Friday January 27, 2023

Hotel industry tycoon Byram Avari passes away at 81

January 23, 2023
File photo of Byram D Avari. Twitter
File photo of Byram D Avari. Twitter

KARACHI: Renowned Pakistani hotel industry tycoon and Parsi community leader Byram Dinshaw Avari passed away in Karachi on Sunday. He was 81.

The family said that he had undergone intestinal surgery at a private hospital a few days ago, after which his health deteriorated and he was shifted on a ventilator.

Avari was a Karachi-based businessman who owned the Avari Towers Hotel and Avari Group of Companies. He was running the Avari Hotels in Karachi and Lahore as well as Dubai. He owned the Beach Luxury Hotel in Karachi and was also managing a Ramada Hotel in Canada.

According to a Parsi research journal, Fezana, Volume 22, published in 2008: “The family business started in 1944 with Bristol Hotel, followed in 1948 by Beach Luxury Hotel, which was to become the flagship hotel. At that time, the Beach Luxury Hotel was located far outside the city centre.”

In an interview with the journal, his son Dinshaw said, “The Beach Luxury Hotel has seen several momentous eras - martial law, prohibition, wars. During the war with India in 1971, Beach Luxury was affected because foreigners were evacuated from Pakistan. Our family was also advised to move because we lived so close to the port. However, our family preferred to stay because we were responsible for more than just our home, we had to take care of the hotel.

“I remember cowering under the stairs for protection during those days, and even our mattresses were moved down. I remember the loud noise of the bombing because the oil tankers being bombed were docked at Keamari only five kilometres away. Our family has come a long way from Bristol Hotel in 1944 to our first international hotel Avari Dubai in 1998 to our latest addition Avari Islamabad in 2009.” He added they will go on to further expansions in the Middle East and the rest of Pakistan.

Avari was considered one of the influential Parsi community leaders and was also the honorary diplomatic representative of Pakistan in Canada.

Byram also served as vice president of the Dastur Doctor Dhalla Memorial Institute Karachi in 1982 and became chairman Parsi New Year Celebration Committee in 1988. Later in 1990, Avari became vice-chairman of the Karachi Parsi Anjuman Trust Fund and president of the Jehangir Peerozshah Dubash Health Culture Institute in 1989.

The late industrialist was born on February 7, 1941 in Karachi. His father Dinshaw Byram and Khorshed Dinshaw Avari were also influential leaders of the Parsi community.

Apart from the hotel industry and sports, Avari also earned reputation through his philanthropic works. In his interview with a French media outlet Le Point he stated: “The Parsis believe in giving back to the community. That’s why, for example, we grant interest-free loans to children who want to study abroad. The Parsis have set up hospitals and universities for the benefit of the people of Karachi”.

The late hotel industry tycoon was a patriotic Pakistani who said he would never leave the country. In 2013, when his hotel business had been affected due to extremely bad law and order situation in Karachi, he gave an interview to Parsi News website and said that he had spent his 72 years in Pakistan and nobody could scare him and force him to leave the country.

According to Avari’s family, his last rites (Paidus) will be held at the Khorshed Villa inside the compound of the Beach Luxury Hotel today (Monday) at 1pm followed by Sarosh prayers at sunset on Monday and Tuesday.

Sindh Governor Kamran Khan Tessori said he had been saddened by Avari’s demise as he was among those persons who created a positive image of Pakistan globally. The governor said the late tycoon played a major role in the development of hotel industry in the country and he always participated in philanthropic works.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah expressed his grievance at the demise of Avari and remembered him for his philanthropy. He also praised the late industrialist for his services for the Parsi community in the country.

Adviser to the Sindh CM on Law Barrister Murtaza Wahab said Avari had an amiable personality. He said the late industrialist always served the country. He offered condolences to the bereaved family.