"Shahzada was a wonderful and generous man"
Tributes have been paid to British-based Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, who were among five people who perished aboard the Titanic tourist submarine.
They had been on the Titan, a submersible that had gone underwater to see the wreck of the Titanic.
However, the vessel lost signal, leading to a desperate search before the onboard oxygen ran out.
In a press conference on June 22, 2023, US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger confirmed that the search for Titan yielded debris that is “consistent with a catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber”.
The five people onboard were later confirmed to have died.
Tributes have now been paid to the five people.
Paying tribute to Shahzada Dawood and Suleman, the British Asian Trust said:
“The British Asian Trust is deeply saddened by the tragic news that our supporter Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman have passed away.
“They were on board the missing submarine that set off to see the wreck of the Titanic.
“Shahzada was a wonderful and generous man who supported our work in South Asia for many years, while his son was just emerging into adulthood with a promising future ahead.
“Our hearts and prayers are with family and friends at this unimaginable time of grief and loss. Our deepest condolences to them and everyone else who lost loved ones in this terrible incident.”
Shahzada was Vice-Chairman of Pakistani conglomerate Engro Corporation, which is a large fertiliser firm.
He worked with his family’s Dawood Foundation, as well as the SETI Institute, a California-based research organisation which searches for extra-terrestrial life.
His family issued an obituary, which read:
“With profound sorrow, we mourn the tragic loss of Shahzada and his beloved son, Suleman, who had embarked on a journey to visit the remnants of the legendary Titanic in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
“These beloved sons of the Dawood family were aboard the Ocean Gate submersible that has been presumed lost at sea.
“In this unfathomable tragedy, we try to find solace in the enduring legacy of humility and humanity that they have left behind and find comfort in the belief that they passed on to the next leg of their spiritual journey hand-in-hand, father and son.
“The relationship between Shahzada and Suleman was a joy to behold; they were each other’s greatest supporters and cherished a shared passion for adventure and exploration of all the world had to offer them.
“This unwavering curiosity built the foundation for a close friendship between the two and inspired those around them to develop a similar passion for learning.
“By being as they were with one another, they embodied valuable lessons on the pursuit of knowledge, exploration of the unknown, and bonds of familial friendship.
“Family values are a guiding beacon for the Dawood family and Shahzada always strived to emulate these, teaching his children to do the same.
“He was passionate about philanthropy and giving back because above all, he cared deeply about people and human development.
“He was an avid gardener and photographer, always on the lookout for technology and tools that would help him improve; these hobbies were an extension of his passion to better himself.
“On this count, Shahzada was consistent – he encouraged everyone around him to elevate their capabilities by learning and trying new things to become better versions of themselves.
“He was constantly excited to learn more about the world around him and was an ardent animal lover – he had two pets, a dog named Stig and a cat named Proteus, who would sometimes make their presence felt in videoconference meetings that Shahzada was part of.
“Shahzada was focused on extending the entrepreneurial legacy of the family with the setup of businesses in renewable energy and technology domains, with an ardent belief that these would engender prosperity for thousands of Pakistani families.
“As the Vice Chairman of the Board of Engro Corporation, and one of its longest-standing directors, he was instrumental in directing the organisation to solve meaningful problems for Pakistan; his legacy will be felt on by the number of public services Engro will continue to provide in the future.
“Suleman, much like his father, was also deeply committed to serve.”
“His excitement to join Engro after he graduated could not be contained, culminating in an internship in the summer of 2022 to learn more about the organisation that his family was such a passionate believer in; Suleman is remembered fondly by Engro colleagues as a tall young man walking around with his beloved Rubik’s cube and a smile on his face.
“He loved science fiction literature and volleyball but his greatest quality was the humility he espoused which was a true reflection of his parents’ upbringing.
“He was keenly aware of the past efforts of his family that enabled him to have the experiences he did, and he never took them for granted; he remained grounded and humble and emotionally wise beyond his years.
“A sociable companion, Suleman was admired by his friends at university and loved dearly by his sister and young cousins, who often looked up to ‘Suleman bhai’ for friendship, advice, and laughter.
“Shahzada and Suleman were loved by all members of the wider family but they were especially cherished by Christine (wife and mother) and Alina (daughter and sister).
“Shahzada and Alina shared a true father-daughter relationship; they were affectionate with each other, would often cook together, and had very philosophical conversations about life.
“At the centre of this family was Christine, who held them all together like glue, having fully devoted herself to these wonderful individuals whom she fiercely loved and protected.
“Shahzada’s and Suleman’s absence will be felt deeply by all those who had the privilege of knowing this pair.
“It is difficult to articulate the grief of the immediate Dawood family, including not only Christine and Alina, but also parents, Hussain and Kulsum Dawood, and Shahzada’s siblings and their spouses.
“During this tragic time, we ask everyone to respect the sentiments and privacy of the bereaved family as they come to terms with the loss of two of their dearest members.”