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THE RICHEST MAN IN PAKISTAN: Billionaire Mian Mohammad Mansha defies terrorism to expand bank empire   

Bloomberg Specials Written by Yoolim Lee & Naween A. Mangi / Bloomberg NewsTuesday, 09 December 2008 18:58

MIAN MOHAMMAD MANSHA, head of the Mansha family and chairman of the Nishat Group, poses for a portrait at his residence in Lahore, Pakistan, in September 2008. Mansha is regarded as one of the richest persons in Pakistan and owns textile mills, the Muslim Commercial Bank and is a major player in he cement industry. ASIM HAFEEZ/BLOOMBERG MARKETS

On a September evening when many of Pakistan’s 165 million people were breaking their fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, billionaire Mian Mohammad Mansha, the country’s richest man, was deciding whether to buy an Indonesian bank.  A phone call to his Lahore office interrupted him: Turn on the television, his son Hassan implored. The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was in flames after terrorists had detonated a truck packed with explosives. The blast, in a security zone less than a kilometer from the presidential residence, killed 53 and injured 266.

“It was terrifying,” says Mansha, 61, chairman of the Nishat Group financial, textile and cement-making empire, who says he stays at the Marriott when he’s in the capital. Just hours before the blast, Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s new president, had vowed to rid the country of the “cancer” of terrorism. Continue reading