Inspiring Leadership, Relentless Innovation: Meet Ayesha Dhedhi, Pakistan’s Youngest Female CEO in Real Estate

Pakistan's youngest female CEO in real estate sector explains the vision that underlies the Arkadian project in Karachi and the recent awards it won at the International Property Awards

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Given the importance of the construction industry in providing jobs and helping economic growth, the government recently launched a construction package – do you think this is sufficient to kick start the sector after Corona?

It was a historical package announced for the first time in Pakistan. I think it was a great support by the government to the sector and will help in creating jobs, and boost the economy. It will help to give confidence to people to invest more in real estate that has been in doldrums due to a number of reasons. It will also encourage expats to invest in the country and bring in the much-needed foreign exchange the country needs.

Construction is a male-dominated area – you were the first female and youngest CEO of a large construction project – the Arkadians – what obstacles did you face?

Despite being a non-engineer, I was very focused on my objectives. Being a female, of course I faced a lot of issues, as construction is a male dominated industry. So initially dealing with men was very difficult, but I spent an intensive period learning to get grip on the industry and adding to my knowledge on the sector, and I was very much appreciated and encouraged by them.

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Our understanding is that the Arkadians is a luxury development – why did you want to target that segment?

All the developers have overlooked this segment in the past. My father Mr Aqeel Karim Dhedhi (Chairman AKD Group) had a vision of providing a luxury living to the people of Pakistan and to provide a platform to expats to come back to their home country to invest in and live there. I was told by my father to focus on quality construction and make the best residential apartments for people of Pakistan.

The Arkadians project has recently won 2 prestigious awards from the International Property Awards (Asia Pacific Region) for 1) Residential High rise Architecture 2) Residential Interior Apartment (Award-Winning Exquisite Apartment) – what is the special thing the Arkadians brings?

The Arkadians comprises 13 residential towers, office enclaves and utility spaces and spans over 43 acres in DHA phase 8, Karachi. There are a couple of aspects which gave us the edge, which includes; iconic architecture, spacious apartments, finest quality, alluring aesthetics, prestigious location and breathtaking views.

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Your father, Aqeel Karim Dhedhi is a big personality in Pakistan’s business community – how were you able to put your own stamp on this project.

I will definitely give this credit to my father, how he trusted me with such a big project and empowered me to take the decisions for the project myself. He asked me to bring to life the vision of the Arkadians: “To provide a perfect blend of luxurious and world-class lifestyle, modern design and peaceful living that is ideal for both living and doing business in one of Karachi’s most desired neighbourhoods.”

I was always interested in interiors, I went abroad to do a course from Chelsea School of Arts, which really helped me especially when working alongside with our team of experts, Architects and Interior Designing team. I was wholly involved in this segment which helped me achieve the finest quality construction, and that’s how we set the benchmark for quality construction in Pakistan.

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