PESHAWAR: The family and friends have continued to mourn the death of prominent citizen and leading local businessman, Masood Ahmad Khan, who passed away recently at the age of 80.
He was the son-in-law of Baba-e-Peshawar, Chacha Younas and son of prominent business tycoon Sardar Gul Khan.
He passed away on April 4. He is survived by his two sons Shahid Yusaf, a chartered accountant and known philanthropist and Salman Masood, a senior federal government official, and daughter Salma Khan, a United States-based lawyer.
Those who have known the family believe his death was not just the departure of a towering personality of the city but the closing of a chapter of the rich Peshawar history which revolved around the Kakayzai family of Peshawar known for contributions to Peshawar and Pakistan.
His funeral was held at Dilkusha, his historic house in Peshawar Cantonment. Its foundation was laid over 100 years ago by a leading businessman, Rai Bahadur Karam Chand Khanna.
Personalities like Jawahar Lal Nehru and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had stayed in this house before the partition of the subcontinent. Sardar Gul Khan had bought this mansion in 1963.
Masood Ahmad, fondly called Soodi by his friends, was a versatile man. He led a simple life. He was captain of the prestigious Edwardes College cricket team, a businessman and a devout Muslim.
He was the nephew and son-in-law of Chacha Younas. The legendary Khan Sahib Muhammed Younas Khan was affectionately called Baba-e-Peshawar for carrying out tremendous development work in Peshawar city. He was the first Muslim secretary of Municipal Committee Peshawar.
A foremost businessman of Peshawar, Munir Ahmad, now in his early 80s, recalled that Chacha Younas developed the Zaryab and Gulbahar colonies that were well-planned and at the time became the first choice for the citizens of Peshawar.
Munir Ahmad, who is the son of Pakistan Movement worker, late Haji Abdul Aziz, said Muhammed Younas Khan was the Chacha (uncle) of the entire city as he had contributed to the development of Peshawar.
Khwaja Yawer Naseer, Pakistan People’s Party Cultural Secretary for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and grandson of the freedom movement leader Hakeem Abdul Jalil Nadvi, said Masood Ahmad and male and female members of his family were known for their philanthropy and humility.
Sardar Gul Khan was a successful businessman and dedicated worker of Pakistan Movement. He supported the freedom struggle for Pakistan by hosting the first secret radio station for the Muslim League in Peshawar.
The family’s hujra (male guesthouse) was called Yusaf Manzil and was the hub of Muslim League activities. The leaders of the Pakistan Movement used to stay there during visits to Peshawar.
Sardar Gul Khan, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar and Chacha Younas were close friends. The bond continued until their deaths and their children, too, have remained friends.
Khan Quli Khan was also a regular visitor. Aslam Khattak was a close friend of Sardar Gul Khan. He used to hold an annual Sardar Gul Khan Tennis Tournament in the Peshawar Gymkhana in the memory of his good friend, who too was a good tennis and cricket player.
Dr Salahuddin, a writer, said many Peshawar cricketers and tennis players were groomed with the support of the Masood Ahmad Khan’s family at the Peshawar Gymkhana.
Quoting some members of the family, he said the Gymkhana used to be a stop on the list of any visiting team or dignitary, Sikandar Mirza also visited Sardar Gul Khan at the Gymkhana whenever he came to Peshawar as the president of Pakistan.
Dr Salahuddin said the former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Dr Nasim Ashraf, is a nephew of Masood Ahmad Khan. He is the founding chairman of The Pakistan Political Action Committee, Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA), APPNA Sehat and Human Development Foundation.
Dr Omar Taimur Atiq is another nephew of Masood Ahmad Khan, who has been the APPNA president and is the first Muslim in the US to become the chairman of Board of Governors of the American College of Physicians. He is the past president and chairman of the board of Arkansas Medical Society.
In the memory of his mother, Masood Ahmad Khan’s son Shahid Yusaf launched the Poverty Eradication Initiative (PEI) and has quietly served the downtrodden.
In the last seven years, he raised US$ 150 million worth of resources. He established over 50 counters at various big government hospitals of Sindh to provide free of cost medical supplies to the poor. He wanted to do this in his native Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well but the bureaucratic red tape made it impossible.
The PEI also took over a 50-bed children hospital in Karachi and turned it into 220-bed hospital providing free of cost quality services to the poor.