Known for his big mischievous smile, twinkling eyes and his hearty laughter, Rafique Dawood was a lively, fun-loving and loyal friend and always the life of the party. Known affectionately as “Raf” to his close friends, he was Chairman to thousands of employees. Extremely generous, he was famous for immediately gifting whatever designer tie he was wearing or one of his favourite Mont Blanc pens to anyone who expressed admiration, believing in an abundant God and that more would always come.
He studied with his cousins at Ashton Hall School for boys in Manchester, England, then did a degree in paper science from Manchester University, and was the first MBA from Pakistan at Harvard Business School (Class of 1967). He was famous for coming up with solutions to problems no one else could solve, moving any mountain that came his way with resilience, stamina and full faith.
He moved in 1977 to Toronto, Canada, where for 17 years, he built businesses in the West, was on the Board of the Harvard Business Club of Toronto, worked with the highest echelon of the business and political communities, and was famous for his charity work, most prominently, arranging a 1991 Pakistan versus The Rest of the World charitable cricket match, and hosting a must-attend dinner for Imran Khan at his house.
He was a true patriot and wanted to give back to Pakistan. He therefore moved to Karachi and build Dawood Leasing and all the companies of First Dawood Group with precision and determination, including spending 12 years putting together HydroChina Dawood Wind Power, Pakistan’s first CPEC project and a contributor to electricity in Pakistan. He taught his children Ayaz and Tara Uzra – both of whom are carrying on his businesses and legacy – the blessing and responsibility of being job creators, to always have the highest integrity and never to run away from people or problems.
He fought an 17 year on-off battle with prostrate cancer, but right til his last couple of weeks, he was still in the process of spearheading new cutting-edge businesses and projects, and loved going to work and hearing daily updates from each company head, easily catching mistakes or giving suggestions with his acute brain and razor sharp instincts, offering biryani competitions for performance.
He was always immaculately dressed and liked the best of everything. A foodie, he enjoyed Michelin 3 star restaurants around the world and a good steak. In his downtime, he favoured classic British boarding school fare, especially cake and custard, and McDonalds strawberry milkshakes. His favorite childhood song was “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies, but he also enjoyed any Beatles or Queen, modern rock or pop, and opera.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 55 years, Hamida, his two children and grandchildren.
Recite Surah Fatiha and/or your favourite prayer of any religion, in any language, for the departed soul.