Agha Hasan Abedi

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Agha Hasan Abedi
Born14 May 1922[1]
Died6 Aug 1995[2] (aged 73)
Other namesAgha Sahib
Alma materLucknow University
Years active1959-1990
Known forFounder of United Bank Founder of BCCI
Spouse(s)Rabia Abedi
ChildrenMaha Abedi (daughter)

Agha Hasan Abedi (Urdu: آغا حسَن عابِدی‎), (14 May 1922 – 5 August 1995) was a Pakistani banker. Abedi founded United Bank Limited and Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in 1972.[3]

Abedi underwent a heart transplant operation in 1988, and died of a heart attack on 5 August 1995 in Karachi.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Agha Hasan Abedi was born in a well off Shia Muslim family in Lucknow, British India and migrated to Pakistan after the creation of Pakistan in 1947. He received his master's degree in English Literature and a Law degree from Lucknow University.[4][5]

Banking career[edit]

Beginning his career in 1946 with Habib Bank before independence of Pakistan, he brought about significant changes in Pakistan's banking culture when he founded the United Bank Ltd (UBL) in 1959 in Karachi.[1] He was the Founder and the first President. Under his stewardship, UBL became the second largest bank in Pakistan. Mr. Abedi introduced a host of professional innovations, including the concept of personalised service and banking support to trade and industry, paying particular attention to the bank's overseas operations. One of the first to comprehend the opportunities offered by the oil boom in the Persian Gulf, Mr Abedi pioneered close economic collaboration in the private sector between Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE President, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, extended his patronage to UBL operations both in Pakistan and abroad.

BCCI years[edit]

When banking was nationalised in Pakistan in 1972, Mr. Abedi founded the Bank of Credit and Commerce International with the Bank of America[citation needed] NT & SA as a major shareholder. Registered in Luxembourg, the BCCI began its operations from a two-room head office in London. Over the years, it developed into a worldwide banking operation with branches in 72 countries and 16,000 employees on its payroll. Mr. Abedi was personally responsible for inducting a large number of Pakistanis into the field of international banking and almost 80 per cent of the BCCI's top executive positions at the head office and in branches in various countries were held by Pakistanis. "It was founded by the charismatic Agha Hasan Abedi in 1972, backed by Middle Eastern investors and run mostly by the South Asians."[3] Mr. Abedi severed his connection with BCCI in 1990 after suffering a heart attack and led a retired life in Karachi until his death of heart failure at Karachi's Aga Khan hospital in 1995.

At the time of his death, Abedi was under criminal indictment in numerous countries for crimes related to BCCI. However, Pakistani officials refused to give him up for extradition, claiming the charges were politically motivated. Besides this, it is likely he would have been too sick to stand trial. He had been in poor health since suffering a stroke in the mid-1980s.

Infaq Foundation[edit]

Mr. Abedi founded charitable organisations in UK, India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

The Infaq Foundation has only one office in Karachi, Pakistan. It has capital and reserves of over Rs. 2.50 billion, which in 2009 are equivalent to just over US $30 million. Major beneficiaries among the known institutions are, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Lady Dufferin Hospital and Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology in Karachi, and Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology in Topi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan was the first Chairman of the Foundation from 1983 through 1995. Another personality, a supreme court judge and a former Governor of Sindh – Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim took over and is now the chairman.

The Foundation has been managed by various Chief Executives. From 1981 to 1999, retired federal secretaries were Secretaries General of the Foundation. From 1999 to 2008, the position was held by Mr. Sohail Kizilbash, a Chartered Accountant educated in the UK and a person with long banking experience. From 2009 onwards, another Chartered Accountant and a former banker Mr. Anwar Gillani is the Honorary Secretary General.

Agha Hasan Abedi Auditorium Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology at the 8th Science Fair in 2007

Higher education[edit]

Mr. Abedi also founded BCCI FAST in 1980 with a donation of Rs. 100 million, to promote education in computer science. It is now the first multi-campus university of Pakistan, known as National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences. It has five campuses situated in Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad.

Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology was also the brainchild of Mr. Abedi. He felt that Pakistan should have another university for higher education, at PhD level, for engineering and sciences and it should be comparable to universities in any developed country.

Personal life[edit]

Hasan Abedi was married to Rabia Abedi. The couple had a daughter named Maha.[6] Although Abedi was born into a Shia Muslim family,[7] he was a well-known Muslim mystic.[8] During his speeches at the meetings of the BCCI Bank, he would spend hours sharing his mystical beliefs. He believed that BCCI wasn't only a bank, but a god-gifted entity which was directly connected to the universe.[9]

Award and honor[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Agha Hasan Abedi passes away". Dawn Wire Service. 9 August 1995. Archived from the original on 8 September 2006. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Posthumous honour for BCCI founder". The Express Tribune newspaper. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b "The man behind the bust: a chance encounter that changed history". The Express Tribune newspaper. 13 April 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Jr., Robert Mcg. Thomas. "Agha Hasan Abedi, 74, Dies In the Shadow of a Vast Fraud".
  7. ^ "The Go-Go Years".
  8. ^ Walsh, Conal (19 January 2003). "Spies hide as Bank faces BCCI charges". the Guardian.
  9. ^ "The BCCI Affair - 3 The origin and early years of BCCI". Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Hilal-i-Imtiaz Award for the late Agha Hasan Abedi in 2015". Samaa TV. 22 March 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2017.

External links[edit]

About BCCI
CDSS – Centre for Development of Social Services
  • CDSS, Centre for Development of Social Services – Official Website
  • Korangi Academy, Korangi Academy – Official Website