devotedly worked on what he had in his mind.and unpolluted environments ( where there are no obstacles, hurdles, no bhatta, things go smoothly and equally and law prevails) helped him succeed and flourish. I am proud of him that he succeeded.He is not a person born with silver spoon or from vaderas/sardars/chowdhries like people. Alas can we see it in our Pakistan. Can there be any Shahid Khan in Pakistan Masroor Durrani
junaid Sep 23, 2012 08:29am
You Sir are a Hindu Indian spreading propaganda. I am a successful Pakistani businessperson worth over 20 millions dollars, love my adopted country of US and proud of my Pakistani heritage. I have employed 50 people and they all know very well the difference between Indians and Pakistanis. Muslims of subcontinent were and still are a Marshall race of this region and anyone from Muslim and Pakistani heritage has a sense of pride which is imposing on their Hindu counterparts. It is an actual factual statement not just some boasting argument. I have my hindu friends that look for Pakistani only restaurants and other cultural niceties in this beautiful country of US.
Aamir Sep 23, 2012 09:01am
We are proud of you. Stay in US dude. This is no place to come back you. This nation does not deserve you.
Capt C M Khan Sep 23, 2012 08:56am
I am an ex pat Pakistani living abroad now for 15 years. I am never ashamed of my country and my roots. In fact I am an unoffical Ambassador of Pakistan and always willing to defend the negative image of Pakistan no matter who the opposition is.
Syed Sep 23, 2012 08:44pm
As if Hindus never migrated out of India.
Arshad Sep 22, 2012 10:47pm
If you would have been among Forbes richest list, you wouldn't dare to call yourself Pakistani or invest in Pakistan. Right from the upper level to the grass root every one would be after your money
Taimoor Sep 22, 2012 05:45pm
Saad its sad to read what you wrote. When you forget your roots you forget yourself Shahid Khan being a perfect example.
sf Sep 22, 2012 11:55pm
Yes, why do we get religion involved in every thing we achieve or donot achieve?
sf Sep 23, 2012 12:02am
May be he is a non beliver as some Pakistanis say they are in foreign countries. Who knows?
Indusonian Sep 22, 2012 10:31pm
It doesn't matter what his religion is, some commentators are excited because not many good news are in circulation related to Pakistan unfortunately these days. He is very good role model for Pakistanis both in Pakistan and abroad in my opinion based on this huge achievement.
asim Sep 23, 2012 05:46am
If you have more information than Mr Hanif, please share with us!
Nasir Sep 23, 2012 05:06am
I agree with you Saad..I'm embarrassed to be called Pakistani. There is nothing to be proud of is a failed state where mullah raj rules the streets. I'm proud of being ashamed from the land of pure. By the way I live in Lahore and will love to leave this country in a heartbeat to a place where my character and hardwork defines me not my religion.
Ali Vaqar Awan Sep 23, 2012 06:34am
Shahid Khan worked very hard to become billionaire and reach this level. It was years and years of effort to get to this level. Its unfair to be jealous of him. It feels great some one from Pakistani origin able to make a giant leap. He is taking right to step to pay back to his adopted country as it gave him the oppurtunity to succeed. However, sadly in Pakistan any one who works hard never gets rewarded and it forces many of talented people to go abroad.
Gaurav Sep 23, 2012 05:50pm
And you Pakistanis burn US Flag when US has nothing to do with blasphemous video. Shame on you
Bharat Sep 23, 2012 07:48am
You should say that you are a proud Pakistani. How else will the foreigners start viewing Pakistan differently ? I dont think saying you are Indian makes any difference.Might as well be honest , and create a positive image for your country?
Mirror Sep 23, 2012 05:31am
when are you coming back to Pakistan... that too proudly...? easy to hide behind a keyboard Srizki!!
taranveer Singh Sep 23, 2012 05:37am
if being on this list is criteria for a religion or country to be proud of then I want to tell you there are 5 indians in this list
azhar Sep 23, 2012 07:03am
Something is wrong here. Either you are not a Pakistani and saying this just to make us look bad. Indians & Pakistanis are looked upon the same in America. To say that being from India will earn you some sort of respect is totally wrong. I totally disagree.
zak Sep 23, 2012 07:24am
Be pakistani and proud of your country. Bad leadership does not mean a bad country. Pakistan was a gift to us ( see Indian occupied kashmir and palistine). sometimes when I meet pakistanis abroad specially middle east, when they know I am from pakistan they ask me from which city and some time which area as well. I tell them before no one ever asked such a question, and it does not matter either. Just learn to honour all pakistanis wherever as they are the biggest assets around the world.
Afee Sep 23, 2012 07:32am
This one is a blatant lie from an imposter, I would accept it if it were coming from an less educated cab driver or a restaurant / convinience store owner. IT is a field where Pakistani and Indians work side by side and in competing groups, both being proud of their identities. In Cisco, Microsoft, Juniper Networks, AMD, Oricle, or apple I have known people for years who would never call themselves Indian. They are proud Pakistani, they even are proud of their institutes from where they graduated, there is a regular group meetings of NEDians in Cisco. I am sorry to say either you are completely cutoff from majority Pakistanis or you are an Indian making this up.
Hopkins Sep 23, 2012 07:45am
He looks like Ron Jeremy.
boobie Sep 23, 2012 03:20am
I was born in Canada and have been here for all my life. I am now 44 and still consider myself to be proud of being Pakistani. When other Pakistanis are successful in any part of the world in any field or sport it gives me immense pride and happiness. Thank God that we have a country and thank God that despite all of our past hardships, we are still surviving and Insha-Allah will be a becon for the rest of the world, both Islamic and non Islamic. We are at the cross roads of civilizations and history, and have to move FORWARD!!
Amir Sep 23, 2012 04:22pm
I respect your opinions friends, and everyone has a right to have their own as long as we stay within the realms of civility. Having said that, I am neither proud nor ashamed of being a Pakistani. I just state facts, and in my case the fact being that my parent are from India. If I wished to be called a Pakistan,I would have stayed and tired to improve the condition of the country. Being Muslim is a matter faith not nationality
FN Sep 22, 2012 06:56pm
FN Sep 22, 2012 06:55pm
like your response. well said
Rana Sep 22, 2012 06:54pm
That is the the best comment, and advice.
Alex Sal Sep 22, 2012 07:02pm
I am not sure what every Pakistani on this forum is proud of? That they have to leave home to be successful?
Saleem Sep 22, 2012 04:58pm
It has nothing to do with Pakistan, heritage does not count. The real story here is the American dream and how this country is so great,anyone who works hard can make it. it is a lesson for Pakistan if anything at all.
Masood Hussain Sep 22, 2012 01:15pm
Endorse sensible man.
Annu Sep 22, 2012 04:57pm
Saad, don't be a shame of what you are. Make a difference (doesn't matter how small or big).
azhar Sep 22, 2012 10:19pm
He was born in a muslim family and he never changed his religion. Do you have any information otherwise?
Naseer Muhammad Sep 23, 2012 12:00pm
@ Zak Well said!!!! Pakistan Zindabad!!!!!
srizki Sep 25, 2012 03:01am
Yes, that is possible. I agree with you.
Junaid Sep 22, 2012 09:12pm
I am sorry but there is nothing to be proud of when the rest of the world is against u. Indians get a lot of respect compared to us
Yousaf Ghani Sep 22, 2012 06:05pm
yes... proud to be a Muslim, proud to be a Pakistani, ALLAH bless him, aamen.
Zaffar Sep 22, 2012 05:13pm
I m not a Pakistani,neither by birth or by nationality.Born in E.Africa,but my love for Pakistan is deep down in my heart.May Allah SWA bless this country of my ancestors.Ameen
Arshad Sep 22, 2012 10:54pm
Its more of a fear then shame. I am an overseas Pakistani and proud to call myself a Pakistani because I am not a billionaire. The day I am among 200 richest people in the world, i would not go to Pakistan as the whole country will be after my wealth. At the moment when i go to Pakistan nobody gives me an importance as I am a broke person.
azhar Sep 22, 2012 10:15pm
Well said Ahmed Khan.
srizki Sep 22, 2012 03:23pm
I left Pakistan 30 years ago, and I call myself Pakistani and I am proud of it.
Ahmed Zaman Sep 23, 2012 11:59am
Zaffar I am glad to read your comment. We need more well wishers like you
HM, Canada Sep 22, 2012 05:25pm
Shame on you Saad ...
Shah Sep 23, 2012 12:02am
Proud Pakistani who was born in Europe over 30 years ago, served in a european army, works in IT, love his country of birth - and proud of his Pakistani heritage. Pakistan Zindabad :-)
ASI Sep 22, 2012 05:08pm
@Saad - perhaps some pessimistic people like you give other people a chance to speak against about the nation we are, 'in general'..... Your comments do not relate to this article at all.
shahid Sep 23, 2012 09:22pm
Ali Sep 22, 2012 05:12pm
People like Mr Shahid Khan makes us proud ! May Allah bless him more.
Ali Syed Sep 22, 2012 05:31pm
Well I would rather be called a Pakistani any day than somebody from one of the Arab countries (for example). Despite all its flaws, we Pakistanis as a society are still more civilized, humane and resourceful than even the richest among the Arabs.
azhar Sep 22, 2012 09:19pm
Mr Shahid Khan is a very humble person. If he did something for Pakistan I am sure he wanted to be anonymous so it was not mentioned in the article . In America the amount of charity or donations you give can be deducted from your income thus gives you a discount on taxes. It mean if he gave 10 million he would get a deduction of about 2 million. The money he gave to the University was a public record. That is how the article writer got the information. He himself wouldn't brag about it. A few years ago the the Income Tax Department (IRS) demanded to pay 85 million dollars additional as they disagreed with his return so he wrote them a check for 85 million dollars more. His children drive old cars and live a very humble life. He has always emphasized that he is from Pakistan and from Lahore.
Haider Sep 23, 2012 09:48pm
He's officially the richest Pakistani in the world I think.
Kashif Sep 22, 2012 08:44pm
Amir - It was really sad to read your comment. With all the negativity about muslims in the US, would you also tell people you're from a different faith if asked about it? The least that we Pakistanis living abroad can do is to present a positive image about our country by being the best at what we do.
ali.sindhi Sep 22, 2012 04:15pm
i read brain drain from land of pure let me tell you pk is never meant for intelligent peoples and i am also living in Nordic you peoples don't know how hard to live with this country name no ones talk to you when you have tag of Pakistan
Rashid Sheikh Sep 22, 2012 05:55pm
When a nation is going through rough times, many people tend to shy away from their true national identity. Remember, one day Pakistani National will see its prime days and same the people will be calling themselves Pakistani proudly.
Ahmed Sep 23, 2012 01:56pm
With so many American flags burnt in Pakistan in last few days, calling oneself Pakistani in America or for that matter anywhere in the world will not be a good idea.
khanman Sep 22, 2012 03:18pm
What a nice gesture to give back to his adopted country America. They must be proud of him.
Ali Sep 23, 2012 10:20pm
Well Said. Keep it up. You made me very happy today fellow Pakistani.
Hadi Sakey Sep 22, 2012 01:55pm
I am proud too. Pakistanis please note this is what happens in the land of opportunities.
Fauzia tariq Sep 22, 2012 01:06pm
Shahid khan I am proud of you.Hats of to you. You made me a proud Pakistani.
Saad (DXB) Sep 22, 2012 01:39pm
Ask this man and he will probably say I am an American and then sheepishly he will admit that he has Pakistani roots.. Such is the shame of being a Pakistani these days.. Yes i say from experience.. I am expat Pakistani myself, trying hard to get rid of the stigma of being called a Pakistani the right way, i.e. by applying to a select group of countries for their nationalities.
sensible human Sep 22, 2012 12:18pm
Well that's what we Pakistani should be proud of.. I am so proud of this man.. God Bless him
Shahida Khan Sep 22, 2012 08:13pm
Very well put, sir!
Jehan Zeb Sep 22, 2012 03:27pm
I am a expat Pakistani too and never hesitates to tell others that I am Pakistani and they should look to rest of Pakistan from their experience with me. You do not have to be so low to hide your origin. Do good things and be proud of it.
Amir Sep 22, 2012 05:01pm
i am an IT Manager in a major technology company in the U.S., I am from Pakistan, however, when asked where I am from, like most of my Pakistani friends in IT we just say that my Parent are from India and hope that we are respected as being Indians (educated, prosperous, secular, tolerant etc etc etc...)
whatever99 Sep 23, 2012 10:47pm
The main reason most people fail to do well anywhere is their lack of honesty, integrity and hard work.Pakistan, a nation is the mirror image of its people. There is nothing there for people to be pround off except "extremism"
Tahira, USA Sep 22, 2012 09:05pm
Sorry you are wrong to think that you have to lie to find respect. I was born in Peshawar in pre-partition India but have never called myself Indian. I was educated in Pakistan from grade 1 to MSc and have Ph.D. from UK. I have taught in the USA for years and in several other countries as a proud Pakistani and never had any problem. People gave me respect for my knowledge, achievements and character. So please do not be ashamed to tell the truth and proudly tell everyone you are a Pakistani.
wahab Sep 22, 2012 05:13pm
same here iam an indian and live in austrailia i say myself a pakistani cause indians are really getting beaten up even killed of our attitude lots of students of my origin have experienced the same problem as i have i fully understand that my country is gaining fast growth economicly and are catching up with the rest of the world but till then we should calm down and come back to earth and treat everybody in a same way as i would like to be treated by everybody, maybe then the hate toward us will diminish
Hanif Sep 22, 2012 05:35pm
why should any Pakistani be proud of him after reading this artical, looks like he didn't do anything for his community and Pakistan, I don't know if he did, nothing mentioned in the artical. He is just like another American to me. I don't know if he even wants to be called as a Pakistani born American, I may be wrong, I have heard of Many rich Pakistani who are active in Pakistani Community, never heard of him.
Amna Sep 22, 2012 05:45pm
The shame can only be cured when smart and successful people start admitting of their Pakistani origins rather than denying them. We do not have a PR strategy, we need to build a new brand image for ourselves.
sja Sep 22, 2012 10:00pm
Our second longest serving PM explained it very well in his last trip to Great Britain, that is at the whim of our most democratic leaders who do not want the trial of graves of the martyrs, and do everything else possible for all of Pakistan to leave Pakistan to be successful, but our own governance is very very successfull in establishing the Democracy of Revenge for the hope of eventual roti, kapra and makaaan for the poor people of Pakistan, they have trying it now over 40 years today.
Ali abbas Sep 22, 2012 01:18pm
Breaking news, chief justice has taken a suo moto notice against Forbes magazine against calling Mr Khan a Pakistani. "Mr Khan's loyalty can not be trusted as a Pakistani because he has decided to take up US citizenship, we only want narrow minded people to serve in our parliament who have never travelled outside Pakistan and are not used to starting from nothing and make a successful life for themselves ." we only want people who have made their money under military dictatorships and have inherited land from their forefathers allotted to them by British empire" Mr. Iftikhar added.
m k ghauri Sep 22, 2012 10:31pm
I envy America where pure hard work,new ideas, ingenuity gives you success irrespective of your color creed, sect and connections.Other needs to follow these principles too.
john Sep 23, 2012 09:03pm
keep wishing
Shahid Butt Sep 23, 2012 06:11pm
This is old news. Dawn came to know now. I live in USA. Iread about it 2yrs ago. Please give something new. Shahid Butt
Asim Sep 23, 2012 02:12pm
I love Lahore, I was born there myself, however I wished the writer had stuck to say "Pakistani born" instead of any specific city....he may have unintentionally left out other citizens of Pakistan from feeling pride.
arthur zobo Sep 23, 2012 07:29pm
Long live the American dream!When the dignity of labor is respected the worker can work miracles..
Kashif Sep 23, 2012 04:39am
Mr Saad whether You called yourself a Pakistani or not its your choice, but World will always call you as Pakistani national, as you have yourself mentioned that you are trying hard to get rid of it, anywhere you go you will be discriminated, so what can you do?
Ajaya K Dutt Sep 23, 2012 04:13am
Ask people (even Muslims) migrating out of Pakistan.
Ali Sep 23, 2012 03:49am
Being a Pakistani or American plays little role when you are a valuable individual. InshaAllah a day will come when Pakis will be revered.
Syed Shahid Sep 23, 2012 02:45am
I am also from Pakistan, born and lived there first 26 years of my life. Have been living in US for the last 28 years. Very sad to say, when I was in Pakistan, I didn't find many true Pakistani's there. There are more Pakistanis in US then are in Pakistan. There are more Punjabis, Sindhis, Balochis, Pahtans and Mohajirs in Pakistan and also a lot of Sunnis and Shias and a lot of others, but very few Pakistanis.
Great Thinker Sep 23, 2012 02:39am
Good for him. He would have probably grown a beard if he were living in the Land of Pure.
Syed Sep 22, 2012 10:57pm
Does one think they are tolerant and educated after the events in Gujrat, Godhra, Kashmir, Assam etc.....
Ernest( Australia) Sep 24, 2012 01:18am
Mr Syed Shah why do you have to write, that you have made us Muslim proud.why can't you just write that, Mr Shaheed Khan you havemade us Pakistanis Proud, I am a Pakistani Christian and proud to be Pakistani, National should come before my reglion may I also say Proud to be Christian.Long live Pakistan
Afzal Bhatti (Lahore) Sep 23, 2012 11:50am
A boy from Lahore made good in the land of opportunities & pursuit of happiness.
rashid Sep 23, 2012 12:42am
You willl found alot rich pakistani born US citizens here in US. and most of them doesnt want to be connected to pakistan period
Mr.T Sep 22, 2012 05:17pm
It's not Mr.Khan only, It's the country who make simple people billionaire...
Pak in usa Sep 23, 2012 05:02pm
You do have weak personality!
sf Sep 22, 2012 06:08pm
You are right but Pakistan is getting more bad publicity because of what's happeninig in Pakistan.
sf Sep 22, 2012 06:16pm
He is not the only one there many professional Pakistanis in the United States, very successfull,in various field and very rich.
Lucky Star Sep 22, 2012 08:04pm
I am from Pakistan and whenever somebody asks me where I am from I say I am from Mars and then if somebody insists then tell them from Pakistan. I am neither proud not ashamed of Pakistan. I don
Shahida Khan Sep 22, 2012 08:14pm
Ajay Sep 22, 2012 06:19pm
I wish I was a Pakistani and had a green passport
Ahmed Sep 22, 2012 06:20pm
You are a weak individual, you should be proud of Pakistan. You would get respect if you do good deeds not coat-tail on others. I feel sad for you and your children.
observer Sep 22, 2012 06:20pm
Mr. Hanif, Please read Urdu newspapers and listen to TV talk shows. They seem to cater better for your level of thinking.
observer Sep 22, 2012 06:21pm
An eye opener comment. I hope people pay attention and understand.
Ali Shallwani Sep 22, 2012 08:51pm
What is wrong with being proud? I think it is reason to celebrate, when one of our own becomes successful - irrespective where he lives - in U.S. or in Pakistan. Good for him and I wish him much more success!
nomad Sep 22, 2012 06:25pm
I have lived for a long time outside Pakistan. You know what, when people look at me they come to realize Pakistan is not only about bomb blasts and killings. I believe I can speak to common Europeans and common Americans just like they speak to each other. This way, I think I am contributing to image of my country. I have downed so many chances of immigration. I am perfectly okay to be Pakistani. I hope we have more tolerance and respect for human dignity in our society.
Ahmed Khan Sep 22, 2012 06:25pm
What has one's personal faith, ie. being "Muslim" got to do with Shahid Khan's achievements. Why do you people in Pakistan have got to bring religion into everything. Remember religion and faith is an extremely personal matter.
asim Sep 22, 2012 06:25pm
Infact, it is inner inferior complex nothing to do with the citizenhip. I mean being proud of what you are.
sf Sep 22, 2012 06:26pm
One day, already past 60 years still dreaming of one day. Stop dreamining.
observer Sep 22, 2012 06:27pm
The title land of opportunity seems to suggest that there are no opportunities elsewhere. Actually, for any system based on knowledge and entrepreneurism there is a lot of opportunity. Unfortunately, we have not been able to make a society where creative thinking is encouraged.
amir Sep 22, 2012 08:04pm
if you want to be big than find an enviornement that people think big, act big and get big, like shahid khan , he must of have an mentor to fellow , yes i agreed with u.s land that give you an opportunity, so yes he could be great mentor for most of us, so in the end action will speak for louder then word,
Jon Rosendall Sep 22, 2012 06:41pm
How do you know he is a muslim?
learner Sep 22, 2012 08:54pm
jon how do u know he is not.
d8rinc Sep 22, 2012 06:44pm
Interesting. In business I have observed that Indians will apply Indian status to a person who was born of pre-Pakistan state parents (Pakistanis), saying that they are Indian.