Mr. Isphanyar Bhandara is a Pakistani businessman, politician, and parliamentarian. Mr. Bhandara joined his family business in 1998. After working at various departments/positions within the company, he was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Murree Brewery Group of Companies on the demise of his father in June 2008. He has represented and helped many Minority communities of Pakistan like Parsis, Sikhs, Baha’is, Buddhists, Kalash and others.
History of the Brewery
Murree Brewery is a public limited company and the oldest company on the sub continent’s stock exchange.It started in 1860 in Gohra Gali, Murree mountains. Founded by the British at the time of the Raj to cater for the needs of the British troops stationed in present day Pakistan, it continued to work at Gohra Gali from 1860 to about 1890. Then it was shifted to Rawalpindi, at present location. It came into our family in 1947 when my grandfather bought over the majority shares from the British at the time of partition and one had to decide whether he had to be on Pakistan side or the other, and my grandfather decided to buy the shares and stay on
We make very famous brands like Bigg Apple & Lemon Malt, we make non-alcoholic beers, we make fruit juices and we make mineral water. I must say that all the drinks that are available in the market, don’t have nutrition in their products, whereas our products are made from malt and barley. Moreover, other drinks are color based; they don’t have a any nutritional value. I do not allow my young children to have energy drinks and other color drinks because they are not good for health. Our products are not artificial; they are actually made from malt, wheat and barley.
So other than alcoholic products, we have a long range of non-alcoholic products, beverages juices, ketchups. Everything we do, we do ethically. We are ISO 9000 certified. We have certification from the government of Punjab, from federal departments, PSQCA and we have ‘hilal’ certificate for our non-alcoholic products
We do not compromise on quality. We keep quality conscious staff and we do not compromise on raw materials and most of our raw material is imported.
As a Member of Parliament
During last three years as MNA, despite the limited resources, I did my best to serve the community. An MNA gets only two to three crore rupees in one year whereas, an MPA gets about fifteen to twenty five crores. So whatever limited resources I received, I put it in my constituency for the welfare of Kalasha people. We have given projects and
schemes worth two crore rupees in Kalasha. I have built small community centers in South Punjab and interior Sindh for minorities. I have helped them through my own pocket and via the government but I would appeal and protest with my own government that the funds being given to MNAs is a laughing stock. In such a situation how can you expect from any one to deliver. People also expect projects to be executed, financial aid to be given. The funds are less, but I have done what I can do in my limited capacity and will continue in future also.
Present Govt. Policies & Business Environment
The business environment in Pakistan is not friendly. Government departments try their best to harass business
people as well as corporate houses, which discourages growth and businesses in general. The present government
is trying to improve policies, promoting business environment but the bureaucrats, as per their old habits, are not supportive of the vision of our Prime Minister. Corruption and creating hurdles have become a mindset.
A businessman is seen in this country as a fat cow. When you will squeeze a businessman, he will cry, he will shift
his industry to Bangladesh, China or somewhere else. Then why are you yelling at foreigners to come into Pakistan?
Why are you begging when your own businessman is suffering? The Prime Minister has made it very clear that
we want business. But the flawed bureaucratic policies are not made by the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister.
A bureaucrat in this country has too much power, which should be curtailed.
Message to the Nation
There is a message which a German told me, He said; look at Germany which was totally destroyed in World War II. Look where they are today. Look at Japan which was totally destroyed. Look where they are today; almost number one economy in the world, just a small island. I am a Pakistani, and I am proud of it. The problem with our people is that whether he is rich or poor, everyone wants to become Bill Gates overnight, without any hard work. Bill Gates became Bill Gates over a number of years, twenty years, thirty years or his lifetime. If I became rich, my elders did
their work, twenty years, thirty years or forty years. But I shall not blame every Pakistani. Generally, a person who became rich, he became rich overnight. Now when a poor person looks at him, he thinks, if he can become rich overnight, why not him/her? So he also tries to do similar things. Hence, no one wants to work honestly. Everyone is in search of a short cut. But this tendency will not work; it’s a curse. We have to abandon this mentality and have to work hard, day and night, to move forward.