It is December 2017. I live in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam with my wife. We came here two years ago when CCL Pharmaceuticals Pakistan acquired a manufacturing unit here and relocated me as its General Director.

HCMC, as it is mostly called, is like Karachi. It is the commercial capital of Vietnam with a modern look and feel. People are friendly, and everyone goes about their own life without nose-poking others. There are only two weathers; rainy and dry. Both last for 6 months each. The temperature stays between 25Co and 35Co year-round. HCMC is dotted with coffee shops and restaurants everywhere and anywhere, and they all do business.

I turned 60 in August 2016 and retired as per rules, but was given a contract to continue working. I enjoy work here. It is challenging, yet exciting. Of course, I shall finally retire from a regular job sooner or later.

Retirement is a good or bad time, whichever way we look at it. I do have a good feeling though about the time ahead.

My career spans over 42 years and it has all been Pharma. The career story is rather simple.

An average person with minimum education got into a job he was not particularly cut-out for, stumbled along for 42 years, and grew from entry position to C-Suite.

Allah is Gracious. And lots of people helped me on this long journey. They supported me in every possible way; they shaped me into what I am, and they lit the path of my career for me. A long career is most likely not a fairy tale. It would have many ups and down and I did have plenty.

I am hugely, deeply and irrevocably indebted to all men and women who were my mentors, colleagues, friends and tormentors. I carry profound and unbound gratitude to them. Some are not among us anymore, but many are. I am telling my story, not for my sake, but to pay homage and humble respect to my dear ones.

It is not a historical document. It is a personal account. No matter what we say about keeping personal and work life separate, the line between them becomes fuzzy. It is as much my work story as it is my personal.

Why should this story be told? For three (good) reasons. One, looking at my achievements and failings may help the younger colleagues to design a better course for their career; two, the lessons I learnt the hard way may bring ease to some people; and three, I must pay gratitude to the fine people who made invaluable contribution to my life.

I wish and hope that my effort will motivate more people to share their stories and PharmaVeterans Blog will also see guest blogs on its site in time to come.

Fond Regards.

Asrar Qureshi

HCMC – December 3, 2017


  1. Sir! Its a great idea.I am excited and really looking upto it.I hope there will be alot to learn from your career insight.Wish you all the best!

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