Goans have been
enterprising from the very early days of their coming to Kurrachee. From
1850s onwards there were instances where Goan establishments were already
The Indian Life Assurance Company (ILACO) which was established in 1892,
one of the biggest and most trusted assurance/insurance companies in the
sub-continent was started purely started as a Goan institution by
The only mill in Karachi during pre-partition was the India Flour Mill
(also known as the Goa Mill) a Goan enterprise and the only printing
press, the Union Press, at that time was also a Goan business initiative.
The Bliss & Co, a pharmaceutical company with offices on Elphinstone
Street (Saddar) and a factory in Catholic Colony, was a Misquita entity.
The Alpha Insurance Company Limited, incorporated in 1951 was headed by
Valentine Gonsalves, a popular Goan, until his recent retirement, as its
longest serving managing director. Valentine has also served the Vincent
de Paul Society dedicatedly at national and international forums,
respectively; and is currently the President of the KGA.
Louis Rodrigues was another enterprising Goan whose SMILE (St. Mary's
Industrial & Light Engineering) steel-fabrication unit in Korangi, the
Bedrock Co., doing road construction, demolition works and housing
projects, and later on a garment factory were a great success. His
daughter Pamela Rodrigues (who qualified as an architect) is currently the
Country Representative of Water Aid in Pakistan in Islamabad.
Goan concerns that were prominent and prosperous in the early days were as
follows: in the furniture business: J.S. De Souza Furniture Merchants (who
crafted the all-wood high-altar in St. Lawrence's Church), J.C. Misquita
Furniture Company, S.M. Dias Furniture Company and Filip & Company; the
bakers & confectioners included: J.C. Misquita (its hot-cross buns still a
sell-out on Good Fridays), P.F. Pereira & Sons and Lawrence Bakery
(cocktail patties!); the tailors and outfitters were: Raphael De Souza &
Son, Jack Braganza, David De Souza & Son, J.S. Fernandes, M.B. Fernandez
(high class civil & military tailors) and Albert Fernandes & Son; in music
ad accessories, Haydn & Co, Godin & Co and Cajetan & Co.
Two popular wine stores included the Sind Wine Store and the British Wine
Store on Frere Street; I. Sequeira Photographers (who captured the
country's earliest historic pictures), the two typing & shorthand
institutes included the Catholic Commercial Institute on Elphi and St.
Xavier's on Preedy Street; the two renowned tobacconists Rodrigues & Co
and S.P. Pereira & Sons; Anthony Coutinho & Co. (the only quality
undertakers in the city), the Machado's Cap Shop in Capitol Cinema lane,
the Paul's Toy Shop, British Toyland, the ration shop of C.X. Pereira,
charcoal merchants D'Costa & Company, R.J. Fernandes, the general
stationery shop, Sind Wine Stores and Victor Brothers Chemists are some of
the names which bring back a lot of memories of the Karachi of yore!
The delicious ceremonious cake made on the occasion of Karachi's first
civic reception on August 25, 1947 in honor of Quaid-e-Azam Mohamed Ali
Jinnah, Governor-General of Pakistan Dominion, was prepared and baked at
the famed P.F. Pereira & Sons, Bakers & Confectioners which was
established in 1922. (*)
Today, there are a number of Goans who have set-up their own businesses in
Pakistan, from engineering and marketing consultancy,
building/construction and contractual services to real-estate companies,
including retail outlets, catering services, fashion boutiques and
marriage bureaus. Roland deSouza's FND Electrical Contracting Services,
Alfred Fonseca's Speedy Automation and Trevor Castellino's 'ETC' clothing
designer-brand have made a mark for themselves in the country. The Goan
Diaspora in Pakistan is here to stay.