Wednesday, 8 May 2013

PAN-ISLAMIC STEAMSHIP CO. LTD

The Pan Islamic Steamship Company was established by the legend and visionary Mr. A. H. Ismail and Mr. A. D. Ahmed who were said to be employee of Muhammadi Steamship Co. owned by Kasim Dada and Valika Family. They resigned from company and embarked upon establishing a shipping company in the private sector under the name and style of Pan Islamic Steamship Company (PISC) in year 1950


The company was incorporated at Karachi in April, 1950. Obtained certificate for commencement of business in October, 1950 and was admitted on the list of the Karachi Stock Exchange in October, 1952.

One of the principal objectives of setting-up the service was to carry pilgrims.

The founders of PISC being ex-employees had financial restraints thus they tried to raise money by selling shares locally and almost in all Islamic countries so that funds are raised to buy first vessel. During the year 1954 PISC acquired two passenger vessels Safina-e-Murad which was yacht of Shah Farooq of Egypt and Four Mast SS Safina-e-Arab (1). Prior to acquiring these vessels passenger services between East & West Pakistan was under control of British India Navigation Company (BI) which was operating passenger ship “Aronda” between Karachi and Chittagong. Due to progressive marketing and possessing two passenger ships, PISC was able to force BI to stop their operation between East & West Pakistan. The fares offered were much cheaper than BI thus PISC established first passenger cum cargo link by sea between East & West Pakistan and most of the troops and passengers were carried onboard these vessels. Once the passenger service was established the management ventured to replace Bombay based Mughal Lines, which was catering for Pilgrims from Karachi and Chittagong on their vessels “Islami” and “Muhammadi”. In 1958 PISC acquired TSS Safina-e-Hujjaj an ex-P&O with passenger capacity of over 2500, which could easily cater needs of maritime transportation of Pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. The company was financially well established by then and its shares were selling around Rs.400/- plus. Its shares were listed in capital market since its inception. The Management decided to build a new passenger vessel Safina-e-Arab in 1960 at Cadiz, Spain and in 1961 vessel was placed into passenger / pilgrim service. The company continued to acquire passenger ships and the last ship acquired was MV Safina-e-Abid from China Steamship Navigation Company, Hong Kong in 1970 while Safina-e-Arab (I). Safina-e-Murad and other vessels were scrapped. The company had a fleet of cargo vessels also, namely Safina-e-Tariq, Safina-e-Barkat, Safina-e-Jamhoriyat, Safina-e-Ismail, Safina-e-Nusrat and Safina-e-Ahmar. At one time it was largest private company having 10 vessels in their fleet. The passenger management and manning system adopted by PISC was based on P&O management and this has been largely beneficial to Pakistani mariners who made their big name such as Capt. M. J. Sayeed who was the first Master of Safina-e-Arab (I) and thereafter he established Neptune Orient Line of Singapore.


Unfortunately in 1974 when the company was at its peak and had 10 vessels, the company was nationalized along with other private companies and its flag ship Safina-e-Hujaj and other were scrapped during the course of nationalization. In 1980 the President of Pakistan on the plea of the Saudi share holders and the Chairman of the company, denationalized the company and the Management was taken over by the ex-owners of PISC. The owners did not loose heart and re-ventured by acquiring Safina-e-Barkat with the financial help of DMI Geneva. The company also acquired Safina-e-Ismail (II), a cargo vessel and continued their operation till 1997. After the sad demise of its owner Mr. A. D. Ahmad in 1993, the company could not be managed and it was closed in 1997 by scrapping its passenger and cargo vessels (Mr. Abdul Hameed Ismail had already left the company due to sharp differences with Mr. A. D. Ahmad). It was very serious setback to Pakistani Seafarers as the passenger vessels were employing maximum seafarers onboard to cater for needs of Pilgrims between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately the closure of the company in private sector discouraged new entrepreneurs.

The PISC made its mark on the maritime map of Pakistan and it shall always be known as pioneer being:

i)                    The first Pakistani public sector company to commence passenger cum cargo service between the erstwhile East & West Pakistan in 1950’s.
ii)                   The first Pakistani company to carry pilgrims from East & West Pakistan to Saudi Arabia 1958.
iii)                 The first Pakistani company to operate passenger service Karachi / Bombay and East Africa route in 1962.
iv)                The first Pakistani company to start cargo service between East & West Pakistan to United States in 1958.
v)                  The first Pakistani company to start regular passenger service between Karachi and Gulf ports in 1972.

24 comments:

  1. What a great and detailed piece of info.... Good work Nisha Riz.

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  2. Nisha you have some factual information missing. You have left out the 3rd most important Founder Mr. A.K. Rafiq

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Nisha I am afraid you are wrong!!! Ismail saheb passed away in year aroud 1962 (I was cadet on SE Jamhooriyat).
    Otherwise very interesing article.

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  5. please tell as your contact number in india

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  6. In 1964 I served as a doctor on Safina Hujjaj and what an experience it was.

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  7. Mr. A.D. Ahmed was my maternal uncle - my mother's brother. Thanks for sharing this information. Adnan

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    1. ASSALAM O ALIKUM KINDLY CONTECT ME. BECAUSE WE FOUND SOME UNCLAIMED ASSETS OF A.D AHMED. panjaconsultants@gmail.com
      IMRAN PANJA

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  8. I have served as 5th engineer on board Safina e Arab in 1990-1991 and as 4th engineer at Safina-e-Ismail-2 in 1994-1995. These are unforgettable days of my life. Any brother who served in these years on these vessels may contact at mkspk674@hotmail.com and share past nice moments....

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    1. Hi uncle my grandfather used to own shares in this company since the 1950s. Can I claim it or inquire about it, for example?

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  9. Would like to see Ad Ahmed old pics of possible

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  10. Thanks to share this article but you also forget main and important name ahmed saalim alvi who was a actual founder of that company and he was my grand father my mother told meevrything about this company

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  11. Salam, is PISC still exist? Do you know any contact person for PISC ? am tracking Hajj vessels from Asia for a documentary

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  12. Dear People

    A Malaysian has three pieces of shares paper stating of its ownership investor way back in 1955.

    Do u still know who to contact to redeem his shares please.

    Appreciate your replies.
    Thank you

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  13. I have also some shares of this company in the name of my grandfather. from 1960s and 1970s.

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  14. assalamualaykom

    Mr Safeerullah.

    You are not alone. My uncle has 3 lots.

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  15. My husband have shares in pan Islamic from 1970 we have all the papers how can we do

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  16. My name is Ahmed Sami Kutbi I need to know how can I communicate with you Thank you

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  18. Hi all my grandfather's used to own shares in this company since the 1950s. Can I claim it or inquire about it, for example?

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  19. Can any know about her workers pensions?

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