Pakistani-American tycoon Tanweer Ahmed has donated $9 million to Islamabad’s National University of Science and Technology (NUST) to help underprivileged students gain a quality education through scholarships.
NUST has confirmed that Tanweer Ahmed has entered into a partnership with the university by setting up an endowment fund for unprivileged students. The fund will benefit nearly 200 students who can get scholarships every year.
Ahmed's $9 million donation is one of the single-largest donations by any overseas Pakistani to any Pakistani university.
In an interview, Ahmed said he plans to expand the scheme to other universities. However, the endowment fund at NUST will enable the scheme to run permanently. A ceremony to formally launch the endowment fund is expected to take place at the NUST Islamabad next month and will likely be attended by Pakistan’s top leadership.
The Houston-based businessman added: “Deserving students would get scholarships annually through the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The system to obtain scholarships will be purely on merit and aimed strictly for those students who are unable to afford quality and expensive education."
Explaining why he decided to set up the endowment fund, Ahmed said he wanted to assist talented and deserving Pakistani students in making their mark in various advanced sectors such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Information Technology (IT) and latest technologies.
"The future belongs to these sectors, and Pakistan will benefit hugely from its youth."
Ahmed is an American-Pakistani businessman, investor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who works with major companies, not-for-profit organizations, and hospitals. He owns Houston's largest cricket complex, the Prairie View Cricket Complex, and the Houston Hurricanes cricket franchise.
The multi-millionaire businessman is the founder of a food chain brand and owns franchises of several popular food chains such as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC.
He owns California’s largest transport company and has business interests in the energy sector and medicine industry.
Ahmed is credited for providing over $50 million in aid to Pakistan during the devastating floods of 2022 in Pakistan.
Originally from Sialkot, he started humbly in the US when he migrated as a student and worked in a restaurant. He was then promoted as a manager at the same restaurant. He then started his own restaurant business and has now set up multiple businesses and successful companies.
It’s his humble background and practical knowledge of the realities in Pakistan that, he says, inspired him to work for the Pakistani youth to empower them.
“We didn’t have the opportunities 30 years ago that the students can have today. I don’t think there were many successful Pakistanis in the 90s in the US or Europe. Today, there are thousands who have done well in life. I am just one of them. Many are helping Pakistan today with everything they can. More Pakistanis need to come out with their philanthropic efforts than ever before.”
Ahmed said that overseas Pakistanis owe it to Pakistan to serve the country of their origin and identity.
“We owe to our motherland because we are where we are because of Pakistan. Our best contribution can be made through empowering our youth with modern education and knowledge. I am happy to play my part in helping Pakistani youth in achieving their goals in life.”
This is not the first time Ahmed has given money to Pakistan. He has previously helped set up a hospital in Sialkot.
NUST Rector Engineer Javed Mahmood Bukhari, in a statement, said that the fund is going to perpetually benefit thousands of brilliant Pakistani boys and girls who are seeking world-class university education in the coming years.
“Ahmed, a well-known Pakistani American philanthropist and businessman from Houston, USA, has partnered with NUST to support the financially challenged students. This is a unique initiative, being the first of its kind, in any public sector university of Pakistan," the NUST rector said, adding, "Ahmed is making approximately nine million dollars’ worth of investment in the university’s science and technology park, such that 50% income of the project will go into a specially formed endowment for the students with humble financial background."
The initiative has the potential of remarkable societal impact in terms of altering the lives of thousands of Pakistani families.”
Engineer Javed Mahmood Bukhari added: “NUST takes pride in this transformational partnership with Tanweer Ahmed, which reflects on a shared commitment to advancing educational equity while creating a positive economic impact."
He added that with an approximate student population of 20,000, NUST Islamabad is one of the most sought-after universities in Pakistan.