Syed Wajid Ali
Syed Wajid Ali in 1950
|Died||14 June 2008 (aged 96)|
|Known for||International Olympic Committee|
|Relatives||Syed Amjad Ali (brother) |
Syed Babar Ali (brother)
Syed Wajid Ali (Urdu: سید واجد علی) (20 December 1911 – 14 June 2008) was a leading industrialist of Pakistan who is also known for his services to the Olympic Movement. He became the President of Pakistan Olympic Association in 1978 and stayed on the post for 26 years until he retired in 2004 to become the longest serving President in the history of the association. He is also known for promoting arts and culture as well as Red Crescent (Red Cross) in Pakistan.
Wajid Ali, was born on 20 December 1911 in Lahore, Punjab, British India. He was the second son of Sir Syed Maratib Ali, the younger brother of Amjad Ali. He received his early education in Lahore and studied at the Government College, Lahore. He then joined the Indian Army as a Commissioned Officer and was on duty during the Second World War.
In the early 1940s, he quit the army to look after the growing family business. In 1945, he established a textile plant in Rahim Yar Khan, which was only wound up in 1997. He also became actively involved in the Pakistan Movement and closely worked for the cause alongside Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Fatima Jinnah. During the movement, he was nominated by the Muslim League on a three-member Committee to oversee the British government arranged referendum in the North West Frontier Province.
In Pakistan, he set up and managed a number of industrial ventures. Among the major projects was a Ford car manufacturing plant, which was subsequently taken over by the Government in 1973 as part of the nationalisation process of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. In his other industrial activities, he remained the chairman of some of the largest enterprises in Pakistan, including Packages Limited, Treet Corporation, Zulfeqar Industries, Loads Limited, and Wazir Ali Industries.
Wajid Ali's dedication to sports has been exemplary and goes a long way to 3 March 1978, when he joined Pakistan Olympic Association as its President and remained in this position till 11 March 2004.
Among his prominent contributions to the Pakistan Olympic Association was the financing and creation of the Olympic Museum, which is the first of its kind in the Subcontinent. Most of the artefacts in the Museum were donated by Syed Wajid Ali himself.
He also remained the honorary IOC member from 1996 till his death in 2008.
Wajid Ali was among the founder members of the Lahore Race Club at Kot Lakhpat Complex. He was enrolled in 1945 and was subsequently elected as steward for many years. He was elected the chairman of the club in 1982, and held the office until 1988.
Wajid Ali became the Chairman of the All Pakistan Music Conference in 1960. The Conference introduced and promoted many classical singers and performers who still continue to entertain people in 2016. The activities of the All Pakistan Music Conference are held yearly in the country.
On another scale, he envisioned and established the Institute of Islamic Culture in 1952. He was the Chairman of this institute that promotes harmony among various Islamic scholars and peoples by publishing various books and articles by famous scholars.
Syed Wajid Ali also deserves credit for his 'overall vision' for his nation, Pakistan. He was the first person, who in 1961, signed a joint venture agreement with Nippon Electric Company of Japan to initiate a television project in Pakistan. Later, this proved to be a visionary first step in introducing television in Pakistan before it was introduced in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and some other Asian countries. Ubaidur Rahman, an electrical engineer who later became General Manager of Pakistan Television Corporation, Lahore Center, was appointed by him to lead this television project with the Japanese. The project team conducted a series of pilot transmission tests. Then the control of this project was given to President Ayub Khan's government in 1962. A small studio within a tent in the Radio Pakistan compound in Lahore was set up to begin the television project work. Here a transmission tower was also constructed. Finally the first TV black and white transmission from Lahore took place on 26 Nov 1964 and television was introduced in Pakistan.
His activities in the healthcare sector included his efforts in founding Liaquat National Hospital in 1953 in Karachi of which he was the Chairman. This not-for-profit hospital has 700 beds and is dedicated to provide the facilities to humanity, especially the poor.
Among his other contributions in the area of healthcare include his association and service to the Pakistan Red Crescent Society where he served as its Chairman from 1968 to 1998. Since 1998, he was Vice President Emeritus of this important relief organisation. Syed Maratib Ali was the Chairman of Gulab Devi Hospital from 1947 till his demise in 1961. During his leadership, Gulab Devi established another unit in Kasur.