Pakistani tailor adds former US president to star-studded list of clients

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Sarfraz Akbar can be seen with former United States President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Imran Khan in these pictures displayed at the main counter of his shop. (AN Photo)
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Sarfraz Akbar and his family with former President George W. Bush (Photo provided by Sarfraz Akbar)
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Sarfraz Akbar is taking measurement of former President George W. Bush for his suits (Photo Courtesy Social Media)
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Sarfraz Akbar with former United States President George W. Bush at his residence in Dallas, USA. (Photo provided by Sarfraz Akbar)Sarfraz Akbar can be seen with former United States President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Imran Khan in these pictures displayed at the main counter of his shop. (AN Photo)
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Sarfraz Akbar with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad (Photo provided by Sarfraz Akbar)
Updated 15 February 2019

Pakistani tailor adds former US president to star-studded list of clients

  • The 36-year-old outfitter has built a customer list of famous names from the sporting, show business and political worlds
  • His family enterprise was established more than 100 years ago and operated from large shop premises in Kolkata, India

KARACHI: It is probably safe to say that tailor to the stars Sarfraz Akbar has the market for celebrity clients all sewn up.

The 36-year-old outfitter has built a customer list of famous names from the sporting, show business and political worlds through his reputation for making high-quality garments.

And now Akbar, who works for his family business at shops in an affluent neighborhood of Pakistan’s port city of Karachi, can add a former American president to his star-studded client base.

During a trip to the US in July last year, he was invited by an American-Pakistani friend to meet with George W. Bush.

“I was super-excited when along with my wife and daughters we boarded my friend’s private jet and flew from Houston to Dallas,” Akbar told Arab News.

After taking measurements of the former US president, he returned to Pakistan and made several suits for him, before dispatching them to Dallas in December 2018.

“My happiness doubled when I got a call from the US informing me that the former president had appreciated my work after wearing the suits,” Akbar said.

Akbar’s father Mohammed said his son had built up a distinguished list of Pakistani personalities he has worked for. 

“By earning praise from George W. Bush, my son has not only made me proud but it’s also a matter of pride for all Pakistanis.”

The youngest of three brothers, Akbar has brought fame to the family name and business, his father added.

The family enterprise was established more than 100 years ago and operated from large shop premises in Kolkata. The family moved from the Indian city after the inception of Pakistan.

The business now has two shops under the “Ambassador” brand name in the Zamzama district of Karachi. 

“We could have opened dozens of outlets, but we believe in quality. The materials we use are imported and we focus on precision,” said Akbar. 

“It’s handmade, customized work. We don’t sell readymade stuff.

“However, we’re now getting people coming to us from other cities wanting to have their wardrobes from the tailor of George W. Bush. Some clients even ask to have their photos taken with me.”

Akbar said he has always had big ambitions. Following matriculation in 1999, he continued his studies but opted at the same time to focus on the family business with a view to taking it to new heights after his graduation.

When the Indian cricket team toured Pakistan during 2005-2006, Akbar made clothes for all the Indian players. 

“Almost all the Pakistani players including Wasim Akram, Misbah-ul-Haq, Sarfraz Ahmed and Shahid Afridi — the latter being a regular customer – have worn our wardrobes too,” Akbar said.

He also designed kurta shalwar clothing for West Indian player and Peshawar Zalmi skipper, Darren Sammy, during the last season of the Pakistan Super League.

Akbar also has a long list of political clients including Pakistan’s former leader Pervez Musharraf, incumbent President Dr. Arif Alvi, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Sindh Gov. Imran Ismail. “I made a waistcoat for Imran Khan after he was sworn in as the premier of Pakistan,” he said.

Summing up his achievements to date, Akbar said: “You can be proud of yourself and your family, but you just need to focus on your work and work hard.”


Bollywood to make movie on Pakistan air strikes

Updated 23 August 2019

Bollywood to make movie on Pakistan air strikes

  • The new movie is set to be produced by Vivek Oberoi
  • Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947

NEW DELHI: Bollywood is to make a movie on the "true story" of Indian air strikes on Pakistan this year, its producer said Friday, the latest patriotic film to hit the silver screen.
The February 26 attack took place after a suicide bombing claimed by a militant group based in Pakistan killed 40 Indian troops on February 14 in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Pakistan then carried out its own raid over the de-facto border in Kashmir before the two nuclear-armed countries stepped back from the brink of another conflict.
India said that in the raid, its aircraft successfully attacked a training camp at Balakot and killed "a very large number" of "terrorists", but doubts have been raised about its efficacy.
The new movie is set to be produced by Vivek Oberoi, who starred in a flattering biopic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the release of which was delayed so as not to interfere with this year's election.
It will also tell the story of handlebar-moustached Abhinandan Varthaman, an Indian pilot who was shot down in the raid and then handed over by Pakistan, becoming a national hero.
"As a proud Indian, a patriot, and a member of the film fraternity, it's my duty to highlight what our armed forces are truly capable of," Oberoi was quoted as saying by Indian media.
"This film is a powerful tool to underline the achievements of brave officers like Wing Commander Abhinandan, who went behind the enemy lines and did what makes every Indian proud of them," said Vivek.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full and have fought two wars over it.
Earlier this month India stripped its part of the region's autonomy, sending tens of thousands of extra troops and imposing a lockdown and a communications blackout that on Friday entered its 19th day.