My Experiences in Pakistan

My Experiences in




*-Bharat J Gajjar


Buy.comI used to work for DuPont deNemours and Company but I am retired now so I can write my experiences in Pakistan. When I was working for DuPont, I could not write about it. I think you will find my experiences in Pakistan nteresting.

I was a DuPont employee working in India and Pakistan as a Market Development Engineer (1987 to 1992). I used to work in the research department of the textiles fibers department. DuPont wanted to build a Lycra plant in India. They appointed me to develop a market for the fiber which was supposed to come into manufacturing. They asked me to work on this project and my boss was in Geneva. I used to report to him on this project. I used to go to India and Pakistan for 2 months, come home for a month with the information I gathered, and then go back for 2 months with other information they needed. I want to tell you about my experiences during this time in Pakistan.

Before going to Pakistan, my supervisor told me that it was DuPont policy that no one could go to Pakistan without prior approval. This was because in the past, two American employees were shot at in Karachi. The approval had to be given by the DuPont Director. Approval was given to me.

The first time I went to Pakistan, I went to Karachi and I worked there demonstrating our fiber and fabrics. After working for 4 or 5 days, I was going back to India from Pakistan and I arrived at the airport about an hour early. I put my name on my bags, which clearly showed that I am Hindu. As I approached customs, the officer saw my Hindu name on the bag and that I was wearing an American suit. There were no other people around as the officer opened my bag and threw everything out with a hostile look on his face. Then he asked me how many American dollars I had in my pocket. I had $700 with me which I gave to him. He said that he was going to keep $200 and gave me $500 back. He said that if I did not agree with him, he would throw me into prison. He said it was illegal to have American dollars which was not true. I agreed to his demand and he kept $200. At that time, a man from Lufthansa Airlines was watching us. When I approached him, he told me that it was common and happens all the time. He advised me not to come to the airport early and also to avoid displaying Hindu name on the bag. I learned my lesson. When I came back, DuPont did reimburse me $200. I have a friend who is a refugee from Pakistan and has a cousin who visits Pakistan frequently. He advised me not to display name on the bag and to walk around with confidence so as to avoid any trouble. I followed this advice on my subsequent visits to Pakistan and avoided any problems.

Let us look into some good things in Pakistan. I used to stay at the Holiday Inn in Karachi and the girls working there were very loving and kind. I appreciated that. The Holiday Inn food was great but I could not eat all of the meat they provided because I am a vegetarian; so they had trouble feeding me. At that time, all the businesses of textile mills in Pakistan were owned by the Moslems of Gujarat. I am also a Gujarati. They received me with great love and we had great times speaking in Gujarati. I was welcomed better in Pakistan than in India.

My boss from Geneva and I went to a textile mill in Pakistan to introduce our new Spandex fiber and garments made out of it. We were in the mill and talking to the owner. The owner told us that it was 10:30 am and prayer time. The whole mill was shut down and all of the workers came into the yard and lined up for prayer. The owner said that they pray 3 times a day, once in the morning and twice in the afternoon. At these times, the mill is shut down and everyone goes for prayer. When you stop the machines and then start again, it causes defects in the production of the fabric but they have no choice but to do this.

We went to see one of the DuPont sales personnel in Pakistan and he invited my boss and me for dinner at his house. My boss and I rented a car and went to his mansion. He had two guards with guns at his mansion. We entered into his large living room and you could tell he was a very prominent, rich Pakistani. I informed him that I am a vegetarian so he was prepared for that. His wife and daughter did not come down from the second floor to see us but his son did so. Before dinner we went on the balcony and I observed 50 German Shepherd dogs in a pen. I asked him how many dogs he had and he said about 50 and that at night they let them loose for protection. He said at night there are a lot of kidnappers. I did not enquire any further.

We were working in one mill one of the years and I was talking to an Engineer and providing information to him. We didn't have time to finish our session. I asked him if he would like to come to my hotel in the evening to continue. He told me that at night Karachi is not safe and he would not come. I asked him if we were going to work the next day at the plant and he said no, that they did not have electricity the next day
and so they would work the following day.

One time I was in Karachi and I was going to stay on the weekend. There was a big Christian Church next to the Holiday Inn. I wanted to see how many Christians were going into the Church. I noticed on Sunday that nobody went into the Church. I was surprised and I do not know why the Church was not functioning.

One day I decided to go into town alone as I am a Gujarati and I can speak Hindi like many Pakistani Gujaratis speak, so I fit in like a Pakistani. On Sunday I decided to go out walking and I got a rickshaw and went into town. I enjoyed my visit and talked to the business people. I was like one of the Pakistanis. I had a nice lunch and then I came back. The man at the Holiday Inn told me that I should not have gone out because it was not safe (I'm sure now things are worse than in the '90s.)

One time my boss and I went to a textile mill. The owner was a Muslim but his wife was German. He offered us some Scotch in the afternoon in his office. Then he mentioned that many employees when they have enough money will not show up for work. All of his accountants were Hindus. I was surprised to hear that. There are no
more than 1% Hindus in Pakistan.

Every time I came from Karachi to India, the women in Karachi would be wearing burkhas. But after they would sit in the airplane, they would take off the burkhas and feel free as they were going to Bombay, India.

Buy a Tiny Wireless Video Camera & get a FREE BonuMy boss liked Scotch. He brought Scotch in his bag when he came to Karachi. When I found that out the first time he did it, I told him not to do that or they would throw him into prison. I told him that he could buy any liquor he wanted at the Holiday Inn in Karachi with no problem.

One of the Pakistani businessmen told me that in Pakistan there were no beggars like in India. This was true, I never saw a beggar in Pakistan. The roads were all very nice and clean too. One of the owners of the textile mills said that all of his children were watching Indian movies. He did not like that because he thought they were getting the wrong culture. I sympathized with him. May God Bless Pakistan.


*Professor Bharat J. Gajjar, has been a Professor at Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, PA, USA, and worked as a warp knit consultant (1992 - 2003). He has been awarded 20 patents in his name, mostly related to warp knitting. He retired from E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. after 35 years (1956 - 1992) as a senior research Engineer (he worked for 25 years in warp knit research, 5 years in weft knit research, and 5 years in International marketing). Professor Gajjar invented the famous Delaware Stitch, the warp knit fabric which made Qiana® world famous. Professor Gajjar was born in India and he immigrated to the US in 1952. For 25 years he was married to Rupal B. Gajjar, who passed away in 1984. He has two children, Mr. Ajay B. Gajjar, and Mrs. Meeta G. Parker.
Professor Gajjar was a member of Toastmaster International (TMI) for 40 years, a distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), and District 18 Governor of the TMI for the year 1973.

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