‘Unless it’s completely impossible, don’t tell me it can’t be done’ is Zar’s life motto. If he could, he would be sitting on top of a million-pound empire. A property mogul, a law-abiding wise guy, a typhoon of luxuries he would have jetted off from country to country, continent to continent without an ounce of doubt of his expenses. Dining at Sublimotion, Masa, and Mason pic the world’s finest restaurants. But like lion’s make scarifies to feed their cubs, Zar sacrificed his business ventures for his four cubs, which become his new immense desire to succeed, despite his odds as an ethnic minority.
Britain, home to 64 million people, has recently become progressively diverse in cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, and London. Different ethnic backgrounds and races have now become socially accepted. Unfortunately, this is not the case everywhere in Britain, Zar faced more significant problems then the ethnic minorities do now, in 2015 the Office for National Statistics found a 23% gap per hourly pay between black and white university graduates in addition to, blacks graduates are twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts. Which is a problem occurring in the 21st century, imagine in 1995 for the young and ambitions Zar, where xenophobia was skyrocketing.
Getting to the top of the ladder wasn’t as simple as it was for those who were just placed at the top. Zar grew up in the ‘favelas’ of Birmingham; even though he describes his childhood as ‘memorable,’ he did share a bedroom with four other siblings. Dr. Lawrence Brown expressed his views on ‘academic success not being reflected in employment’ a research conducted by Manchester University, Dr. Brown stated ‘A third of Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups in England and a fifth of its Black African, Black Caribbean, and Arab populations living in the country’s most deprived neighborhoods compared with 8% of the white British population.’ Despite Zar’s upbringing and his social expectations, he managed to break through, from the two-bedroom house in the ‘Favelas’ to owning his own six-bedroom house in the suburbs.
Zar said ‘my father always said that no matter how little or big the task is to give it your 110% and I have always stuck by that.’ For ethnic minorities in Britain, job opportunities were limited, and a huge percentage of that was due to racial discrimination, for Pakistani men there is a disproportionate clustering in the transport sector, and factories and Zar didn’t want society to choose his fate for him. He could see it happening around him from family members, to neighbors, to school friends they all wound up working as either a chauffeur, working at a factory, a take-out or worse resulted in a crime. ‘Life had much more to offer, and I wanted it…if you want to define all odds than give yourself no choice but to succeed.’ He said.
It was the year 2000; the tempo of the country had changed, the birth of technology was transforming the world. Zar was previously jumping from job to job, from MacDonald’s to putting frames together at a factory to a security guard at a graveyard until his mid-twenties. He was promoted less than six months into his new job and then opted to work for the first biggest flagship store in the West Midlands. The process as expected stood highly competitive and demanding, from over 200 applicants narrowed down to 60 interviews, and then finally the final stage of the meeting. With just Zar and another applicant. He said ‘I was required to work a lot harder during the interview stages in comparison to the other candidate who I spoke to long after the interview, wasn’t required to do as much, I was always closely monitored even after a £2 million revenue turnover. I felt I was up against “average Joes” who just looked the part.’ Three years later he was no longer the brown kid from the ‘Favelas’ he was far from irrelevant he finally starts deserving respect by many nevertheless even after working hard for a status; that took a turning.
In 2001 the world mourned for the unfortunate terror attack on Twin Towers, which later was the start of a hallmark for anti-Muslim hatred and a year later it was still stronger than before. For Zar and many others who suffered as an ethnic minority, he now had to be cautious with his religion. On a business trip to New York a year after the attack he was stripped and held at interrogation for hours with no valid reason. Being part of a small 1.9 percent of British Pakistanis, he explained that as a brown teenage in a white country racism was inevitable. The domino effect of racism later had many psychological impacts of thinking he was never good enough. ‘Even though I was born here and grew up here but for a good portion of my life, I never felt I was ever part of the British society’ in particular Zar’s insidious encounter with the members of The National Front, a far-right anti-immigration political party. At the age of 15 Zar accidentally rode his bike on their ‘side of the road’, which led to a physical and hostile confrontation, for something as small as riding his bike got him beat up.
Zar explained another significant incident at the brink of his success, at this point in his life he was a successful general manager and owned 5 properties and had traveled to multiple different countries. Driving back from a Liverpool football game he was stopped by local police, Zar was driving a new Audi A8, unlike his first car this car was valued much more. He pulled up on the left as requested by the police when Zar asked why he was pulled over? The police said under false pretext he drove past the red light. Zar did no such thing, but the police officer didn’t stop there he started a roadside interrogation, with questions such as where do you work? How did you purchase the car? Where did you buy the car? Zar said he felt ‘the police didn’t believe a brown man could own a car like that legally, and in addition to the insults they were giving me a maximum penalty, six points endorsed on my driver’s license.’ After a back and forth argument the police weren’t backing down, Zar felt compelled to take the incident to court. The court ordered CCTV footage of the event, to find out Zar, in fact, didn’t go through the red lights.
He explained that the racisms were one thing, but he felt the British people had such a low opinion of colored or ethnic minorities that he had to continually prove himself to them. “I finally feel British, yes there as still ignorant people about but they’re everywhere, I was offered many jobs aboard, from America to the Middle East to Australia but for the first time, it wasn’t about my ethnicity or race or religion that stopped me. I didn’t take those jobs because of my children, I had achieved some much, I still am, but I forgot my family during the process.”