Happy Birthday Haroon

Hi, Everyone! Today, while you stand by, I’d be talking to Haroon, whom I’ve grown to respect and admire a lot. Through this post I’d be sharing things about this wonderful person in my life, from whom we all can learn so much. Yes, Haroon, on your birthday on February 20th, you stand at the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces, carrying the amazing qualities of both these stars specially being forward thinking and a warm family man. I wanted to wish you a very happy, birthday. and I’m taking this opportunity to letting you know why I look up to you.

Though we had met around 2005, and more, when you helped in arranging the marriage of your brother with my daughter. It was much later in 2012, that I got to know you better. My husband had recently passed away, and I moved into my under-construction house with my daughter. Since then, you have been one of my main sources of strength. Often dropping by with your lovely wife Uzma and son Danyal. Of course, you would always be carrying a thoughtful snack or gift. My daughters and I did accept your offer of spending some nights at your place, as my house was freezing cold and we didn’t yet have hot running water.

You know, whenever, I read how Hazrat Moosa (Moses), prayed for Haroon’s  (Aaron’s) support  from God, I can instantly connect. Your parents named you well. There are persons, who you feel, ‘If he is by my side, everything will be okay.’ I’d say, you are one of them. It is no wonder that the Prime Minister Imran Khan has valued your advice and offered you posts. He too would love to have you by his side!

Why have I grown to admire you?

1.      Sense of humor:

Your smile, which is always there, along with your anecdotes, are always fun. Your presence is so considerate, and I just love your wit and appropriate jokes. Considering our relationship, we have managed to have a friendship with respect and affection.

 I have noticed, that you have a humor which is never at anyone’s expense nor derogatory. It is enjoyment of the funny aspects of life, here and now. ?

2.      World-wide travel:

 I’ve known you when you travelled far and wide almost on a weekly basis. Even then, you made space for inviting me over whenever possible, or you came over. I was amazed how you handled your jet lag and the many presentations and talks you had to deliver in different parts of the world.

Occasionally, it has been a pleasure listening about your talks being given in different universities in USA and UK. Specially, I loved your assessments and predictions of elections which usually turned out to be true. Of course, as an economist, you are on top of the world!

3.      Punctuality:

Right from the very beginning of knowing you, in 2005, I admired your punctuality. No matter how many times our families met, it was always on time every time. This is the main reason I love going out with you and your family. In Pakistan, this is saying a lot.

4.      Taking along everyone:

Your thoughtfulness, your time and your attention is always valued. You have a way of making a person feel special, without being overwhelmed.  Almost every week for last nine years you’ve stood nearby, with your counsel, your solutions and your warm hospitality.

That phone call, asking me, ‘what are you doing this weekend? Join us for tea (or dinner)’ Always taking me along with you for the trips to the hills. Inviting me for the lovely holidays too. I know, it isn’t just me, you and Uzma will do the same for other family members, and friends. It takes a large heart to be so inclusive of everyone.

 Whenever possible, you will cook for us too! How can I forget your amazing chicken steaks, the mushroom sauce to go with it, and of course, my favorite Hummus with the bread you make with such panache. All, ended with your famous six-masala tea.


5.      Handled challenging jobs:

You have handled challenging jobs at the international and local levels. British High Commission, World Bank or Chairman Board Investment, or any other seat. These days working on the Museums in Pakistan including the ones in Lahore and Taxila. You are also connecting with the Louvre, Paris. Awesome. Love the way in which you work, making it all appear smooth and easy, when we know it is extremely complex.

Perhaps, you would be the only person who gave up your job in World Bank. That isn’t the only lucrative and fantastic job that you gave up. I can see, it is only because when you do a job, it is with your complete commitment and devotion. When you find that your priority has changed, you won’t stay on, but give that place to someone else. You will follow your heart and personal commitment; realizing that you only live once, and every day of one’s life needs to be lived according to one’s goals.

I’ve found out Haroon, you have recently accepted a one year position as Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. It would be about emerging role of China. IDS is ranked No. 1 globally in International Development Studies. As if this isn’t all, you are also appointed Senior Advisor to UNDP and Chairman PM’s Task Force on Economic Diplomacy.

I’ll call this – fantabulous!

I can only say Masha Allah, kudos to you and wishing you more success. 🙂

6.      Explaining complex concepts simply:

I just love the way you simplify complicated details into an easily understandable whole. You really have that talent.

How do you do it? I was present at that talk at the SDPI’s conference in Marriot one time. It was about Trade Routes in Central Asia, which you explained in ten minutes. Truly amazing. You can give an overview, along with an understanding of the important details within a few minutes.

Most people only know how to complicate simple matters to make it look messy and complicated, even when it isn’t. You do the reverse; you take a messy situation, unraveling it all within minutes into a tangible, understandable, and simplified whole.

Love it.

7.      Timely decisions and actions:

I’ve seen you going through very hard times, losing your one very dear sister to cancer, was tough. You and rest of your family were still recovering from this, when we all met. Later, losing your parents and now your sister has been the toughest.  In spite of it all, I saw you calm and collected. Always, being the eldest, taking the brave steps and decisions which are necessary. You will do what is the right thing to do, and do it timely. That is the admirable part. Making decisions about family assets and divisions in proper and fair manner within the time constraints is something not everyone can do. I wish all families in Pakistan could learn from you.

8.      Prioritizing activities:

This is something I really want to learn from you, how to do what is important now, and knowing what to leave for the time being. You will know exactly which one to put aside for a while, and give full priority to the one most important thing to do. The way you completed the book your father had written, with the help of your sisters Sabahat and Shafaq, was amazing.  You set aside two months and got the book published by Sang e Meel, within record time. Truly admirable.

9.      Daily, weekly and annual routine:

I’ve observed how smoothly you and Uzma manage your lives. Your day includes work, leisure and exercise with walks and tennis. While Uzma and Danyal go for swimming too. All of you excel in what you do, Masha Allah. No matter if you have guests, you manage to take it all in your stride so beautifully.

The small trips to the mountains and the international travels and holidays are all smoothly placed in your annual calendar. Of course this year the international travel was curtailed. But that meant more fun trips for us.

10.  So well informed and active:

It is hard to imagine how you manage to keep your eye on the latest books and literature. I’m sure an input from Uzma would work well too, as she is a brilliant writer and well placed in her own position at her job. The reading continues, along with Twitter and Facebook. Your articles appearing in important niches, all over the world. ?

Of course this isn’t all. You are an amazing Taya Jan to my grand daughter, Anya. Since she was a little kid, she had that special relationship with you.

I can’t imagine, how far high you are going to fly from here onwards, yet I wish you a very happy, healthy and safe journey. May you continue to fly high. Just wishing you a very happy birthday, Haroon.

Stay blessed and protected. ?

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  1. You are indeed blessed to have surrounded by such positive vibe people around you.
    May Allah bless him health prosperity to Haroon bhai
    Sorry I am replying after so long because after I was relieved from my daughter’s wedding corona had me
    I am Alhamdolilah fine by the grace of Allah but still experiencing its side effects

    1. Shireen Gheba Najib says:

      Thank you Kiran! Indeed, I’m truly blessed. Yes, your prayers for his health and prosperity are also joined by me too. Also, for you, my friend.

      Stay blessed.

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