Political ties open path to Pakistan aid -Kerry donor got assist with hospital project
- The Boston Globe
By Farah Stockman
Globe Staff / June 20, 2010
WASHINGTON — It started off as a real estate deal: A gated community
outside Pakistan’s capital, luxury homes sold to well-off Pakistani-Americans,
and a high-end medical center nearby.
Then housing prices plummeted. So organizers, including Shahid Ahmed Khan, a
Framingham businessman who is a long-time fund-raiser for Senator John F. Kerry,
developed another idea: get US foreign aid to help build a $500 million,
world-class medical institute, using expertise from a subsidiary of Partners
HealthCare, the company that runs Boston’s elite teaching hospitals.
At Khan’s request, a staffer for Kerry, who heads the Senate committee that
oversees a new $7.5 billion aid package for Pakistan, helped set up a meeting
with the US Agency for International Development. Now the project’s organizers
say they believe they will receive $17 million for the first phase — a nursing
school that is slated to accept students later this year.
Khan makes no secret of using political connections to seek USAID funds.
“Getting a call from a senator’s office gives some credibility,’’ he said.
Kerry’s spokesman, Frederick Jones, said Kerry had no knowledge that a staffer
in his office sent an e-mail on behalf of a major campaign contributor. Jones
said the staffer, whom he declined to identify, helped Khan as she would any
other constituent. Furthermore, he said it is Kerry’s policy not to favor any
USAID application over others.
But Khan’s apparently successful advocacy illustrates how useful political
connections can be, at a time when so many organizations are jockeying for a
slice of the new Pakistan funding. The attempt to build a state-of-the-art
medical facility in one of the world’s most turbulent nations has also sparked a
debate over what projects will offer the most benefit to ordinary Pakistanis.
“Are we building a Mayo clinic for the political elite?’’ asked Patrick Cronin,
a former official for USAID who is now a senior adviser at the Center for New
American Security. “Who is benefiting from it?’’
The project’s organizers counter that the patch of arid land outside Islamabad
could some day be home to a medical flagship that will improve lives and reduce
anti-Americanism in a crucial region.
“Health care and education, you cannot go wrong with it,’’ said Khan. “People
can forget if you build a road, but people will never forget if you build an
institution in their country.’’
A persuasive partner
The idea began in 2005, when the Defense Housing Authority in Islamabad — a
nonprofit arm of the Pakistani military that builds and sells housing for
retired army officers — sought to create a new community to lure Pakistani
doctors living abroad back to the country.
Billed as “the ultimate in living,’’ early advertisements boasted of excellent
schools and gardens in a new subdivision called the “Overseas
Profits from home sales would finance a hospital for that community, according
to Dr. Mian Amer Masud (is Shahid Ahmed Khan's brother-in-law), a Pakistani doctor who helped conceive of the idea and
whose company, Overseas Management Group, manages the project. Demand for an
advanced medical center seemed clear: Pakistan currently has only one hospital
that meets the highest international standards, and it is more than 700 miles
from Islamabad.[Shahid Ahmed Khan, his Brother-in-law Dr. Masud, and Islamabad's Defence Housing Chief, a Militaery Official concocted a scandal to MILK the US-AID COW to build this special Hospital with Gated Colony for Rich Pakistan Doctors through connections with Senator Joghn Kerry's Office. This must be investigated and propagated to stop more corrupt schemes which will only help the RICH but will not do anything for an avergae or poor person in Pakistan]
Masud said he badly wanted expertise from a Harvard-affiliated hospital, but
wasn’t sure how to get it. Then, in 2006, a friend introduced him to Khan, a
Pakistani-American with a thick Rolodex and a reputation for deal-making.
“He is the kind of guy you just can’t say no to,’’ said Bryan Irwin, design
principal at Sasaki, a architecture firm from Watertown hired to design the
Khan, 53, had been in Massachusetts since the 1990s, working as a sales
representative, and then a manager for pharmaceutical companies before starting
his own consulting business. Over the years, he built an empire of friendships,
connecting American politicians to Pakistani doctors who had never been involved
in US politics before.
Jonathan Patsavos, Kerry’s New England finance director, says Khan raised more
than $200,000 in New England for Kerry’s presidential bid, and threw additional
fund-raisers in New York and California.
Khan said he met Kerry about 14 years ago, when he was impressed by a speech the
senator gave to a local Islamic society.
Since then, the two kept in touch. Khan sends Kerry memos about his views of
Pakistan’s problems. Recently, Kerry invited Khan to a gathering at his home
with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Khan also raised money for Hillary Rodham Clinton and the late Senator Edward M.
After Masud asked for his help, Khan called Kennedy’s office and asked staffers
to help him set up a meeting with Partners Harvard Medical International, a
nonprofit consulting subsidiary of Partners HealthCare that has helped build
hospitals and medical schools in Dubai, China, India, and elsewhere.
“Kennedy was a big health care guy,’’ Khan said. “I thought at that time, if
Kennedy’s office called, it would be helpful.’’
Partners eventually signed a 10-year contract to develop a 400-bed teaching
hospital. Partners also convinced the project’s organizers to expand their plans
to include a medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, and a school of
allied health sciences.
But most of all, Partners pushed for a nursing program that will eventually
graduate up to 100 nurses a year. There are only 4 nurses per 10,000 people in
Pakistan, compared with 94 nurses per 10,000 in the United States.
“When we did the needs assessment, it was quite clear that maternal-child health
is crucial,’’ said Dr. H. Thomas Aretz, Partners vice president of global
Partners pushed for the project to be a nonprofit venture; Khan is now president
of a foundation that he helped set up to run the hospital and medical school.
“With the not-for-profit, we felt more comfortable,’’ said Aretz. “The whole
idea behind the not-for-profit is that anybody will be able to walk in and get
The project has been a boon for many in Boston. Sasaki, the architecture firm,
was paid roughly $1 million for two years of work, Irwin said. Partners will not
discuss its fees.
Khan also declined to say how much he receives from the Overseas Management
Group, which he says covers his expenses. But he says he will not receive
compensation once the foundation takes over the project.
“You see my role as a citizen of the world,’’ he said. “I just want to make this
thing happen, without any commercial interest.’’
A little help from friends
Initially, housing sales raised about $1 million for the new hospital, Masud
said. But after Taliban attacks and the global economic crisis slashed real
estate prices, project organizers began seeking USAID funding. Last year, Khan
brought Aretz, the lead Partners official, to Capitol Hill.
Around that time, a staff member who works for Kerry’s Foreign Relations
Committee, sent an e-mail to Robert Wilson, the mission director of USAID in
Pakistan. Jones declined to release the content of the e-mail, but issued a
statement: “Senator Kerry and [his] staff have absolutely no input or role in
the awarding of USAID contracts and have never once advocated to USAID on behalf
of a specific project.’’
Wilson said in a statement that projects are funded on their merits, and that
any tie to Kerry would have no impact.
“USAID adheres to standard procedures in how it selects and awards its contracts
and grants,’’ he said, adding that applications are evaluated by technical
But Cronin, who served as the third-ranking official at USAID in 2001, said an
e-mail introduction from Kerry’s staffer would be seen as a “tacit
recommendation’’ from Kerry, whose 2009 bill tripled USAID funding for Pakistan.
Cronin said it wouldn’t be wrong for Kerry’s office to help a worthy project get
its foot in the door. He said USAID officials are more likely to fund a good
project they believe has political backing.
“Is that unfair influence? It might be,’’ he said. “If it is good politics and
good development, it is a win-win situation.’’
It is relatively rare for unsolicited proposals to USAID to be considered for
funding, because they usually don’t line up with USAID’s priorities. But USAID
officials, who are scrambling to find credible Pakistani-led health projects to
fund, expressed interest in three of eight proposals related to the project
USAID says no final decisions about funding have been made. But [Brigadier Javed
Iqbal, chief executive officer of the Defense Housing Authority, said that USAID
has “principally approved’’ about $17 million for the project.]
“The whole team is working with us,’’ he said of USAID staff in a telephone
interview. He said other donors are also interested, and that the project will
eventually be able to sustain itself through tuition.
Dr. Sania Nishtar, a health care expert who founded the Pakistan-based health
care think tank, Heartfile, said Pakistan’s medical community is still debating
the merits of the plan. Training nurses and midwives is crucial, she said, but
much will depend on how much access the public will have to the hospital and
whether graduates of the schools remain in the country.
Farah Stockman can be reached at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.
Please delete my press release issued earlier today.
Anyone who want to publish news is requested to delete my name.
PS. The news is pasted below for reference purpose only.
Lt. Col. M Tariq Kamal. Former Director Engineering DHA Islamabad, Cell: 0300-8542971. Res: 051-5152157.
Address: 10-C, Tariq Lane, Tulsa Raod, Lalazar, Rawalpindi.
Malik Riaz tempted Gen Imtiaz into plunder
Rawalpindi: June 08
Owner of the Bahria Town Mr. Malik Riaz lured Lt. Gen (retired) Imtiaz Hussain into plunder that resulted in one of the biggest scam in the history of Pakistan in which hundreds of thousands of civilians and army men lost their lifetime savings, a former military officer said Friday.
Gen. Imtiaz who died recently in mysterious circumstances was the first to facilitate Malik Riaz to play with the DHAI.
Imtiaz also gave Malik Riaz benefits of billions of rupees while serving as chairman of Army Welfare Trust, said Colonel (retired) M. Tariq kamal in a statement issued here today.
He said that Malik Riaz soon emerged as one of the most influential businessperson whom consent was considered final for any transfer or posting in DHAI.
Resultantly, DHAI officials would dance on the tunes of the former property dealer turned tycoon who is known for getting things done swiftly.
Col. Tariq further said that Lt. Gen (retired) Imtiaz Hussain was under pressure for his past deeds that brought a bad name to an institution. However, his successors proved more loyal to Malik Riaz by breaking all the past records of corruption.
The corruption in DHAI is matchless and all the corruption cases of the democratic setup are a fraction of what has happened in DHAI and AWT, said Tariq.
Those DHAI officials who are responsible for controversial agreements with Bahria Town and staining reputation of army should also be probed and brought to book.
They include Brig. Jawed Iqbal, Brig Jaweed Ashraf Bajwa, Brig. Mukhtar Ahmed Tariq, Col. Muhammad Farooq Pervez and civilian employee of DHA Kashif Sharif.
Colonel (Retd) M Tariq Kamal, former Director Engineering DHAI also alleged that Ahmed Ali Riaz Malik, Zahid Rafiq, owner of Habib Rafiq Limited are also among the plunderers.
He said that reasons for the unusual and continued favours are still not known but it merits an investigation to ascertain as to why DHAI bosses compromised its reputation to benefit a property tycoon widely known for land grabbing.
He said that Mr Riaz is not honouring agreements but DHAI would continue to silently enter in deals with him without the approval of competent authorities.
Col. Tariq who is a member of DHAI as well as an effectee said that according to Clause 23 of Gazette Notification Ordinance No LIII, 2009, all the serving or retired army officers serving in DHA would be considered public servants (civilians). However, the central and provincial governments, FIA and police etc. would not take any concrete action against all those who violated all laws for personal welfare.He said that national Accountability Bureau is hand in glove with all the white-collar criminals.
0300-9599007 and 0333-9599007