Preserving a legacy

February 5, 2023

A proud granddaughter aims to revive the spirit of Allama Mashriqi’s teachings

Preserving a legacy


fter living in the United Kingdom for longer than four decades, Nina Raniya Khan has started a gradual move back to Pakistan with a handful of business projects as well as plans to carry forward the legacy of her illustrious grandfather, Allama Inayatullah Mashriqi, the founder of Khaksar Tehrik.

“My career in the UK has been diverse. It was mostly related to business. I think doing business in Pakistan to provide fair opportunities to the grassroots level service providers can be a great service to the country,” she tells The News on Sunday in an exclusive conversation.

Khan’s business plans include launching an app to connect grassroots-level service providers, such as beauticians, electricians, tailors and plumbers etc to those in need of their services.

In the UK, she has been active in real estate development, investment brokerage, corporate event organisation, interior design and production. “I am among a few Pakistani women in Britain who are competing with men in the workplace. I have treated my individuality as a strength and demonstrated through my skill and hard work that women – regardless of culture, race, or religion – are men’s equals.”

Last week, she was in Multan in connection with the launch of her app and a skill training institute. Before that, she was in Bangladesh, where she received two awards: one, the Outstanding Business Excellence Award by the Southeast Asia Summit; two, being among the first 10 in 100 most powerful women in South East Asia.

“When I received the award, I felt proud to be a Pakistani woman receiving the honour.”

Born in Pakistan but raised and educated in a host of countries, including Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Austria, the US and the UK, Ms Khan is facing challenges in Pakistan to establish her businesses. She says some of the requisites of doing business in the country are unnecessarily tough and stem from unprofessional approaches.

“I still think one can manage these,” she says.

Khan says the Pakistani diaspora is worried about the economic conditions in the country. Many, she says, are ready to invest here if favourable conditions are offered. “The foremost thing is raising the level of ease of doing business. Most potential investors are shocked by the red tape and bureaucratic layers.”

She is proud of being the granddaughter of Allama Mashriqi, the renowned mathematician, political theorist and Islamic scholar. “I most definitely share my grandfather’s vision, but I am also interested in writing poetry, songs and books and promoting Pakistani talent,” says Khan.

While living in the UK, Ms Khan made her name in the business sector. She has been connected with or has hosted Nelson Mandela, King Charles, former British prime minister Liz Truss, Bollywood legend Shah Rukh Khan, former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan and Queen Rania of Jordan.

She is proud to be the granddaughter of renowned mathematician, political theorist, and Islamic scholar, Allama Mashriqi. “I most definitely share my grandfather’s vision, but I am also interested in writing poetry, songs and books and promoting Pakistani talent,” says Khan.

Khan plans to set up a trust to launch apolitical welfare projects in Pakistan. “My grandfather was a pioneer in modern education. He achieved outstanding results at Cambridge University. I intend to work in both education and information technology,” she says.

The trust will sponsor Pakistani students’ education at Cambridge. Khan is also a recipient of an award from the All Physicians and Doctors Association, and she has provided free treatment to 1,000 cataract sufferers in Pakistan over the past two years.

“I am all set to start offering scholarships to upcoming mathematicians in my grandfather’s name from next year,” she says.

Unlike her grandfather, mathematics does not hold her attention. “No. I’m on another side; I love music and am running a recording company promoting Pakistani talent in the music industry. I write lyrics and poems.”

Khan believes that young Pakistanis needs to be made aware of the services and approach of Allama Mashriqi. For this reason, she is going to publish a book on his life and work. “The book, which I have co-authored, is in the editing process. It will be launched in a couple of months,” she says.

“I believe that many people will only learn about Allama Mashriqi’s one-year, age-19 master’s in mathematics, through the book. He completed five three-year courses at Cambridge in four years. Cambridge University bestowed him the honorary titles of Foundation Scholar and Wrangler.”

Khan also hopes to preserve articles and artefacts belonging to Allama Mashriqi. “Among those is a 1942-model Renault-Benz Mercedes, gifted to the Allama by Adolf Hitler,” she tells TNS.

The writer is a journalist based in Lahore who reports on politics, economy and militancy. He can be reached on Twitter @HassanNaqvi5

Preserving a legacy