Pakistan is the place for young entrepreneurs aiming to launch their budding business ideas into the world. Imtisal Zafar is a prominent name among these entrepreneurs taking full advantage of all opportunities thrown their way.
Zafar is successfully running not one, not two, but three business ventures, and he has no plans of stopping anytime soon. He’s dabbled into different fields over his career – with the revolutionary Pakistan Art Forum (PAF), a glamorous event management company Verve, and a fun-filled music festival named Wired.
In conversation with Sunday Times, Zafar opened up about his journey, and one thing that impressed us was his passion for each of his businesses. Zafar is the perfect embodiment of the saying, choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
Launching His Career
His business mind’s been at work since 2007 while he was a student at LUMS working for an event management company. After the job ended, the seed was planted in his mind and he decided to continue on his own, and so Verve Events was born.
Recalling his journey, he retraces his steps to the first event he arranged for a family member in 2007, creating the path for his biggest break – the PSL closing ceremony in 2017. Cricket came home after ten years, and Verve was chosen to hold the ceremony at Qaddafi stadium. Despite all security concerns, not only was the event a success, but Zafar mentions his proudest moment, the dismantling of all set up in a record 18 minutes.
Given that he is a movie buff, he’s fond of hosting movie premiers; especially Marvel hits like X-Men and Avengers. In contrast, the company is an expert at PR events, themed parties, and their esteemed exclusive Halloween and New Year’s events.
Zafar proudly spoke about his involvement in hosting the annual Special Olympics Ball in Islamabad – another career highlight – alongside the major hit Sufi Night at the Governor House. Verve Events knows no bounds, whether it’s a restaurant, aesthetics clinic, or fashion week, they’ve worked with them all.
First of Its Kind Forum
However, Zafar is most renowned as the founding force behind PAF, Pakistan’s first and largest digital art forum – another project born from his love of all things art. After studying the market, he realized that the Pakistan art scene lacked diversity and accessibility.
Zafar ventures towards institutes like Jamshoro University, Gujrat University, and NCA Pindi to bridge the gap and bring the unsung heroes into the limelight.
PAF initially started from a Facebook Forum in 2014, which still stands with over 40,000 active art enthusiasts selling and buying artwork. His page is a free resource for all budding talent to display their work free of cost because Zafar believes that it’s a field that deserves to be recognized and celebrated without a price tag.
PAF also set up its website earlier this year to provide local artists with international exposure and the opportunity of a lifetime to sell their work to a global market. Zafar spoke about his excitement for the future in an exclusive statement he made to Sunday Times, hinting at a physical PAF gallery which we’ll be seeing opening its doors in March 2022.
Turning His Love Into a Reality
Zafar’s final venture, Wired, is a passion project that started from his love for collecting music he discovered on his travels across the world. Using Shazam to find new songs from different parties and clubs he visited, he finally had a curated playlist at a private event for his friends back in 2015.
The success of his event led him to set up the company, which has now gone across borders to call in artists from Greece, Brazil, and the USA to play music at exclusive parties thrown by Wired. Zafar prides his events for their guest list featuring a select group of A-List celebrities and music enthusiasts vetted by the team to ensure a safe space for everyone.
While Wired does run into trouble with hosting their musical events given the premature music industry in Pakistan, he hopes for a bright future. Wired is back in business after a two-year hiatus due to Covid, with plans to expand the music festival to an international audience somewhere in 2022.