Khwaja Günther Nabi Ansari, 26/Jinnah

Kh. Gunther Nabi Ansari - 2010

By Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui, 671/Latif

Khwaja Günther Nabi Ansari (popularly known as K.G.N. Ansari or "KGNA"), kit no. 26/Jinnah House joined Cadet College Petaro in 1957 in the first entry in Jinnah House, and left the college in 1959 after completing 9th class.

He was born on 19 March 1942 at Agra, UP, India, and got married to Mrs. Saleha Talat on 15 July 1989. KGNA has five children. Zarminae and Adnan Ali are from his first wife who he had married in 1968.  Taimur Kamran, Umair Kamran are sons of Mrs. Saleha and their last child is Abeer Ali.

KGNA hails from an illustrious family of Saharanpur, UP in India, stemming from the descendents of the erstwhile Multan governorate. His late father Dr. Khwaja Ali Akhter Ansari was a Ph.D. in Mughal Architecture from Berlin and Vienna back in the 1920s. On his return to British India, he was appointed a minister in Alwar State for B&R. Later on, he was inducted into the Indian Civil Service (ICS). During the years before the creation of Pakistan, he was appointed Dy. Director General in the Archeological Survey of India under the famous archeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler (1944-1947). Dr. Ansari did all the work in the remote and wild regions of India, and Mortimer Wheeler took all the credit as the head of department and being British by origin. Dr. Ansari was also Professor of Archeology at the University of Delhi, and has several archeological excavations to his credit including the Badrinath Temple and Kedarnath Temple which are located in the Himalayas in the Garhwal Hill Tracts - over 10,000 ft above sea level.

Another memorable public task entrusted to KGNA’s father Dr. Khwaja Ali Akhter Ansari was the restoration of the famous Badshahi Masjid of Lahore during the same period as the work done on the Himalayan temples. This historial mosque had been substantially damaged in past years due to crossfire on the Lahore Fort (which stands opposite the mosque) during the Sikh wars. Dr. Ansari's work included almost complete professional rebuilding and restoration of one of the most damaged minarets to bring it back to its original form. His secret was his research into identifying the remnants of the stonemasonry artisans of yesteryear who had preserved the art within their families through generations, locating the Rajhastani red sandstone quarries for the exactness of colour & vein-flow, and structural strength to match the original remnants. In addition, he had to locate the suitable site-supervisory engineering staff to oversee the job. Dr. Ansari’s name and signature are inscribed on the final drawings and blueprints of this entire restoration work as the Supervising Engineer, Architect, and Civil Engineer.

KGNA's mother was a professional in her own right. She used to work from home as a District Representative for the now Internationally renowned Pharmaceutical Giant "CIPLA". She would also provide medical care and treatment to the neighbouring villagers who were day workers at the construction of the Garden Bungalow on the fruit farm site in the precincts of Durnkari village on Chilkana Road. Their love and dedication is exhibited in the fact that the construction of the house (material and labour) was so robust that decades later it stood in its majesty as late as 1978/9 when KGNA made his last visit to that area. The mango orchard which she had planted next to the house was also in full bloom.

His childhood was spent mostly at the ancestral base at Saharanpur, which is located in the valley just below Simla. His father was based at Simla during summers in particular being a government employee. The old ancestral home and mosque were attached to the "Nabi" Building which was in commercial use, and not far from their fruit farm - a 45 minute tonga ride away. The mare attached to the tonga was given the name "Minna" by KGNA's eldest brother late Capt.PN(R) Kh. Fazle Haider Ansari, who also used to ride it around the farm and the area.

Upon the birth of Pakistan, his father Dr. Ansari moved to Karachi in 1947 along with his family which included the young KGNA.

KGNA was admitted to St. Patricks Boys High School in Karachi in 1948. He remained at this school until 1957, when he joined Cadet College Mirpurkhas (later on to be known as Petaro) among the first batch of the 30 cadets.

K.G.N. Ansari was one of the best athletes from the first entry. He was twice the champion in 800m race. He was recognized for his leadership capabilities, and was appointed the first College JUO (equivalent to an SUO) while he was at CCP, i.e. from 1957-1959.

He was a member of the Photography Club at CCP, and Senior Scout Patrol Leader to National Scout Camp at Ghoragali in 1958 under the patronage of Mr. Abdullah Khadim Hussain.

After a little over 2 years at Mirpurkhas and just around the time that the college moved to Petaro, KGNA left the college. He could not cope with having compulsory Sindhi or Arabic learning, and decided to move on in life. So he completed his Matric privately after leaving Petaro in 1960 from Karachi and then joined SM Science College to do his FSc. However, he got an opportunity and left for Germany from where he obtained his Industriekaufmann degree (equivalent to MBA in Industrial Management) in 1965 from Siemens Lehrgemeinschaft at Munich.

He started his career with Siemens AG in Germany in 1965 soon after his graduation, and moved on to work for the same company in East Pakistan between 1966-1970. He then joined Esso Pakistan Fertilizer Company (now known as Engro) as District Sales Manager between 1970-1973 followed by his job with Kohinoor Group (Saigols) as Export Manager between 1973-1978.

That year, he moved to Saudi Arabia, and became the Project Manager for "Purolator" OEM Automotive Filter Plant in Dammam. He worked with them from 1979 to 1987.

In 1992-1993, KGNA worked for the German government "TreuhandAnstalt" as Project Consultant to develop projects from concept stage through Profit and Loss Prognosis including Feasibility Studies and MBO/MBI Studies.

From 1994 onwards, he worked with different renowned trading houses in Pakistan as General Manager Operations and Exports. Products dealt in included pharmaceuticals, textiles and other goods, exporting to Nigeria, Male, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Yemen, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Myanmar.

During 2005-2006, he set up his own business Shamrock Inc for water filtration systems and hazardous element removal techniques.

Between 2006-2009, he was employed with Popular Fabrics (Pvt) Ltd as General Manager Corporate Affairs and New German Markets. His expertise was primarily in the areas of Foreign Bad debts resolution & related liaison with Ministries, Banks, Law Practitioners & Agencies in foreign country. In addition, he was assigned to extend export business in the German-speaking regions.

Since 2009, he is a working Partner in a textiles sourcing firm IKTEX, Karachi for international clients.

KGNA spent many years in Germany and is fluent in the German language. He is also fluent in Bengali and Arabic in addition to other native languages of Pakistan like Sindhi, Punjabi and Urdu.

His sports activities continued after Petaro as well. He was quite a marksman and won a Gold Medal in Open Sight 100m Rifle Shooting at the Pakistan National Games in 1988. He also won the Silver Medal in Rapid Firing Pistol Shooting in 1970. Talking of how he got into becoming a marksman, he wrote the following fascinating narrative to me:

"I will share with you, how I came about to becoming a much decorated marksman. Actually, the makings of it started since childhood when I was an avid shooter, mimicking my elder siblings, and having dabbled in shikaar as a youngster, shooting migratory starlings (Tillyar) which were uniquely different in coloring (Pink-Breasted, as opposed to black with white speckles, as in the Punjab). We used to "halaal karo" these great-tasting birds as per the dictates of my late parents, who both exhorted upon us to "Never kill / shoot that which you cannot eat; and only shoot that quantity which you can eat after having helped to cook the downed game at home". Ever since I was a small toddler in our home garden house in Saharanpur, I actually saw my own Dad returning home from Shikaar with ONLY one hind leg (Raan) of the deer he'd shot. And when I asked my Mom about the reason, she most kindly explained that it is incumbent upon the successful hunter to distribute the downed Game amongst the "not-so-lucky" members of the Shikaari pals, after he has taken his just share.

"So we used to make a small "Choola" (stove) at home in the garden, with the help of three available bricks, pillaged Ghee & Spices and borrowed utensils from Mom's kitchen, and got on with our nocturnal pursuits.

"We'd clean the birds, and thereafter have a nice co-conspiratorial & brotherly snack-meal, in the firelight from our makeshift choola!

  1. "The above led me to steadily upgrade to a better shooter. I evolved into an average marksman, and in  early 1957, won the 5th position in the "Men's Group" in the national small bore 25mtr open-sight rifle class event. Commissioner Karachi gave me my merit certificate, plus a special prize of an air rifle as a consolation prize because I was the youngest in that (Men's)  category. The commissioner's son too wanted to be obliged, but could not do so until my transfer to the "Mens' Group" from the boys group, where I had excelled amongst our age peers! Hence I shot with my "Newly Assigned Peers", in the adult men's group, and acquiesced with my yet earned second choice.
  2. "In the meantime, in early 1957 my revered father expired at Karachi, and I left the St.Pat's High School from the Junior Cambridge 9th Class, to join CCM in Mirpurkhas, after the customary tests and checks.   
  3. "After I did my private Matriculation from Karachi, that was ultimately delayed up to 1960, due to Urdu, I enrolled into the PAF's Shaheen Air Corps, and started my love to fly in their Glider Corps. Again, yet in August 1960, I got my "Triple-Gull wing" Gliding "C" Badge from President Gen. Ayub Khan, on the Samungli (Quetta Military Airfield), where all the 120 Air Scout Cadets were encamped for the then annual "C" wings award parade. I won the word-of-command and "Leadership" capability, thanks to ample practice at CCM, now CC-Petaro. I led the wings parade that eventful day, after presenting the President with the Guard of Honor, which he inspected with my accompaniment, (despite my beret almost slipping down!). AVM Asghar Khan and AVM Nur Khan, (our epitome of heroes!) were there too, behind myself and Gen Ayub Khan during the Guard-of-Honor inspection.
  4. "I joined the 37th GD(P) course of the PAF in 1962, after finally clearing my "Appeal Medical Board" despite the newly discovered ailment of trachoma in the eyes, as a result of exposure to dust. This was later overruled. The tests were held in the CMB at the CMH in Peshawar.
  5. "Here, in Risalpur I had the early honors of being the "Right Marker" of my part of the contingent accompanying the senior Graduating Wings awardees.        
  6. "I also held the unbroken highest score record of PAF-Risalpur Shooting (Big-Bore .303 bolt-action, Enfield rifle) whilst I was there in the GD(P) group of the 37th entry.
  7. "Nevertheless, after (late) Sultan Afridi, kit no.33 joined in, and left from the 38th GD(P), to attend other duties that he was entrusted to, I left the PAF due to a small mishap in the third term, after having already started to fly the gliders there, on the basis of my previous flying experience in the PAF's sponsored Air Scouts wing. I still hold a renewable Private Pilot's License for C-150/152 Cessna!.
  8. "After I left Risalpur, I was at a real loss about what to do, after my "Martial World" literally collapsed accidentally.
  9. "So, Again, in 1962, my late Mum re-directed my attention to completing my education abroad with the sponsorship of a German multinational.
  10. "There I completed my studies and Articleship, and in 1965, and passed (Just scraped through!) with a 2.5 grade point result in the 1.0 - 5.0 Scale, where 1.0 was supreme!
  11. "Due to my (apparent) fluency in English, I got a related supplemental endorsement on my final report to that effect. This 'License to Practice' was then the so called epitome of respectable study and articleship of the day for that point in time."

Among other hobbies is his love for flying. He has been into private single-engine aircraft and glider flying. He loves outdoors trekking. And he also won the Distinction Shield in Art Work.

KGNA has been very active with the Petarian Association as well, and has served on its Managing Committee, and has also chaired the Elections Committee.

While KGNA moved on into business, his father's tradition has been inherited by his eldest daughter Zarminae, who specialized in Islamic Architecture with her Masters degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

KGNA presently has his home at Karachi.